Feeling like you’re not “good enough”

Why do you feel like you’re “not good enough”?

Do you feel like you’re not good enough? Not smart enough, not fun enough, not cool enough… just not enough? Guess what: most people feel the same.

Chances are that your friend whom you think is super cool, super smart, super popular and super confident feels just the same: not good enough.

So why do we feel like this?

It may have started in childhood with a demanding parent, grandparent, teacher or other: “Look at how polite your friend Sam is, why can’t you be more like him?” “70% on your test? What did your classmates get?”

It then likely got exacerbated while growing up by the surrounding environment: social media constantly making us feel like everyone is leading better lives, the job market showing us time and time again that someone deserved our dream job more than we did….

The list goes on, but the point is that external triggers led us to believe that we are in fact “not good enough” and now that feeling is hard to shake.

What can you do about it?

Understanding why we feel like we’re not good enough is interesting, but it doesn’t always help to change our mindset. Instead, these exercises can really help to take a step back and feel better about yourself.

Understand how not feeling “good enough” works

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • The feeling of not being “good enough” is usually triggered by how we perceive external factors to reflect on us and fuelled by our internal dialogue.
  • Realising that this feeling is not a reality but instead is created by us really helps to take a step back and change our mindset.

Recognise your feelings

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • It sounds obvious, but it really helps to take a step back and recognise how you are feeling. At first, it may feel overwhelming or make us feel more insecure, but the key thing is to realise that this feeling will eventually go away.
  • Try to visualise the feeling: where is it in your body? what does it look like? how big is it? does it have a name?

Talk to a friend

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • Sharing your worries with someone who cares about you has been demonstrated to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Not only that, but you’d be surprised at how many people feel like they’re not “good enough”. By telling people how you feel, you might learn that others feel the same, which will demonstrate that it’s a feeling fuelled by you rather than a reality.

Fire up your imagination

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • Think of a time when you were “good enough” – i.e. you did something well
  • Make sure that you visualise the exact moment: what were the surroundings like? What made you feel good in that specific moment? How did you feel?
  • Think of a word to describe yourself in that moment (it can be anything: “I’m awesome”, “I rock”.. whatever!)
  • Remind yourself of that moment and repeat the words over to yourself a few times
  • Do this 5 times in a row a few times a day – it really helps to remind your mind and body of that feeling!

Ground yourself

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • Sit comfortably with your feet firmly planted on the floor
  • Push your feet against the floor as hard as possible and notice the physical feeling of this
  • Touch something – a pet, a set of keys, a phone, whatever! – and notice the feeling of the object against your fingertips
  • This really helps to distract you from your negative thoughts and focus on the present – try to do this as often as possible

Identify your triggers

Do this when you feel like you’re not “good enough”

  • When you feel like the feeling of not being “good enough” is coming over, take a step back and think about what triggered it.
  • Was it the picture of your school friend and their perfect summer body? Was it the LinkedIn notification of your university friend landing your dream job?
  • Whatever it is, be mindful of what triggered this feeling. This will make it more manageable and over time will stop you from falling down the spiral of negative thinking

Celebrate your wins

Always do this

  • It’s easy to put pressure on yourself to always perform better while ignoring what we do well (“Yeah, but that doesn’t count – it was easy”).
  • Try to be more mindful of your successes and take a moment to celebrate them. It can be anything: getting a promotion or some positive feedback, helping a friend feel better – whatever.
  • Celebrating small wins helps to realise that you have successes in your everyday life and trains you to be more mindful of them.

Limit social media use

Always do this

  • We always say this but it’s true: social media does you no favours in terms of self-esteem.
  • Constantly being exposed to other peoples’ (filtered) lives will not help your feelings of being good enough – your life looks amazing on social media too, doesn’t it!?
  • Try to limit checking social media to once or twice a day, and avoid reverting to it automatically every time you’re bored.

Speak to a therapist

Do this if you feel like you are having trouble with these feelings

  • If you are imagining lying on a couch while speaking to a silent bearded man who nods and says “hmm.. interesting”, think again!
  • Most professionals nowadays have a significantly more interactive approach to therapy (be it face-to-face or by skype). Therapy can really help to efficiently deal with feelings that are unpleasant and puts you in charge of your emotions so that you don’t surrender to them.
  • Watch this space to speak to great psychologists via Skype starting soon!

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