Growing up, I never was the confident type of person. In fact, it was quite the opposite: I felt like I would never amount to anything, although my environment was supportive.
Part of the reason was due to how I spent my youth. It could be summarised by me cutting class and playing video games all day. While everybody else was working toward a purpose, I was purposeless. If I had a goal, that would probably have been to level up my knight or sorcerer and become stronger.
As you can imagine, living this way wasn’t without consequences. My lifestyle gradually affected me and the way other people looked at me. As time went by, it grew into a feeling of not being good enough, of unworthiness, as I could see that most people around me were better than me in everything.
Even after quitting this addicting and sometimes destructive world of video games, I tried many many things before finding things I was good at. And although I firmly believe there is always some value in failing, I didn’t see it that way back then. It felt more like a waste of time, quickly killing all my self-esteem. Long story short, this led me down the path of jealousy, frustration and depression.
The fact that you are reading this article probably means that you are going through a similar challenge, and I’m here to support you. In this article, I’ll give you some tips that have helped me dealing with this issue.
WHY DO WE THINK WE’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH?
I believe that there are two parts to the answer. First, having a feeling of not being good enough is an indicator of low self-esteem. If you actually believed in yourself and in your worth, you wouldn’t feel this way. And the reason why you don’t believe in yourself may lie in how you’ve been negatively conditioned in your life, either by yourself and your negative self-talk or by your peers. Someone – even yourself – repeatedly telling you that you have no ability whatsoever can very well cause this.
In his book, “What To Say When You Talk To Yourself”, author Shad Helmstetter says that, “We also have learned that the subconscious mind is a sponge – it will believe anything you tell it – it will even believe a lie – if you tell it often enough and strongly enough.” Knowing this, it’s no wonder that the wrong kind of environment or self-talk can quickly turn into a disaster. Can you imagine how easily we can be influenced?
The second part of the answer is that it tends to appear when we compare ourselves with other people. “Why would I bother do this if this person has done it better than I could ever do?”. Or, “This person is a lot more good-looking than me.” For some reason, we always seem to want to compare ourselves with other people although there is no reason to do so.
YOUR MIND IS YOUR ENEMY
While all of these things may sound true to you in your mind, it’s nothing but gibberish. Your brain is designed to keep you safe and alive and so will always find reasons to fulfill that purpose – even if it has to make up stuff. Its job isn’t to make you happy, and that’s the real problem you need to be careful of.
We often give way more credit to our thoughts than we should. Don’t pay attention to those thoughts, because they will ruin your life. You are not your thoughts, they’re separate entities. Making that distinction is critical.
HOW I OVERCAME THE FEELING OF NOT BEING GOOD ENOUGH
In this section, I’ll address ways I have personally used to overcome this feeling of not being enough. Implement the ideas that appeal to you to get the most out of this article.
1 – STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OHERS
I have found that comparing themselves with other people is by far the most common issue human beings have. But this makes no sense: what good does it do to compare yourself with somebody who’s further ahead on their journey than you? Comparing your chapter one with somebody else’s chapter ten makes no sense, because they’ve been longer at it.
As soon as I stopped looking around me but within me, I felt relieved of a big weight. Here’s the thing: the only person you’re in a competition with is yourself.
2 – GET REALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING
Feeling not good enough is intrinsically linked to not having any particular skillset that you’re proud of. It’s time to change that. Find an area you’re interested in and dive deep into it.
3 – DON’T TUNE IN TO NEGATIVITY
Being aware of your environment is critical, because it gives you the ability to change it. For people being in negative and toxic environments, this is essential. Make it a priority to let your mind away from all sorts of negative stuff.
Whether you know it or not, your subconscious actually registers every input coming from the outside world. The more negativity you encounter, and the more your brain will be influenced by it. Fortunately, it works both ways: positivity equally affects it.
4 – USE THE RIGHT KIND OF SELF-TALK
According to Dr. Shad Helmstetter, there are 5 levels of self-talk. The first level is called “negative acceptance”, which describes disempowering words that express inability, such as “I can’t”. The second level is all about “recognition and need to change”, which refers to words like, “I need to” or “I should”. Both these levels are considered to be negative self-talk.
The 3 others levels are viewed positive. Level 3 is characterised by a “decision to change”: “I will never” or “I no longer..”. Level 4 is a “better you”, “I am”. Finally, level 5 is universal affirmation, “It is”.
Getting rid of the first two levels, and implementing more of the three others is essential.
5 – LOOK BACK ON YOUR PAST SUCCESSES
Being met with failure again and again can easily demoralize us, which is why it’s important to look back on your successes as well once in a while. Although remembering our past failures is such an easy thing to do, we often forget about what we did get right.
Unfortunately, setting those successes aside only contributes in worsening your feeling about not being enough.
6 – CHANGE YOUR HABITS
Don’t be surprised for feeling this way if you catch yourself procrastinating too much, or at least not doing things that will truly move the needle in your life. Having better quality habits will sure help.
What I refer to quality habits are healthy, sustainable habits that will improve your life, such as working out or learning a new skill.
7 – DON’T THINK ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL UNWORTHY
Human beings often obsess over negative things, but keeping thinking about those things will only make you feel worse. Don’t give too much attention to those negative thoughts, because your attention is what feeds them. And the more you feed them, the more they’ll grow and multiply.
8 – REWARD YOURSELF FOR SMALL ACHIEVEMENTS
Here’s the thing, you don’t need to achieve anything big to feel worthy. You can enjoy the process and all the small steps that come along the way. I’ve found that rewarding yourself for even small victories is key in building high self-esteem.
9 – STOP FOCUSING ON YOURSELF AND SERVE OTHERS
The Dalai Lama once said that one of the causes of suffering has to do with self-centerdness. All those internal struggles are the reflection of one problem: selfishness. If instead of focusing on yourself you directed your focus on serving others, you wouldn’t feel this way.
There’s no problem to start with if you don’t view it as a problem.
10 – ACCEPT YOUR SITUATION
Before the desire to change arise, accepting one’s situation is a critical step. It means acknowledging where we are without judgment. You may not be happy with your current body, or happiness, or job, or whatever, but accepting it instead of beating yourself up is the first key step.
11 – DON’T GO ON YOUR OWN
The ego inside all of us wants to do everything by itself, but it’s your worst enemy. If you’re struggling with self-esteem, then chances are that you’re not receiving much love and praises from the people around you. Talk to them, tell them your struggles and they’ll surely have just the right words to support and encourage you.
12 – HAVE A VISION TO MOVE TOWARDS
Everything starts with a vision, a dream. Instead of ruminating on your current situation, put all your energy towards a better future.
13 – CHANGE YOUR BELIEFS ABOUT WORTHINESS
Human beings have a funny tendency of judging a person’s worth by certain criteria. We all do it unconsciously to some extent, but this can be consciously removed.
For instance, most people associate skill, fame, looks or money with worthiness. But does it truly dictate someone’s value? Sure, it is true that a skilled person is more valuable in the marketplace than someone without skill, but it does not determine their value as a human being.
Changing this belief about worthiness is all it could take for you to feel like you’re good enough.
14 – LISTEN TO AFFIRMATIONS
Not just saying or writing, but plain listening to affirmations can prove to be a great way to reprogram your subsconcious mind. There is a ton of easily searchable videos on YouTube, or paid programs filled with affirmations.
15 – HAVE AN EMPOWERING MORNING RITUAL
Everybody has a morning ritual, but most people’s work against them. They hit the snooze button and wake up reacting to the demand of everybody else. Instead, an empowering morning ritual is designed to get you start the day in the best state possible. It’s time for you to take care of yourself – your body, your mind, your spirit.
DO YOU STILL THINK YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH?
This belief that you’re not good enough is just a lie that you’ve bought into. Use the different ways I’ve shared with you to reprogram yourself and change your life!