Has it been one of those days?
Maybe your hair is not done. You haven’t had a chance to shower. You’re exhausted. The bills are piling up and you just feel like you can’t get ahead.
You are trying to build a business or just finish projects around the house and there are just not enough hours in the day.
Maybe you feel guilty because someone just yelled “Mom” for the fifteenth time today, and you snapped back because you just want a moment of silence.
Or maybe you went to your really successful corporate job and put in weeks of amazing work for zero appreciation…but today, you made one little mistake today and got completely chewed out by your boss.
Basically, it’s been a sucky day and now you just have that nagging feeling of “I’m not good enough.” You feel like nothing is right and the thought of having to do it all again tomorrow is overwhelming.
I’d like to challenge you. Let’s try this together.
Instead of sitting here and saying that you’re not good enough, I’d encourage you to sit with me a minute and let’s determine what “enough” is.
Would you be good enough if you were the CEO?
Would you be enough if you were 10 pounds lighter and work out for 2 hours a day?
Would you be enough if you never resorted to putting your children behind an electronic device for peace and quiet and instead did all of those cutesy Pinterest crafts that you have had saved for two years?
I hate to break it to you but even if you were those things you would still have these days where you just don’t feel like you are “enough.”
Sorry to be a Debbie downer, but comparison truly is the thief of joy and if we continually lament our shortcomings, we will never be able to experience fulfillment, contentment, and gratitude in our current lives, experiences, and surroundings.Comparison truly is the thief of joy and if we continually lament our shortcomings, we will never be able to experience fulfillment, contentment, and gratitude in our current lives, experiences and surroundings. Click To Tweet
Where does this negative self-talk of not being enough come from?
Why do we struggle so hard to give ourselves any kind of credit when we do something well, but we have no problem in beating ourselves to a pulp when we have bad day… or maybe a string of days?
In some cases, this quickness to self-loathing can stem from experiences.
As a child, you are young, impressionable and your worldview is composed of the experiences around you. These experiences are orchestrated by your mom, dad, teachers and the adults that you have in your life on a consistent basis during your upbringing.
Listen— I am not blaming your crushed psyche on your parents, your sweet grandma and your first-grade teacher.
Not completely. Just stay with me.
As I work with students on a daily basis, oftentimes their anxiety is just stemming from the fact that they are carrying baggage given to them by their parents. Most of the time, the parent is completely unaware that they are causing this soul-crushing sense of ” I am not good enough.”
When we tell our children that anything less than an A is unacceptable… or that they have to apply to Princeton, Yale, and Harvard, because a State school (or, heaven forbid, a trade school – gasp) is out of the question…or that it is not okay to cheer from the Bench, because you have to be star pitcher on the mound— we are causing these feelings of stress and anxiety of not being “enough” when that child falls short.
These well-meaning intentions are often uttered in an effort to push children and students to reach their potential. We may even think we are being encouraging. At the end of the day, though, it is often our own pride that leads us to want to live vicariously through their victories…yet, many times, they have a different set of goals and passions that they fear sharing because their narrative has already been written…and it better be a bestseller.
Other children have far more traumatic experiences with abusive parents or alcoholic parents and that baggage a feeling unloved and unworthy leads into adulthood.
Now I’m not saying that if you just had a bad day today and her feelings during out and not enough of that there is some deep childhood trauma that you need to address, but it is worth some reflection on whether or not you are carrying in the baggage of other people to your own self talk … And if so, how long have you been listening to those voices instead of your own.
Maybe you had a fantastic childhood with the most supportive people around you. That’s awesome. But you’re still struggling with his feelings of inferiority. Without getting to psychologically deep, I would hypothesize that it still stems from experiences… It’s just that these ones are deeply embedded into your subconscious and you don’t even realize it.
Maybe it was a group of snarky “mean girls” who constantly told you that your non-name brand clothes were not good enough.
Or maybe just years of viewing Instagram images, billboards and magazine photos of stick-thin supermodels gallivanting around has taken a toll on your sense of self-worth.
Either way, somewhere along the line, you have trained your brain to believe that it’s not good enough. And until you’re able to change your own beliefs about yourself, that inner-dialogue will continue a full loop through your brain. Even if you can keep it on mute some of the time…on days like today, it’s blasting at full volume.
So, in these moments when you feel lower than low…what truths should you be reaffirming to yourself to understand that you are enough?
Remind Yourself that Your Mind Is A Master Manipulator
The cerebrum is the main circuit breaker in our brain for all of our thoughts and emotions decision making, including those pesky inner thoughts that no one else hears. Unfortunately, it sometimes struggles with decoding fact from fiction.
During our waking hours, this area of our brain is continually feeding us conscious thought but it also combines those thoughts with our subconscious beliefs and ideas with which we have framed our worldview over the course of many years.
If you are continually repeating to yourself that “I am not good enough.” Your brain will accept it as fact, even though it’s not true. So, make sure you speak truth to yourself….even if it takes you a while to fully believe it.
Positive self-talk will keep your con-artist brain in check, whereas negative self-talk will continue to affect how you view yourself.
You Need (And Deserve Love) Even When You Feel You Don’t
I once worked with a student who would purposely sit alone at lunch. When I met with this student, I asked “why?” I thought that perhaps bullying was involved, but that turned out to not be the issue. She simply stated that she felt as though she was annoying and interrupting the other conversations. She didn’t feel like she had anything to contribute or offer, so she avoided the situation completely as a method of mental self-defense.
Her negative self-talk was causing her to forfeit the opportunity to potentially develop new friendships or find new opportunities.
Sadly, I know that many of us experience this in our lives.
If you are sharing a similar feeling as a student, I want you to use an ‘I am statement’:
“I am deserving of love.”
You deserve to have fulfilling relationships. Your feelings and emotions are valid and important. And you have a unique skill set that you bring to the world that nobody else has.
No matter what your journey has been, what mistakes you’ve made or what negative personality traits you struggle with…you still have value. It’s time to forgive yourself and quell the overly critical voices telling you that you don’t.
The People You Are Comparing Yourself To… Don’t Feel Like They Are “Enough” Either.
Theodore Roosevelt once said “Comparison is the thief of joy. ” I like the quote and it does have a ring of truth. However, it does try to wrap this concept up in a tidy little package when, in reality… it’s just not that simple.
Often times when we want to feel better about ourselves, we compare ourselves to others who we perceive as not being as successful or far along in the pursuit of their goals.
On the flip side, when seeking to improve ourselves, we tend to compare ourselves to others that we perceive as being more successful. The problem is that these are usually people that are way further ahead of us. They are famous, rich and have accomplished achievements that seem so unattainable to us we become overwhelmed and depressed.
And everyone does this. So, the person that you are comparing yourself to is comparing themselves to somebody else and collectively we tend to feel like we need to have these crazy-high standards that we can’t meet.
But at its core, a comparison is not completely a bad thing. Just make sure that if you are using someone as a role model, that you have realistic expectations regarding their success measured against your hopeful success.
Protect yourself by modeling their methods without trying to be exactly who they are… because they’re not you and you’re not them. Find out what books they read, what classes they’ve taken and who they look up to as a guide… but leave it at that.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
Can I get an “Amen?”
There is definitely power in numbers sometimes and when you realize that we all have had days where we fall short, it certainly helps give us hope that we can also move on.
Plus, learning from our mistakes (and how to not repeat them) offers us valuable wisdom as we move further through our lives. Physiologically, mistakes actually can help your brain grow as it processes what went wrong and how you need to correct it.
Evaluate what went wrong leading to the mistake and try to determine if there is anything you can do to prevent it in the future. Then, move on…