I am not good enough. I am not intelligent enough, I am not capable enough.
I am not knowledgeable enough. I am not experienced enough, I am just not good enough.
Whatever it is you frequently tell yourself, know that you are not alone in this. This is the most common limiting, self-punishing belief clients present to me on a daily basis, and no coincidence, it has been the biggest one for me too, the one that has previously held me back in life – from all sorts of opportunities.
Sometimes we all are really horrible to ourselves and relentlessly compare ourselves to other people, no matter how many times we may hear about how good enough or lovable we are. There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture.
We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of income, don’t have a large social circle, or don’t look and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever. So what can you do about this? There may be some specific work for you to do on this, but for starters here are three actionable tips to get you started…
Tip 1 – Stop comparing yourself
Now because of Social Media, this is becoming an increasingly important one to get a handle on. When you compare yourself with someone who you see as being better than you (well, the glossy social image that is) – you are instantly, as well as on a long term basis, going to feel bad about yourself. Because compared to them and their perceived life, you know the warts-and-all truth of your own.
This is why so many people have campaigned against the use off stick-thin models in magazines – it is officially bad for your health to look at those women – A report by the British Medical Association claimed that the promotion of such models was creating a distorted body image which young women tried to imitate. It suggested that the media can trigger and perpetuate the disease.
I know I consciously made a decision years ago to stop buying the high-end fashion magazines because of this. And this definitely relates to all aspects of life – not just body image. But know that those people who you hold up as having the perfect family, relationship, body, home, business, life! , know that they are also doing the same – and however much they seem to have it all handled, and have it all – they do not – they are just human like you.
So try dialling down the judgement and dialling up the compassion and understanding – as I can absolutely assure you that they are dealing with their own fears doubts and insecurities – just like you (even though their’s may be of a different kind).
Tip 2 – Focus on progress v perfection
One of the other biggest causes of self-loathing is the need to do everything perfectly or 100% right. When we fall short of this 100%, 10/10 version, which we inevitably will, we obviously feel pretty worthless. Also, add in the amount of extra stress, anxiety and workload this can create in your life – and the cost of that.
The irony is that this need for ‘perfection’ comes from an inherent feeling of not being good enough, but rather than making you feel better, will actually make you feel worse about yourself, and so round and round you go, trying fruitlessly to prove something – that is not provable.
So instead of beating yourself up for not getting to that high bar, every single day, maybe dial down to an 8/10 and see how that is, or if you’re feeling really brave try a 6/10 version. And radically, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, for making progress and coming as far as you actually have.
And notice… what actually happened when you went for the lower score? What was the consequence?
Tip 3 – Be kind to yourself
Now, this is the one that will change everything. Self Compassion is said to be the key to true happiness and peace. Because, surprise surprise, telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful.
Telling yourself how worthless you are will not help you feel any more worthy. Again, as a self-confessed harshest-judge-on-myself, I know from long bitter experience that this takes time and patience – and you can absolutely create a new way of thinking – by repeatedly telling yourself “ I am doing well” “ I am doing my best” “I am good enough”.
And as with any new habit, it will feel weird at first, but the more you do it the easier it becomes – and you will start actually feeling “good enough”. Because you are. We all are.
So pick just one of these tips to start with, the key being to have a reminder of doing this (a quote on your phone or a set daily reminder/alert are all great), and doing it consistently.
If you have found this useful please do share with others. Thanks.
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