What To Do When You Have The Feeling of “Not Being Good Enough”
I believe that a lot of people can’t see the difference between “reality” and their perception of reality. The former is what we experience outside our thoughts and the latter is generated by thoughts. What we feel can distort greatly how we see our subjective reality.
I’ve felt “Not good enough” regularly. Nowadays I’m aware that my feelings are way too often just bullshit that has nothing to do with reality.
It’s the simple art of being self-aware – without it I’d have probably succumbed to the thought that I am just a piece of shit. It still feels the same, but there’s the underlying knowledge that makes me keep my act together.
When it comes to the feeling “not good enough”, the ultimate problem is that you over-estimate other peoples worth and undervalue your own in the process. This is obviously a bullshit way to see the world and here are 7 ways to deal with it:
1. Discover your true worth
Everyone in this world has an equal amount of worth. Don’t confuse this with “perceived worth”, which is dependant on how everyone sees everyone else.
People don’t hate or like you, but they hate/like their own image of you. It’s about them, not you (though the actions that you take are part of it)
The best thing would be to forget the whole concept of “worth”. The opinions of others shouldn’t be used as a mirror for your self-image, but for your actions. (courtesy of The 50th Law)
2. Create something that you can be proud of
Not because you want people to praise you for what you’ve made, but because it will enhance your own perception of yourself.
I’m not writing on this blog because I want others to make me feel better. I do this because it makes me proud to achieve something on a regular basis, I learn a lot when I research for my articles and if I’m lucky, I get to help someone.
In other words, it enhances my life, but not in the way that people imagine.
It’s not a coincidence that the feeling of not being good enough disappeared once I started to focus on things that I like to do for myself.
3. Change the perspective – ask the right questions
The problem isn’t that you are inadequate, but it’s your view about the situation. You have the power to change your perspective, but negative emotional state usually hinders the ability to think clearly, making it harder than it seems.
- What can I do right now? – This is the most important question to ask and it isn’t limited to situations about this topic. Life is now, what can you do? If you can’t do anything, make peace with the moment.
- Does this REALLY matter? / Will this matter 1 year from now? – (hint: 99.9% of the time it doesn’t) Don’t think about this only from your perspective, but from the big entirety.
- Which thought triggered this feeling? – Don’t take your subjective reality seriously. Ask this question and realize that the thing you are feeling inadequate about is just another layer of bullshit. It was a reaction that you couldn’t do anything about – what matters now is how you deal with it.
Recognize the harmful questions or self-talk that you may have. The “why me?” question is almost legendary how self-destructive it is. Of course I used to ask it a lot.
4. Catch yourself doing it and follow these steps
One of the best lessons about being present is that you should give up wanting to feel something else that you are currently feeling. If you are feeling shit, unworthy or not good enough, the last thing that you want to do is to try to avoid it.
Instead of trying to avoid it, accepting the negative feeling and being in peace with it is infinitely more powerful.
You can’t help the fact that some situations will cause you to feel not good enough. What you can do is that you can change your conditioning towards it.
- Catch yourself when you are feeling it – what kind of thoughts are you having?
- Examine those thoughts objectively. Perhaps ask some of the questions presented before.
- Embrace the feeling instead of resisting it: this will cause the conditioning to change over time, because you react differently to it. The more you focus on the feeling when it arises, the less it will affect you the next time you encounter it. Never focus on the story (= the thought that brought it up).
- Think about what you can do to make yourself feel better about the situation. You are probably comparing yourself to someone else and if it’s so important for you, start working on it. If it’s not, stick to the process.
As far as I know, there’s no magic bullet to change your emotional state instantly. This process will slowly help because it’s about changing your current reaction-patterns to some situations. My getting rid of negative thoughts article is relevant to this process.
5. When it comes to a skill/ability, you may be right.
You probably aren’t good enough, but the slightly negative feeling prevents you to even want to try.
Your mind wants to skip the process to get good and gets discouraged to actually start the process that leads to it.
It’s retarded, but that’s how our minds are.
Everyone has been bad at everything at some point. Michael Phelps has been a shitty swimmer and Michael Jordan couldn’t even bounce a basketball at some point. We’ll just have to ignore the fact that they’ve been like 4 years old
Instead of thinking that you are not good enough, think about taking the next step to whatever you want. Lower the standards on how good you should be right now.
You end up getting what you focus on daily. If you focus on how shitty you are, that’s how you are going to be.
6. Why do you even care?
This is such a good question to ask yourself that it deserves its own subhead. It changes your focus on something that’s more important: Not being good enough doesn’t mean shit.
Do you care because you are afraid of what other people think when you screw up because you are bad?
With everything that you do, do it with integrity and be humble. When you suck at something, it becomes shameful only when you yourself are ashamed of it.
7. Change your social dynamics or get rid of them
When you are not feeling worthy when you are around someone, you should think about the dynamics between the two of you.
I’ve turned around the dynamics between me and my (slightly dysfunctional) family. It wasn’t intentional – It just happened as I radically changed myself.
The feeling of not being good enough around them also disappeared. There are two ways that the dynamics can be a problem for you:
- Your mind patterns are conditioned in a way that makes you feel “not good enough”, when around people who seem to be better than you at something (This was a source of endless anxiety for me)
- Your relationships are toxic and that’s why you are feeling unworthy
Dynamics between people are made of these things: how they see you and how they think + how you see them and how you think. You can affect to the first one by becoming the best you, but if their thinking is screwed, no amount of self-development on your part can fix that. That’s when you’ll have to seriously consider ditching them and focus on better things.
Our feelings are bullshitting us constantly. This particular feeling is rarely about being “good”, but rather it’s just a screwed way to see yourself and the world around you.