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I’m Not Good Enough: Why You Feel This Way & 32 Secrets to Feel Amazing!

Do you fear you’re not good enough? No one is perfect, but you don’t deserve to have such negative thoughts about yourself. Here’s how you can let them go.

not good enough

We live in a world that is just toxic to our self-esteem. Our society tells us that we have to look a certain way, act a certain way, make a lot of money, and be wildly popular to feel good about ourselves. And if we don’t live up to that standard, we’re not good enough. But guess what? That’s not true.

If you want to get over the fear of not being good enough, it all starts with you. In other words, it all starts in your head. You see, everything is subjective. 

And how you feel about yourself was all constructed in your mind based on how you THINK you measure up to the expectations of other people. It could be your parents, your religion, your peer group, or just the media. Let go of that mental image, and your self-confidence will skyrocket.

[Read: 55 secrets and self-love habits to build confidence and realize your worth]

Reasons you’re not feeling good enough

Have you ever wondered why you don’t feel good enough? There could be many reasons, and it’s different for everyone. But here are some of the main reasons people feel that way about themselves:

1. You have hidden core beliefs that are running the show 

Most people think that their conscious minds are really in charge of our lives. But that’s not true. It’s actually your subconscious mind that is in the driver’s seat. 

In fact, the subconscious mind drives about 95% of our thoughts and actions, whereas the conscious mind accounts for only about 5%. And remember, most of the time we’re not even aware of our subconscious thoughts and beliefs.

These thoughts are often formed when we were children from what our parents tell us about ourselves and the experiences we have had with other people. So to say that they have an influence on the way we see ourselves and the world around us is a bit of an understatement.

2. Your inner voice is actually critical and judgmental

Because you might have been subconsciously programmed in a negative way early in life, your own inner voice became critical and judgmental as a result. 

For example, if your parents continually told you that you were lazy, dumb, and worthless, you’re going to eventually believe it yourself. Their voices become your own inner voice as you grow older. [Read: Positive self-talk – what it is, where it comes from, and how to master it]

This is similar to programming a computer or brainwashing someone. The more you hear a message, the more you’ll believe it—whether it’s true or not. So, you might have just learned to be critical of yourself.

3. You surround yourself with critical people

As the saying goes, “Birds of a feather flock together.” In other words, most of the people we have in our lives are pretty similar to us.

Happy people tend to be friends with other happy people. Depressed people are friends with depressed people.

So, if you’re critical of yourself, you might be attracting other negative and critical people into your life. It could be because that’s what you’re used to, and it feels familiar to you. [Read: 26 whys and ways to surround yourself with positive people and remodel your life]

But it’s bad enough that you are critical of yourself. You don’t need other people around you being critical of you too. So, their negativity reinforces your own internal negativity, and it’s just a vicious feedback cycle that you get into.

4. Your main caregiver couldn’t give you stability or safety

As a child, we expect that our parents or main caregiver will love us and feel safe. After all, that is the purpose of a parent. But not all people are lucky enough to have a good childhood.

In fact, a lot of people grow up in negligent or even abusive homes. [Read: 47 hurtful signs and effects of being the daughter of a narcissistic mother]

They might be neglected or emotionally and physically abused. When your caregiver acts that way, it creates the subconscious thoughts of, “I’m not good enough.”

The reason that these thoughts are created as a result is that the child is thinking “My mommy or daddy would take care of me if I was good enough. But they don’t, so there must be something wrong with me.”

Of course, that’s not true. But if you had that kind of childhood, you might have internalized those thoughts because your parents didn’t treat you with kindness, love, and respect. [Read: Abandonment issues – what it is, causes, types, 34 signs and how it hurts you]

5. You didn’t get enough “attachment” as a kid

Children need to emotionally bond with their parents or caregivers. It’s biologically wired into our brains to have human attachment and love.

But maybe your parents neglected you a lot or just weren’t around very much. Or maybe you had a parent *or both* who abandoned you.

Regardless of what it is, if you didn’t have the love you needed growing up, you were starved for emotional connection.

As a result, this was internalized in your heart and subconscious mind. [Read: Insecure attachment – what it is, types, 23 signs, and how it affects your life]

You felt like no one loved you enough to pay attention to you or stick around in your life. And then you mistakenly believe that it’s your fault and that there’s something wrong with you.

6. You experienced strong trauma in the past

There are many reasons a person might experience trauma. It could be because of what we discussed earlier—neglect or abuse from your parents. Or it could be other things.

Perhaps you were sexually abused as a child, or an adult, by a friend or family member, and that has taken a huge hit on your self-esteem. [Read: Low self-worth – the important steps to see yourself in a better light]

There are endless types of trauma a person might endure that would lead to them thinking that they are not good enough. And if you’re thinking that you aren’t, then you might have been through something horrific in your life that made you feel that way.

How to get over the fear of not being good enough

Even though we don’t think of it this way, fear is usually just an illusion. It’s something that our mind has created that may actually be irrelevant. The fear of not being good enough is no different.

If you have created that fear, then you can also un-create it. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

Even if you were programmed to think that way by other people, you need to know that you still have the power to change it. So here are some tips for how to get over the fear of not being good enough.

1. Try to understand why you feel that way

Okay, so where did this feeling of low self-worth come from? Just because you think you’re not worthy doesn’t mean it’s true. Did your parents tell you this? Did you get bullied as a child?

Once you understand where the thoughts came from, then you can start to unravel why these negative images of yourself are false. But you have to start at the root. [Read: 25 honest, self-reflection questions to recognize the real YOU inside]

2. Discover your life purpose and passion

Sometimes people have the fear of not being good enough because they just haven’t found their life purpose—or even a passion that they can pursue. 

But you really don’t have to be the next famous person or a world leader to make a difference in this life. We all have our unique gifts and passions. So, it’s time to explore yours. [Read: What is my purpose in life – 33 secrets to find meaning when you feel lost]

Once you discover them, then you can focus on channeling them into either a career or a hobby. This will give you a lot of satisfaction about yourself.

3. Forgive yourself

We’ve all done things in the past that we regret. So, if you feel that way, you are not alone. But sometimes it feels like we’re alone. We look back and ask why the heck we did or said something. And we wish we could take it back. But we can’t.

All we can do is forgive ourselves. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.” So, you really have to forgive yourself. [Read: Sense of self – what it is, 36 signs, and steps to raise it and feel great]

If you don’t forgive yourself, then you won’t love yourself. And if you don’t love yourself, then you can never get over the fear of not being good enough.

4. Stop trying to be perfect

Let’s say it again…stop trying to be perfect!

First of all, there is no such thing as perfection. It’s a myth. It simply doesn’t exist. What is perfect to you is not perfect to another person. 

So, stop trying to achieve perfection, because you never will. You can’t achieve something that doesn’t exist. [Read: Dating a perfectionist – things you must know before you date one]

Instead, focus on excellence and passion. Do your best. And focus on your passions.

5. Stop comparing yourself to other people

It’s so easy to compare yourself to others—we all do it. But this is only adding to your fear of not being good enough.

From the outside, everyone looks like they have it all together. And if you factor in social media, well, people can create pretty much any persona they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s real. [Read: How to stop being jealous of someone else’s success]

So, stop comparing yourself. But if you do, compare yourself to people who are worse off than you. 

Not because you are cruel, but because it puts into perspective all that you have to be grateful for. There are always a lot of people who are worse off than you.

6. Focus on your strengths

When we have the fear of not being good enough, then we are only focusing on our weaknesses. But we all have strengths!

Sitting down and writing in a journal all of your good qualities may help remind you of some of your kickass strengths. [Read: 18 ways to have high self-esteem and start winning at life]

Are you a good writer? Good at computers? Can you sing really well? What do you do that is your special gift?

Once you what that is, then focus on those. Ignore all the things that you are insecure about. 

Yes, it’s easier said than done. But all it takes is some conscious effort to brush those negative thoughts aside. [Read: How to respect yourself – 37 secrets of self-respect, self-belief, and self-love]

7. Visualize and do affirmations

This may sound cheesy to some people, but it really works. Numerous research studies have shown the power of visualization

In fact, Olympic and professional athletes use it all the time in order to reach their goals. So, take some time to visualize yourself and your life the way you want it to be.

If you’re not a visual person, then try some affirmations. Write down positive statements about yourself, and then repeat them over and over. [Read: 57 simple life questions to get to know yourself and truths to visualize your future]

Make this a habit. Do it every day, as often as you can. This will literally re-wire and re-program your brain, and eventually, it will become your new thought pattern.

8. Stop beating yourself up

Those who think they’re not good enough tend to be overachievers. The rest of the world does the best they can and see what they do as a job well done. If you are a perfectionist, then you are probably being way too hard on yourself.

The truth is not everyone is going to achieve their goals all the time—or even half the time. [Read: 52 happy habits and ways to find happiness within yourself and feel better]

Learn to forgive your misgivings instead of beating yourself up about them. Sometimes we truly can be our own worst enemy.

9. Take inventory of all the good things you do

If you feel like you are never good enough, then you probably are a half-empty person, at least when it comes to your own accomplishments. Stop looking at all the things you haven’t done right. Instead, take stock of the things that you have.

Making a concrete list of all you do and all you are to other people helps you to see yourself in the real light. Shining a flashlight is always the best way to get a real look at the situation. [Read: How to be a good person and 32 ways to transform into a better human]

10. What type of relationships are you in? 

Whether it is a demanding mother or a narcissistic significant other, when someone tells us who and what we are for long enough, we tend to believe them. 

Challenge your thoughts whenever you hear that little voice that tells you you’re not good enough. Is that really what you think or is it what you have been told or led to believe?

For sensitive and non-sensitive people alike, not feeling good enough can be a conditioned response to hearing negativity from those around you. [Read: 73 red flag narcissism signs and traits of a narcissist to read them like a book]

If you can’t escape a destructive relationship or don’t want to, at a minimum, stop listening to what they tell you. Start to make decisions about your worth for yourself.

11. Stop trying to control everything

There are some of us who think we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, but merely because we put it there.

If you feel like you are never good enough, then it is probably because you accept too much responsibility for things outside your control.

Self-sabotaging always leads you to feel not good enough. [Read: Controlling people – 32 common traits, signs, and ways to deal with them]

What is self-sabotaging? In this instance, it means taking on a task, or even a personality, you know in your heart is not attainable. 

Try to live by the old adage: “Help me to change the things I can, forgive the things I can’t, and grant me the wisdom to know the difference.” [Read: How to get your shit together – 16 strategies to stop getting stuck]

You aren’t responsible for the world, so let it be. It will likely sort itself out.

12. See the positive

Things don’t always turn out the way that we want them to. There are times when you do everything right, and the result may not be what you want anyway.

There is no magic crystal ball in life. And sometimes things don’t turn out the way we want, they turn out the way they are supposed to. [Read: Positive vibes – 17 ways to welcome positive energy into your life]

What seems like a bad ending may turn around to be a great opportunity or the best outcome when looking from hindsight.

Put your past in your past. Stop trying to fix everything that didn’t go exactly as planned. If you let it sit and move on, you may find that not fixing it is exactly what it needs.

13. Put yourself first

Most often when people don’t feel good enough, it is because they constantly try to do everything for everyone else. [Read: Stand up for yourself – why it’s hard and steps to get what you want and deserve]

A lot of people are pleasers by nature. They want everyone in their life to like them and be happy.

That is the road to misery. The path to hell is paved with good intentions, which means that the more you try to make everyone happy and fix everything around you, the more meaningless you feel in life.

How can you ever feel good enough if you are gauging your worth based on how you make others feel? Your job in life is not to make sure that everyone else’s life is smooth and easy. [Read: People pleaser – 21 signs you’re one and how to stop people pleasing]

Nor do you have to do what others want in order for you to be “enough.” Put yourself first and be concerned with your own happiness. 

You will be amazed at how quickly you can be enough to make yourself happy.

14. Start to say no

People who think they’re not good enough are often those who put too much on their plate. [Read: How to say no – 15 ways to reason politely, stop pleasing, and feel kickass]

If you take on too much, you always leave yourself with not enough time to finish or the time it takes to do the job you want to. That leaves you constantly failing on all ends. 

It isn’t because you aren’t good enough, talented enough, or smart enough; it is because you try to do too much in an impossible time frame. [Read: 23 secrets to set personal boundaries and guide other people to respect them]

When you place too many expectations on yourself, you set yourself up for failure. Sure, you are the one that everyone comes to because you are reliable. 

That doesn’t mean you have the time though. Don’t take on too much and you won’t always feel like you are failing.

If the people in your life love you for you, then they understand you are only human and can only do so much. [Read: Lack of empathy in a relationship – why it matters and how to fix it]

If they are upset with you, then you quickly find out which friendships are real and which aren’t. You don’t want to put all your energy into people who wouldn’t put it into you, so stop doing it.

15. Recall past achievements

Everyone has accomplished things in their lives. You don’t have to be a historical figure that’s been studied for centuries in order to have major life accomplishments.

And they don’t even have to be major accomplishments. After all, most of the people in the world are just normal and their mark on the world won’t live on through the ages. But that’s okay. [Read: 25 must-know secrets to be successful in life and transform your future today]

If you don’t think you’ve accomplished anything important, then focus on the little things. Did you graduate high school? Are you raising children on your own? Are you a really good friend? 

All of these things can be seen as accomplishments. So, when you feel like you’re not good enough, reflect on all the great things you have done in your life so far.

16. Focus on the process rather than the results

Let’s say that you think you’re too fat. That doesn’t mean that you’re a bad or even unattractive person. But you still want to lose weight to feel better about yourself. [Read: Emotional baggage – what it is, types, causes, 27 signs and steps to put it down]

In a situation like this, it’s all too easy to get focused on the destination and not the journey. When involved in a weight loss journey, everyone has their eye on the end goal—the number they really want to see on the scale.

But whatever your goal is, enjoy the process. The end result will come in time. But meanwhile, you should just focus on the small steps you are taking to get you there. It’s easier that way too, because the destination won’t seem as far.

17. Speak to a close friend

We have friends for a reason, and it’s not just to go out and party with. [Read: True friendship – 37 real friend traits and what it takes to be a good one]

A true friend will be there with you through all of your ups and downs in life. And they will help you through it all, as you should do for them as well.

So, if you feel like you’re not good enough, speak with a close friend or even a family member. Tell them how you’re feeling and the things you don’t like about yourself. When we feel this way, it’s often difficult for us to be objective about ourselves.

But a trusted person in your life will see you in a better light than you see yourself. They can help you focus on all of your good qualities and try to minimize your perceived shortcomings. [Read: 17 signs of a supportive partner who encourages you and your goals]

18. Complete an act of kindness

One thing that the world definitely needs more of is kindness. There is too much ugliness in the world, and you shouldn’t be a part of that. Instead, you should add joy to people’s lives.

So, why not complete a random act of kindness? Everyone loves it when people are kind to them. And when you are kind to others, it helps you feel better about yourself.

This can be literally anything. It could be paying for someone’s fast food order behind you in the drive-through. Or it could be giving a stuffed animal to a child in a public park to make them smile. [Read: How to be kind to yourself and others and love life instead of hating it]

It doesn’t matter what you do—just do something. And it doesn’t even have to cost money. Simply helping an old lady cross the street will make you feel good.

19. Seek help

Most people can’t tackle self-esteem issues alone. It takes a tremendous amount of self-reflection and emotional intelligence to be able to examine yourself and look at your thoughts objectively. Ideally, you should probably enlist the help of a trained therapist.

However, not everyone has that luxury for one reason or another. So, if you don’t, then at least ask a friend to help you. [Read: How self-respect affects you and the relationships you have]

Our friends love us, so they will most likely be willing to help you love yourself more too.

Things to remember when you think you’re not good enough

Not feeling good enough is a horrible feeling. And you probably already know this since you’re reading this feature. Here are some things that you need to remember.

1. The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people too

No one is perfect. When you don’t feel like you are good enough, you tend to think that there are perfect people in the world, and as a result, you compare yourself to them. [Read: 28 self-improvement secrets to improve yourself and transform into your best self]

But there is no one in the world who has perfect self-esteem. It doesn’t matter if you’re a supermodel, celebrity, rich, or have a million friends. No one is immune from comparing themselves to other people. So, you’re not the only one who does.

2. Your mind can be a very convincing liar

Just because you have certain thoughts doesn’t make them true. You might think that you’re too fat, but that doesn’t mean you are.

In fact, many anorexic people think they’re too fat. Obviously, they’re skin and bone, but they believe they are too fat.

So, remember this: don’t believe every thought you think. Your mind can lie to you very effectively. [Read: Negative thinking – 32 signs and ways to stop and get rid of negative thoughts]

There is no objective reality about yourself. Just your own subjective interpretations of yourself, from yourself. So, change those negative thoughts into positive ones.

3. There is more right with you than wrong with you

There are more good people in the world than bad—and that includes you. Sure, we all have our flaws and shortcomings. And yes, we should all strive to be the best versions of ourselves that we can possibly be.

But you need to remember that you have so many good qualities. Don’t give your mind the power to think that there is more wrong with you than right. [Read: 45 positive and negative personality traits that can change your life forever]

That simply isn’t true. You are an incredible person, and you just need to believe that.

4. You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least

Everyone deserves to be loved. In fact, love is almost like water, air, and food. It’s practically a necessity to feel happy in life. And that includes you.

So, there are probably a lot of times when you don’t think you deserve love. [Read: Feeling unloved – 51 ways we feel less loved and how to feel love again]

Maybe it’s because your parents told you that, but again, it’s a lie. When you feel the worst about yourself is when you need and deserve love the most.

5. You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later”

People tend to either live in the past or in the future. But you can’t live there. We all live in the ever-present “now.” And if you live in the past or the future then you’ll just be miserable.

Of course, you want to feel good about yourself. [Read: Love yourself first – where people go wrong, 36 whys, and how to do this right]

But you have to fully accept yourself and your life experiences in order to make peace with your “now.” Then, and only then, can you feel satisfied with what is going to come in the future.

6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go

There is no such thing as perfect. We mentioned that earlier in the feature. But you really need to get that through your mind and believe it. That way, you can stop chasing something that doesn’t even exist.

So, instead of trying to be perfect, just focus on the progress you make and how far you’ve come. [Read: 30 signs of low self-esteem in a woman that reveal a need for self-love]

Learning to love yourself is a journey, and it’s not a very easy one. There will be both victories and setbacks too. Just be proud of yourself for even going on that journey.

7. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself

The ironic thing about people who think they’re not good enough focus so much energy on hating themselves. And in some strange way, they think that this will make them love themselves more.

But that makes absolutely no sense at all. You can’t hate yourself and expect to feel good. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to learn how to stop your negative thoughts and turn them into positive ones until you feel better about yourself.

[Read: Positive self-talk – what it is, where it comes from, and how to master it]

You don’t have to live with the fear of not being good enough. Do you know why? Because you ARE good enough. You just need to make yourself believe it.

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Carol Morgan LP
Dr. Carol Morgan
Dr. Carol Morgan has a Ph.D. in communication and is a professor at Wright State University where she loves corrupting young minds. As a relationship and succes...