How to Stop Feeling and Believing That You're Not Good Enough

emotional life inner child healing self-awareness self-compassion thinking Aug 05, 2021
woman holding her head, feeling bad

It’s said that the tone and words you use when you speak to your kids will one day be their inner voice. And I couldn’t agree more. When I think about the inner voice that has unconsciously operated in the background of my mind for over the last three decades, I often hear the words of my well-meaning yet teenage older brother, the responses of my achievement-oriented and encouraging father, the imperfect utterances of my elementary school teachers, and the critical voices of the TV that often ran in the background of the space in the living room of my childhood family home.

And though the intentions of each of these people, with the exclusion of the TV, were good ones, they nevertheless had a negative impact on me. My well-meaning older brother was perceived by parts of me to be a mean bully. My encouraging father was perceived by parts of me to be overbearing and never satisfied with my academic success. My 4th grade teacher who was generally my favorite was perceived in those insensitive moments to be an insensitive and uncaring woman. And that TV set. Oh let's not even go there. That television with all the pretty people and pretty lights may have been the worst influence of them all.

Not feeling good enough is one of the most common thoughts and feelings that people experience. It's likely that your story and your reasons for not feeling and believing that you're good enough are in some ways similar to mine and in many ways different from mine (you too have made mistakes, been rejected by people and jobs, been judged by people around you, etc.) but the fact remains that it’s not an accident that you don’t feel good enough. Your environment, the people in it, and the way that your brain processed those people and situations created imprints in your brain that impact how you feel and think about yourself until this very day.




I have a lot of compassion for how you got to this place and how I got to this place and that's why I’m here writing this article. No one deserves to grow up feeling that they aren’t good enough. No one deserves to grow up hearing constant messages that reinforce their sense of unworthiness or ‘not enoughness’. Yet where many of us find ourselves, given the current achievement- and status-seeking societies we grow up in, is exactly there.


So what do we do about this feeling of not being good enough?

Well I often say that the first step to changing anything is first and foremost to acknowledge that this thing that is unpleasant or unfavorable is there… that right now, for one reason or another, you believe that you're not good enough, whether it's that you're a not good enough partner, a not good enough employee, a not good enough boss, not good enough child, or not good enough human being. Then I recommend that you follow these steps that I've followed many times before and continue to follow when my brain incorrectly assumes that we’re back in 1995 and the feeling of not being good enough as a person tries to take me over.

Want to join me and lots of other people across the globe who are talking about this and other vital topics in happiness, relationships, and self-growth each and every week? Come on over to my free virtual community, The Happiness Hub – we’d love for you to join us!

Here's generally what you need to do to slowly and surely reduce the grip that the belief ‘I'm not good enough’ has on your life.


Recognize where this ‘not good enough’ voice is coming from.


Many of us are told directly or indirectly that we're not good enough by being pushed to always be better (as I alluded to in the introduction to this article). Many of us unconsciously adopt the belief that we're not good enough because we're different from our family members and it's easy to assume that we're not good enough because they want us to be like them and we're not.





So begin to get honest with yourself about where this ‘not good enough’ voice is really coming from. Is it coming from your essence or is it coming from something that you learned to believe because of the sorts of situations you were in, the sorts of people you were around, and the sorts of expectations that were placed on you?

My ‘not good enough’ voice, for example, is an amalgamation of my father, my older brother, my mother by association, my elementary school teachers (1st and 4th grade especially), the Soviet and American cultures of which my family lineage is a part, and also the city in which I grew up (New York City).

When you can understand and see your own ‘not good enough’ voice not as a voice of the heart but as a voice imprinted in your brain by others who didn't feel good enough themselves, this feeling becomes just a little easier to navigate and manage.


Recognize that this voice is one part— not all— of you.


Once you've recognized that you have this belief operating below the surface that tells you you're not good enough, the most important thing is to remember that this is just one part of you that has this belief. It's the same as saying that you're thinking thoughts that come from your mind but you yourself are not your mind. What's happening is that you've attached a certain meaning and belief to things that have happened in your life and now these thoughts and emotions associated with those events bring this belief to life again and again for you. You can notice that your mind will sometimes think you're not good enough or not worthy AND SIMULTANEOUSLY notice that this is just one part of you that thinks that. If you asked another part of you that did well in school and that was praised kindly and compassionately by others, it might think otherwise, right?


Practice self-compassion.


Every single person who grew up not feeling good enough, no matter the reason, needs more compassion. They need more compassion from all the people around them and even more importantly they need more compassion from themselves. My feeling of ‘not good enough’ began early on in life and it led me to strive to be the best student, the best employee, the best [fill in the blank] because I was deeply afraid to feel the feeling of not being good enough that I’d experienced many times before because of the judgment and criticism I received from the people around me.





Because I was young and didn't really know how to care for myself, there was no one around to tell me “You know, I'm sorry that you're feeling like this. It isn't true. Sometimes, hurt people hurt people and I'm so sorry you're feeling this way.” I wish I could have heard that many years ago but I know that the best thing I can do now is to offer those same words and that same compassion to myself. So when you notice that voice of not good enough permeate in your mind, invite yourself to take a pause and take a moment to practice self compassion-- offer yourself a kind word, offer yourself a loving gesture, and/or offer yourself the same love and kindness you would offer a friend who is believing something so horrible (and untrue) about themselves.

What’s most important in this whole step is that you build a relationship with this part of you that feels ‘not good enough’… this part of you that has been through a lot, and that deserves to be listened to and understood. Where you might have approached this part of you with a bit of disinterest and intolerance, now the intention is to approach it with interest and receptivity. The feeling of not being good enough comes from self-criticism, self-judgment, and self-rejection. The solution, then, is self-love and self-compassion.

The feeling of not being good enough comes from self-criticism, self-judgment, and self-rejection. The solution, then, is self-love and self-compassion.


Cultivate a sense of safety.


The reason this belief and feeling of ‘not good enough’ overtakes your life (emotions, actions, decisions) is that you don’t feel safe to be you in the world. Some part of you, deep inside, thinks that you need to do everything you can to prevent others from seeing the truth, which is that you’re human and sometimes you do fail, sometimes you do falter, and sometimes in fact you aren’t the best.

It helps to go back in time (through therapeutic means, energy medicine, etc) and cultivate a sense of safety for yourself: a sense that ‘ah, it actually is okay to be imperfect, it is okay to fail, it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough if you do any of these things or if you do them all on a given day.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I went back in time (and continue to do so) and rescued my younger self. I rescued her from believing she wasn’t good enough the time that her 4th grade teacher reacted somewhat harshly because she didn't know the definition of “oak tag” and started crying. I rescued her from believing that she wasn’t good enough the time she missed a word in the spelling bee because she thought it was one of those tricky words when it actually wasn't. I rescued her from believing that she wasn’t good enough the time that her dad (jokingly) asked “why didn't you get 105%?” when she brought home a 100% on a test and all the times like it. I rescued her from believing that she wasn’t good enough those times she was pressured to read and read when all she wanted to do was play. I rescued her from believing that she wasn’t good enough when her first boyfriend mistreated her and she thought it was somehow her fault.


We don't often know in the moment how the people and situations in our lives will shape us but they did and they do. Hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to begin to unravel this belief and feeling that keeps you down so that you can rise up to who you’re meant to be. The world needs me. And the world needs YOU!


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.

Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.