Do You Suffer From Deep Rooted Feelings of Not Being Good Enough?
Find internal validation and acceptance
What does feeling that you matter and belong mean to you?
When we mix our perceived place of belonging and mattering together, we alchemise a sense of being good enough.
Good enough for this world. Good enough for others. And good enough for ourselves.
Last year I proofread my dear friend’s Ph.D. (this means it’s my Ph.D. too, right🤣), which had an intersectional theme of loneliness, belonging, and mattering as prominent parts of public health. (Huge shout out to you if you read this, Lan ❤).
We all go through phases and stages of feeling like we don’t matter or that we don’t belong. But some of us, myself included, have this as an overriding part of our psyche.
These are feelings I have battled with all my life.
Even publishing the Abnormally Normal newsletter plays with my emotions and feelings of worth and adequacy.
Like many of you, I have endured exhausting battles with myself over the years.
I am bowled over by the response to the launch of Abnormally Normal.
I’m excited, terrified, energized, and bursting full of ideas. And still, there’s a voice in my head that questions why anyone would want to read these words.
I turn on myself and think, “who do you think you are? Pipe down, Ali, and get back in your box!”
I sometimes crumble under the sensation of not being good enough. Do you?
In fleeting moments of self-assurance, I realise I don’t have to have all the answers. I am trying to use my innate empathy, humanity, and kindness mixed together with my experiences and learnings to help you feel seen and less alone. I hope my words feel like a comforting hug and give you a reassuring nudge in the right direction.
Do any of us ever feel truly good enough?
I know the anguish and internal torture of feeling not good enough. I have spent years reading, researching, and working with a therapist to try and overcome this, and I am pleased to say I am making progress.
I want to help you find the confidence and self-belief that you are good enough. Not once you have achieved X, Y or Z, but precisely as you are today.
What causes us to feel like we aren’t good enough?
We all experience feelings of inadequacy and insecurity from time to time. But when these feelings are at home in our soul, they can prevent us from forming healthy relationships and progressing in our careers and ultimately hinder our happiness.
Low self-worth is often derived from childhood abuse or trauma.
If your low self-worth stems from childhood, you may not even be able to pinpoint a particularly traumatic incident. Trauma can be insidious. And sometimes, when we look back from our adult vantage point, we recognise things said or done to us in our childhood, that may account for how we feel today.
How our parents, guardians, and other influential adults treated us as children is instrumental to how we see ourselves now.
A child raised in a home with loving, attentive, emotionally mature parents is likely to feel secure and safe. Most importantly, they will feel worthy of love.
Now consider the child raised in an unstable home environment. Maybe they are exposed to parental conflict, substance abuse, violence, parental narcissism, or other influential factors. Do you think this child is likely to feel worthy of love?
3 ways to try and feel like you are good enough
We are all different. But we all hurt, suffer, and experience pain. It may be invisible, but mental and emotional suffering can be as debilitating, if not more so, than physical suffering.
If you are someone who has never felt good enough, maybe it’s time to address this.
These are my top 3 suggestions to boost your feelings of self-worth and nourish your self-esteem. These aren’t overnight fixes, but stick at it, and I can almost guarantee you will eventually start to bloom.
1 - Invest in yourself
Many people would happily spend hundreds of quid on a night out or splash money on a takeaway or fancy clothing without thinking about it. But when it comes to paying for therapy, they recoil at the cost.
We happily spend money to look good on the outside; why won’t we spend money to feel good on the inside?
Is it a mix of stigma and pride that keeps us from knocking on the door of a therapist?
Personally, I didn’t think I needed a therapist. I mean, I’ve got a psychology degree. I do my own reading and research. I thought I already knew it all! HA HA 🤣
But I got stuck. Very stuck. And without the help of a therapist, I would still be stuck. Very stuck!
I’m here to say I was wrong.
I did need a therapist! I could have saved myself a whole load of heartache if I hadn’t waited until I was 40 years old to start my healing journey!
If feelings of not being good enough have been with you as long as you can remember, there’s a lot of untangling to do. There is no quick fix.
Invest in yourself and make an appointment with a therapist. If you don’t vibe with this therapist, find another one and keep going until you find someone you feel comfortable with.
2 - Learn to love yourself
For years I heard the old saying that if you don’t love yourself, you can’t expect anyone else to. I never quite understood it. How do other people know whether I love myself or not?
I thought I could fake confidence and self-esteem, and no one would ever know. But they did. My actions and body language gave me away.
When we feel like we aren’t good enough inside, our subliminal communication tells other people that we aren’t good enough. And they treat us as if we aren’t good enough. Can you see the problematic cycle here?
We place ourselves below others and are often walked all over. But it’s us that give this message.
It’s all good to say “love yourself more,” but how can we do this? The truth is, it’s an ongoing process. But the sooner you start, the better. Here are several ways to help you learn to love yourself.
Dedicate time to yourself each week; maybe book a massage or treat yourself.
Engage in mindfulness.
Keep a journal.
Look at yourself through the eyes of a loved one.
Give yourself permission to say “no.”
Forgive yourself for any grudges you hold against yourself.
Use the ACE acronym (avoid, control, escape) to deal with difficult situations for your own well-being.
Now that I love myself enough, my landscape looks entirely different. I hope you will start to experience similar.
3 - Do some relationship gardening
I’m a highly sensitive person (HSP), and I recently learned that HSPs are doggedly loyal and struggle to end relationships.
In the last year, I have ended several long friendships. I still feel wobbly about it and have peculiar dreams I am working through. But the critical thing is that I don’t feel guilty or have regrets.
The experience of ending a friendship of over 27 years is haunting. And yet I feel rejuvenated, empowered, and as if I can breathe freely.
I feel liberated.
If you have anyone with whom things have turned sour, consider if the relationship is worth saving or if it’s time to wave goodbye.
For me, an indication that a friendship is on its way out is when it becomes one-sided and lacks any reciprocity. I mean, life happens, and I’m more than happy to hold us together at times, but if it lacks reciprocity for years, stop making excuses for them (I did this) - it’s time to reassess.
Other signs a friendship may have expired include:
A change in energy.
A persistent lack of support.
Passive aggressive comments.
After a series of insult-to-injury events by my longstanding “friend,” I realised I was partly responsible for her behaviour by staying available to her. All I needed to do was remove myself from the equation. Easier said than done, though, right?
It’s not straightforward. But remember, relationships change, and people change. Sometimes we need to weed the flower bed to allow new flowers to grow!
Whether you ghost or warn them that you are leaving their life is entirely up to you. I have ghosted one previous friend and sent a message to another, which I will talk about at some point. Each has its own merits.
If you are still figuring out what to do about that niggly friendship on your mind, you may be interested in this old story I wrote on Medium.
How To Know When It’s Time To Weed The Friendship Flowerbed
Go get ‘em!
You are awesome!
Please don’t keep yourself small for fear of not being good enough. If these damaging thoughts persist without intervention, they may never resolve themselves. And what a waste of all the things you could be doing and experiencing if only you felt good enough!
You deserve to feel good about yourself. You are worthy of love. The better we feel about ourselves, the more open we are to joy and happiness.
Invest in yourself.
Learn to love yourself.
Do some relationship gardening.
You are good enough as you are now.
Have you any tips to eradicate feelings of not being good enough? I’d love to hear your input in the comments.
Abnormally Normal is the newsletter for everyone who feels they don’t fit in.
We discuss mental health, living against social norms, personal growth, culture, relationships, and so much more. I want to help those who feel invisible feel seen.
If there is a topic you would like to see covered, let me know in the comments.
Sunday’s newsletter for paid subscribers will be on what to do when we feel lost and hopeless.
There is never any pressure to upgrade your membership.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this piece, please share it with a friend and remember to subscribe to the Abnormally Normal newsletter.
Don’t forget to give us some love on our socials.
Abnormally Normal on Twitter & Instagram.
Abnormally Normal is for everyone who feels like they don’t fit in.