How Your Fear Of Not Being Good Enough Can Ruin Your Life
So many people suffer from a fear of imperfection and not being good enough that there’s for a word for it . . . Atelephobia. When we’re young we think we’ll have it all figured out when we grow up. Then at some point we realize that we’ll never have it all figured out. No matter how old, wise or experienced we are, we still worry that we won’t live up to expectations or won’t be able to provide what is needed.
Fear of not being enough shows up in all areas of our lives. Perhaps you think you aren’t good enough to date that guy you have a secret desire for. Maybe, you don’t think you are good enough to apply for that promotion or to ask for a raise. So what happens? You limit what you allow yourself to do. But you pay the price in a stagnant career, unfulfilling relationships, and plenty of other ways. Most seriously, your self -confidence suffers. Every time you choose not to do something because you think you are not good enough, you re-enforce your belief that you don’t have what it takes. Over time you end up being less than you could be because you just don’t try.
Negative Self-talk Gremlins
The Internet spouts all kinds of stats about how many thoughts we have in a day with estimates ranging anywhere from 25,000 to 70,000. That’s a lot of chatter in our heads! What’s more is that most of our thoughts are repetitive and negative. One study showed that 60-70% of thoughts of the study participants were negative.
Thinking that you are not good enough is certainly negative. Over time thoughts of shame, guilt and unworthiness create stress, which can cause all sorts of health issues in addition to your mental anguish.
So How Can You Feel Good Enough?
Many people turn to counseling to deal with the anxiety of not feeling like they are good enough. Many psychologists believe that the root of the problem is in your childhood and place the blame squarely on parents. And for some people that may be true. However, I believe in looking forward and worrying less about the initial cause. I prefer to recognize what the gremlins are whispering in my ear and deal with it now rather spending my time finding a source to blame or blaming myself. If you prefer that approach too, here are a few techniques and strategies that you can try.
Listen To Your Mental Chatter
Take stock of your negative self talk, by writing down every negative thought you have. If you do this for a few days you will notice what negative thoughts you repeat to yourself. What are your gremlins telling you? These are the thoughts you want to get rid of.
Think about what you love about yourself. Better yet, write it down too. If you find yourself immediately trying to think of what good things others say about you, stop yourself. Think about the qualities, strengths and skills that you have that are important to you. Return to this list when you are experiencing self doubt to remind yourself just how unique and special you are. Remember that we all see life through our own set of eyes, that’s what makes the world interesting. Embrace your unique point of view.
Re-frame Your Negative Thoughts
Once you start noticing your negative thoughts. Find a more positive thought to replace it with. For example if you find yourself thinking, “I’m not very good at anything.” Replace that thought with a reminder of a past accomplishment or with a thought of just one thing you do well like, “I am an understanding friend.” What are your unique qualities that make you special? And don’t say you don’t have any because we all do! Tip: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend.
Be True To Yourself
When we make decisions that reflect the values that are important to us we build self-respect. Self-respect builds self-confidence and in turn earns us the respect of others. It’s a waste of time to compare yourself to others because no two of us are exactly the same. If you aren’t sure about what is really important to you, it’s probably time for a little self-exploration.
Create A Supportive Environment
Surround yourself with people who love and appreciate you for who you are. Toxic environments can bring you down fast. By choosing environments that suit your personality and support you, you can begin to recognize that you are more than good enough. Pay it forward by creating a supportive environment for those that choose to be around you.
“Most people are as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
Still Feel Not Good Enough?
If you have spent a lifetime telling yourself that you are not good enough, it won’t be an easy habit to break.
Watch out for dwelling and wallowing. It may help to remember that we all mess up sometimes, but that doesn’t diminish our power to do and to be more. Failures are lessons to learn from and move on.
Cut yourself a break. Maybe you pushed yourself to try something new and it didn’t go so well. What would have happened if you had never tried at all? Who’s to say that what looks like a mistake or failure now isn’t just one step on the way to where you were meant to be? What would it take to accept that this moment is what it is and give yourself some credit for being brave enough to try. Let yourself notice the little successes you have made along the way. Most of us tend to judge ourselves too harshly. Be kind.
Become An Adventurer
When you are tempted to avoid something new because you don’t feel like you are good enough, think of yourself as Indiana Jones. Just get out there and start figuring it out. You don’t have to be perfect and you can’t control everything in life. Learn to let go of perfection and control.
You will never know your strength until you test it. Even if you don’t accomplish what you initially set out to do you will get stronger and more self-confident just by trying, as long as you remember to notice how you grow along the way. Don’t wait for a pat on the back from someone else. Give it to yourself.
Pay It Forward
What strategies do you use to push through when you feel like you are not good enough? Pay it forward by sharing your experience and providing the words that someone else needs to hear today.