Do you ever feel short of time, energy, resources? Do you ever feel you wanted something more? Or wish you had something else than you did right now? It does not matter which topic we are talking about. Today it could be relationships, Tomorrow managing home, another day about your personal projects. It could be our beauty, our health, intelligence, our degrees, our current income, our position at work, our clients, our house, our car, our husband or child, and anything under the sun.
Internalization of not good enough as a childWhen we are young, we are quite impressionable, just like clay. If we end up in dysfunctional families, abusive families, those experiences make a mark on us. Everytime we are abused, or neglected, we make it mean that it is so because we are not good enough. If we make mistakes and get scolded for it, we make it mean that it is so because we are not good enough. If we fail, we make it mean that we are not good enough. If we are rejected, we make it mean that it is because we are not good enough. Series of such experiences with minimum positive reinforcement brings up the feeling of lack when we grow up.
Our unmet expectationsIf we are putting expectations on ourselves that are not being met, we make it mean that it is because we are not good enough. I remember as a child, I forgot my speech and I made it mean that I am not a good enough speaker. It took me 20 plus years to get over that feeling. Sometimes I am not invited to a party while everyone else that I know is. It makes me feel not good enough for attending parties. But really if I dig deep, I know that it does not interest me to be with a certain type of people regardless of if they invite me or not. It has nothing to do with my enoughness. If we are expected to do something because of comparison and not because of our own skill, it puts us up for failure. Sometimes this happens in overly competitive environments where people are outwardly focused. Some people have milestones based on random factors. For example, If 1 person could be a millionaire by age 25, then my children should do that as well. Or If that person could lose weight in 15 days, then I could as well. This outward comparison makes us feel less than because we are expecting to meet our demand but not taking all other conditions into account.
Our experiences in societySociety and media have a standard on beauty, health, power, everything. And they do this to sell their products. But since as a society we have internalized these messages so much that we are setting ourselves for failure by comparing ourselves to superficial standards. I was not as good at drawing and painting naturally when I was young. I was interested in improving it. The drawing teacher in our school would take extra classes for those who were already good for an external exam. When I asked to get extra classes for myself , she refused to let me in the class. I always felt that I am horrible at drawing and that it had to be a natural skill. When I grew up and tried to sketch along with my kid, I realized that it is a learned skill and I can improve it if I wanted to. I used to wear glasses as my eyesight was weak. Other kids made fun of me and called me “dhapne” which means a person who wears glasses as if I was an alien. It always made me feel not good enough about myself.
Other factorsThere are million other factors on why a person may not feel good enough. Maybe it is because they feel sick very often. Maybe they do not have a support system as strong as some other people they know. Maybe they are just not feeling confident enough in themselves, their speaking or dressing skills, or anything else. Over years, being stressed about not good enough for too long about choices I have made in my life that are different from the norm. I have done many things that did not fit with my parent’s expectations. I have surprised myself by sometimes not meeting my own expectations of who I could be as a person. I recently attended my coaching certification retreat and after having a breakthrough on Day 2, I woke up next day feeling really great about who I was and what I stood for. I want this exact feeling to be expanded in everyone else. Here are simple things you can work on yourself to feel great about yourself
- Have compassion towards your past experiences
- Dig deep and try to understand the whole meaning of your past and why it happened and what it meant to teach you
- Use your own values as your compass of expectations.
- Always look inwards and understand and enhance your qualities and your abilities
- Take every mistake and failure as a learning opportunity to grow.
- Forgive others in your life that make mistakes and show compassion. This also helps cut the negative energy that can keep us stuck in the not good enough feeling forever
- Count your blessings daily. Focus on what you have and what matters.
- Engage in activities that will help you grow towards your expectations. Once you stop giving excuses and take responsibility for your growth, you might see the world differently.
- Sometimes life will expect more courage out of you than you know you have. Surprise yourself and do what needs to be done. It will help you expand yourself
- Be proud of your achievements. Share them with the world. The world needs more positive and courageous stories.
- Stop spreading yourself thin. Only attend to matters based on your values and priorities.
- Create boundaries at work, at home and in friendships.
- Create time for yourself. Push back on anything you do not like. Stop giving power and energy to unwanted things.
- More importantly, just know that just because you exist, the world is an amazing place today and your being touches all the people you know in a great way and your existence matters more than anything you know.