How to Combat the feeling of “I’m not good enough”
Test yourself against a loving voice is the exercise.
Self acceptance and self-love is not a destination but a journey.
Who here has said to themselves, “I should have done this or that” “I’m the most terrible person for thinking this or doing that or feeling this?” I know I have, many times on my life.
The feeling of shame is rampant in our society. How many of us are walking around everyday thinking and feeling we are not good enough? I can only speak for myself and say I’ve been there, many times and still struggle with this.
I tend to get caught up at the past and demand that I should have known better or done better. It is easy to get caught in this because when we look back we have the benefit of experience and wisdom to see we could have done something differently. What we forget to reflect on is, knowing what we knew then, did we do the best we could?
The object of our self-abuse, the “whip” that we hit ourselves with is the word “should”. Why is it so hard for us to accept that we did our best? Elizabeth Gilbert author of “Eat, Pray, Love” suggested in a talk that perhaps we suffer because we refuse to let ourselves “off the hook” for perceived mistakes. We refuse to let ourselves be human, learn and grow from our experience. Side note: We are talking about the day to day struggles and mistakes, not criminal acts.
Not only are we unable to cut ourselves any slack but when we get into the “I’m not good enough” thought process and emotion we then do the cruelest thing to ourselves which is to be alone with our thoughts.
Why do we do this to ourselves? How do we get ourselves out of this feeling and thought process?
Elizabeth Gilbert’s suggestion to combat this “not good enough” feeling is to test yourself against a loving voice. Imagine someone who is the kindest, gentlest person that could never judge you in your life, whether a friend or family member or God or Mother Theresa. Write down the thoughts and what troubles you then respond to yourself in the voice of this person you have imagined. What would they say to you? Write it down. Whatever your negative thoughts are, write it down in the context of a conversation with the kindest person. This is an exercise you can try when your by yourself.
Even better would be to exit your loneliness and get around people who love and care about you. Because the thing you can quickly discover is that you are human and your emotions and thoughts are human. You will also discover that you are not alone in these thoughts/feelings and having social support can be amazingly healing.
Fear is contagious but so is courage.