“Stop holding yourself back. If you aren’t happy, make a change.” —Unknown
Do you lie awake at night rehashing the day’s events? Examining your every decision and conversation…asking yourself if you have done enough, or should have responded or handled something differently? Do your mental replays make you feel like you are not enough?
A successful career…loving partner…comfortable home…treasured circle of friends. From all outside looks this would be a picture of good fortune and hard work.
But despite it all, you still have the nagging feeling that you aren’t enough. That you should be more successful at work…you should make more money…you should have an advanced degree…should have a larger home or more friends. Feelings of inadequacy bubble up and these ‘shoulds’ gnaw at you daily.
Where do all of those feelings of inadequacy come from?
Learning We’re Not Enough
Life experiences and emotions can create feelings of inadequacy in us. We are not born feeling that way. Oftentimes, these feelings take root when we are young. Somewhere along the road of life and development, as our minds were still maturing and learning to reason, we blamed ourselves for failure or shortcomings rather than the overwhelming situation or circumstances out of our control.
Even after the event, when we were reassured by those around us that the event was not our fault, our young minds translated the messages to be of disappointment that we aren’t enough. Costing us our confidence.
So how do you break the cycle and embrace the knowledge that you are enough?
1. Patch the rain barrel to feel fulfilled.
In order to transform not enough feelings, we must recognize and acknowledge what they feel like physically. Is it an emptiness, like a hole inside you? So even when good things come in, do they go right through you and back out again, like a rain barrel with a hole in it? You never feel completely fulfilled.
In order to patch the hole in the rain barrel, you must focus each day on what you have achieved. Focus on your progress rather than perfection. Perfection will get you nowhere. Find pride and gratitude in how far you have come, rather than on how far you have to go. Realize that working toward your goals and just putting yourself out there each day to reach them is an accomplishment in itself. Patch the hole of emptiness with pride, love, joy, and gratitude. Look for these everyday.
2. Accept yourself as you are. Imperfection is where it’s at.
Everyone struggles, no one is perfect. Our imperfections make us unique and can be the loveliest part of who we are. Embrace the flaws and be comfortable in your own skin every day. When you are too tired to fight against feelings of not enough, accept and love yourself for who you are. Remind yourself, you are enough just as you are.
3. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean you should believe it.
“Don’t believe everything you think.” — Unknown
You stay in a bad relationship. I don’t deserve to be fulfilled and loved.
You don’t put your name in for a big promotion at work. I won’t get it anyway. I’m not smart enough, and don’t deserve a place at the ‘big kids’ table’.
Thoughts are just thoughts. Do not give power to your negative or bitter ones—it’s unhealthy and exhausting. Focus on your strengths, abilities and positive qualities. Make repeated positive mental statements to change a perceived reality. Embrace optimistic thinking to increase your self-fulfillment.
4. If you compare, you will despair.
Stop comparing yourself to others. It only fuels feelings and thoughts of not being enough. If you compare yourself to anyone, it should be who you were yesterday. Everyday we are a better version of ourselves if we choose to be. Though our inner critic or ‘inner Chihuahuas’ can be harsh, they really don’t have evil intentions. They try to protect us and keep us from being disappointed. But instead of feeling protected, they wear us we down and exhaust us, because the ‘inner Chihuahuas’ can be relentless.
Tune into your ‘inner Chihuahuas’. What you’ll find is they are ‘barking’ to drive attention to your unmet needs. Ask you ‘inner Chihuahuas’ what they are afraid of, what they want, need or long for. Maybe they long for acceptance, appreciation, or independence. Then focus on getting to the heart of those needs, strive to meet and fulfill them. When your core needs and feelings are being met and acknowledged you will begin to feel good enough.
5. Be kind to yourself, love yourself more.
Forgive yourself for yesterday’s mistakes. Mistakes are part of life. Learn to appreciate and love them, they are our teachers in growth and self-improvement. Accept and appreciate who you are.
Don’t set conditions. You will undermine your journey if you only love yourself when you’ve gotten the ‘right’ job or raise, find the ‘right’ relationship or look the ‘right’ way. Begin loving yourself as you are now, not when you think you “deserve” it.
We all have the power to overcome our own limiting beliefs that keep us from realizing our full potential. Make the choice to stop giving those beliefs power and seize new opportunities instead.
6. Exercise for empowerment.
When you are strong, you feel strong, so get that adrenaline flowing. Take a yoga class, take a bike ride, hike or walk outside.
When you begin to love yourself more each day, it’s amazing how your life will get better. You will feel better. Your relationships will improve. Negative ones will disappear and new exciting ones will enter your life. Loving yourself is a lifelong, never ceasing commitment. We each have the ability to change for the better. By simply loving ourselves, we take better care of ourselves.
Feeling not good enough is painful, but it is not everlasting if you focus and search your feelings and needs. Once you are in harmony with them, you’ll find what you are longing for. Embrace and make peace with yourself, and your life journey will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and gratifying. You are more than enough!