It might sound like I’m talking about ice cream, but what I’m really talking about is what version of “I’m not good enough” are you most used to feeling? You may notice I’m not even asking if you’ve felt not good enough, I’m pre-supposing that you have, and I’m inviting you to see what your personal “flavour” is (you know, the one that hijacks your thoughts most often). It could be “I’m not attractive enough, not rich enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not liked enough, not popular enough, not capable enough, not normal enough, not successful enough”, and the list goes on.
Since judgment is such a big part of our lives, self-judgment is bound to come up, and hence feeling not good enough in some way is an inevitable part of life. It’s what we do about it that will make a difference. Most people are conditioned to believe that it’s wrong to feel this way, and develop coping mechanisms to try and deal with it. One such coping mechanism is denial; pretending to the world that we have never had a self-deprecating thought and overcompensating by trying to prove to everyone how wonderful we are – sadly everyone else can see this illusion except us. Other times we may take these judgmental thoughts as ‘the truth’ and believe that we really are not good enough, which makes our self-esteem spiral down and we attract situations that give us more evidence to believe it. In both cases the self-critical thoughts are still governing our actions.
Perhaps another way out would be to accept and understand that these feelings are a ‘normal’ part of life, and when they do come up, look at that part of you with compassion and acceptance. Accept that “a part of me feels this way because I have judged it, and I give that part of me love and acceptance”. Doing this immediately takes away the power of those thoughts, plus you don’t have to believe in them or overcompensate for them, just watch and accept. Above all know that despite all this mind-chatter, you are good enough!!