Before I begin let me start off by saying we all, at some point in our lives, think we aren’t good enough. Feeling like we aren’t doesn’t mean that we’re not or something is wrong with us. It just simply means that we’ve hit a block in our lives we don’t know how to overcome.
There were two moments in my life this happened. First was between 2011-2013. I had just started my own gourmet coffee business and had been trying to make it work for over 2 years. At first, I was confident that I could. However, as time went on my reality didn’t match my confidence or belief in myself. I started doubting myself and my abilities. Suddenly, I began questioning whether this whole entrepreneurship thing was really for me, and began thinking I wasn’t good enough to succeed at it.
The second was between 2015-2016. Like most people I have certain goals I wanted to achieve by a particular age, and for me that age was 30. When I turned 30 in 2014, my life looked worse than it ever did, especially financially. I was still depending on others financially just to make ends meet, and take care of my daughter. For me that was painful, because my vision was that I would be in a place to take care of everyone, not the other way around.
However, that wasn’t the most painful for me. What was is the fact that I told myself at age 30 that I would do something to change my situation around. Still, just as before, I procrastinated and did nothing. 2015 came and went. 2016 came and still nothing was being done to change.
Both these incidents led to me feeling and thinking I wasn’t good enough, more so as a father.
Why You Think You Aren’t Good Enough
The simple straight forward answer to why you may think this way is because you have failed so many times in the area of your life you have tied your self-worth to. Allow me to repeat for the purpose of emphasis, the area of your life you have tied your self-worth to. Sure we can fail in life, but it only affects us if it’s an area that’s important to us.
Now before you say that your self-worth isn’t based on you being successful in any area of your life, allow me to politely say that you’re full of crap (I’m just being honest). We all do it, whether consciously or unconsciously. Whether our self-worth is tied to our relationships, career, money, body, even spirituality, at some level we all do it. It may be that we don’t do it to the extent that it is self-sabotaging or damages us permanently.
This is why as human beings we tend to seek more in one particularly area of our lives than others, it fulfills us. For me I know that area is my life goals (to be clear not money). The closer I feel I am getting to a goal, or at the very least moving in the right direction to accomplish it, the more self-worth I feel. It sounds weird saying it, but being honest with myself is how I’ve been able to grow as a person over the years.
How You Got to Thinking You Aren’t Good Enough
Here’s a breakdown of how it works on a psychological and emotional level:
1. We have an area we value more than anything else. When I use the term value more than anything else, what I mean is this is the area that’s most important to you and have the greatest meaning to you. This is the area you desperately want to see work. Even if all the other areas of your life falls apart, this is the one area that cannot at any cost.
It typically stems from the fact that as a child there was something we lacked in this particular area of our lives, and so we felt there’s a void that’s been left there. So if your area of significance is relationships, that’s probably because you lacked love and family stability as a child. If the area of significance is money, it’s probably because you were poor growing up, parents couldn’t afford the things you wanted, and on some level it affected your self-image.
2. We make several attempts over and over to be successful in this area, and fail. Due to this need to fill the void in this area of our lives, we seek out things, people, or any validation to make us feel we are good enough. The challenge comes when we aren’t successful at filling the void after several attempts.
Each time we fail it chips away at our self-image, which then chips away at our self-esteem, which affects our self-confidence, and lowers our belief in ourselves. The main thing to pay attention to here is your self-image (not everything else). Why do I say this? Because once your self-image is broken, it creates a domino effect that causes all the others to fall apart. Once this happens, we move from a sense of hope and empowerment, to a feeling of defeat and helplessness.
This constant feeling of defeat and helplessness is why we think we aren’t good enough.
How to Change Thinking You Aren’t Good Enough
The first thing you would expect is that in order to feel that you are good enough is to succeed at getting what you want to fill the void right? Nope! Now you already know this. The problem is you’re still trying to force getting the thing, thinking it’s what you need to feel whole.
In short, the best way to change thinking you aren’t good enough is to change your self-image, which means change how you see yourself. Notice I didn’t say succeed at getting the thing you want. That’s because thinking and feeling like you’re good enough can happen even if you haven’t already achieved the goal you have. It happens simply by feeling like you’re making progress towards achieving the goal you have.
Reshaping Your Self-Image
Step 1: The first thing you need to do is interrupt the limiting beliefs you have that you aren’t good enough. The best way to do this is through affirmations, or speaking to yourself out loud. For the record this doesn’t mean you’re crazy. The reason why speaking out loud is important is because the spoken word is the only thing that can interrupt your negative thoughts.
Repeat, “I know I may not be good enough in this area right now BUT I can work on myself every day to become better and successful in this area of my life”. The reason why it’s phrased this way is that you first need to acknowledge that this is a challenge for you. By acknowledging that it is, you are eliminating the internal battle between you and your subconscious. Also, you’re letting it and yourself know that though you may be this way now, it isn’t permanent, and you have the power to do something about it.
Step 2: Next you need to take some small and simple action that will help you become better and successful in this area. Saying it is one thing, but if you don’t act upon it then your words lose their power, and become meaningless. Once this happens you lose the power to interrupt your limiting beliefs.
For this I would recommend that instead of focusing on taking action to achieve the goal that you have, focus on becoming the person that is capable of achieving this goal. What I mean by this is, if a fulfilling relationship is what you seek, learn who is the person you need to become to have a fulfilling relationship, rather than trying to chase having a fulfilling relationship. If money is what you want to achieve, don’t chase the money, instead focus on developing the mindset, discipline, and habits of someone wealthy.
The reason this is important is that you have to see the goal you want as a by-product of the person you become. There are many reasons why this is important, but the main one I would say is that it creates the patience that allows you to continue the process, even when you aren’t seeing immediate results.
Spend time working on you, learn the knowledge, develop the skill and competence, and change your mindset.
Step 3: Reaffirm your new self-image to reinforce it. Now that you are beginning to create the self-image, you have to cement it. Do so by repeating, “(your first name) you truly are good enough! Every action you take brings you one step close to achieving your goal of (what your goal is)”.
It’s like building a house, the affirmation is the foundation, the action is the bricks laid, but the reinforcement is the cement that holds the bricks in place, and keeps the house together.
Now this alone isn’t enough to change your self-image. What really changes your self-image is small wins, small victories. This is because true Belief that you are this new person comes by actually seeing that this new you is creating some visible results, even if those results are small.
What I’ve just outlined is simply the process needed to create those small wins. By repeating this process daily and with consistency, it leads to the small wins.
It’s perfectly normal and perfectly human to feel that we aren’t good enough at times because of our past failures. It doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, it just means that your mind has deceived you into believing that you aren’t good enough, or worthy enough of the good you want to see in your life.
The most important thing is ensuring that you do not allow yourself to stay in this position and thought. It’s critical to understand that you do have the power to change it, and you must exercise that power to do so. Hopefully, what I’ve just outlined will help you.
To your success my friend!
Know someone who feels unworthy and that they aren’t good enough? Be a friend and share this with them.
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