How Do You Benefit From Doubting Your Worth?


Last week we asked ourselves questions about how struggling to trust in our worth impacts our lives. We also committed to choosing one tiny way to act as if we trust ourselves this week. How did that go for you?

This week I have a related question for us to ponder.

What’s the payoff? Where is the benefit in our continued lack of trust in our own worth?

Maybe this question sounds a little ridiculous. How can there be any benefit to not trusting in our worth? Isn’t the belief that we’re not good enough the very thing holding us back?

Looking back over my life, there is plenty of evidence that I’m capable of figuring out solutions to problems. I am capable of learning new skills. There are people who trust me enough to confide in me. There are people who name me as a friend.

And yet, my mind is quick to disregard all that evidence of my worth and insist that I’m not smart enough or competent enough to try challenging things. It insists that I’m not good enough to have meaningful connections with other people.

Why is that? Part of me knows that if only I believed I was good enough, I’d be free to tackle challenges, pursue dreams, and develop relationships without getting in my own way.

But there are parts of me that cling to that idea of not being good enough. They are afraid of what would happen if I trusted in my own worth.

I might take risks. I might start something new without figuring all the details out first. I might make a mistake. I might look foolish. I might fail dismally.

I might voice an opinion only to be told I’m wrong. I might extend an invitation to someone I’d like to get to know only to be turned down. I might share a dream only to be mocked.

The possibilities aren’t all bad. Even positive change is scary. I might make new friends and have a more robust social life than I’m used to. I might be successful at something I try, which could lead to new opportunities and responsibilities.

The point is, if I didn’t have my self-doubt holding me back, I’d stretch myself to try things and meet people that currently seem out of reach. Sometimes I’d have the painful experience of not getting what I hoped for. Other times my risk would be rewarded and my life would look different as a result.

Not believing I’m good enough is incredibly painful. But it’s a pain I know. There are parts of me that would rather stay with that familiar pain than to take a chance on what could happen if I reached for something more.

The precise payoff of not trusting myself varies with each situation, but most of the time it’s about grasping at certainty and control in one form or another.

The next time you find yourself hesitating because you’re not sure you’re good enough, try looking for the payoff of your self-doubt. What are you protecting yourself from by quitting before you even try? What are you afraid could happen if you try and fail? What if you try and succeed?

Once you have a clearer understanding of the benefits of dismissing yourself as not good enough, then you can ask another very important question.

Is it worth it? Is it worth living with the pain of not believing in yourself in order to avoid the uncertainty of acting as though you are worthy of being here?

Of course, a clearer understanding of what holds you back won’t necessarily make it easy to suddenly start trusting yourself…or even to start acting as if you do. Knowing what we’re afraid of doesn’t instantly make us less afraid. Learning to trust in our own worth is a process.

Paying attention to where it benefits us to not believe we’re good enough (counterintuitive as that may seem), however, can help us decide when it’s worth it to us to push through our discomfort and act as though we trust ourselves even before we do.

I’d love to know…where does it feel safer to keep thinking you’re not good enough? How does looking for the payoff impact how you choose to act?