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For When You're Feeling Not Good Enough

Who could you be and what could you do if you weren't trying to prove you're good enough?

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like you’re not good enough.

You’re not alone. I’m raising my hand with you and I know there are many, many others joining us.

This fear of not being good enough is so common. It plays on repeat in the minds of many of us.

Our fears grow when we avoid looking at them. Please join me in looking at this fear of being not good enough. First, consider your answers to the questions below.

  • Where do you believe your worth comes from?

  • What is good enough?

  • Is this belief that you’re not good enough coming from the inside or the outside?

  • What do you get from believing you’re not good enough?

  • What would being good enough get you?

  • Is not being good enough really truly the thing that is holding you back?

Now read on for additional thoughts on each question. Don’t miss the end where we’ll take a first step in shifting this belief of being not good enough.

Where do you believe your worth comes from?

Do you believe you need to earn your right to exist in this world? Do you need to earn love? Do you need to prove that you have value?

If our worth is something we have to earn or prove, we will never feel like enough. Even if we somehow manage to prove ourselves or earn our place, we can never stop striving because we must constantly prove we have a right to stay there.

I believe our worth is inherent. We aren’t born needing to prove that we’re good enough. As we grow, our experiences and the messages we receive get layered over the value at our core and make us doubt our worth.

Different people make different decisions about what we will do with the space we take up in this world. But no matter how productive or destructive our choices, it does not change our core value as a human being.

Your worth is not something to prove.

Just think who you could be and what you could do if you weren’t spending so much energy trying to prove you’re good enough.

What is good enough?

Really…what is good enough? How will you know when you’ve reached a level of good enough? What are all the specific characteristics and achievements that will mark you as good enough? What will be different when you achieve good enough status? Again, be specific.

So many of us are painfully familiar with this feeling of being not good enough, but how often do we question what being good enough even means? It’s really hard to cross the finish line when we don’t know where it is or whether it even exists.

It’s one thing to have things we want to change or ways we want to improve. That can be a healthy part of self-awareness and continued growth.

But this vague sense of never good enough rarely helps us grow as a person. Mostly it just keeps us ashamed, disconnected, and miserable.

The thing is, good enough is often set at the level of perfection. We are human and, therefore, imperfect. Of course we’ll never feel good enough if good enough is undefined or impossible to achieve.

Is this belief that you’re not good enough coming from the inside or the outside?

Where are you telling yourself that you’re not good enough? Do the people around you say or do things that undermine your sense of worth? What messages have you picked up from your family, your communities, or society?

For most of us, our doubts about being good enough are fed both internally and externally. The question remains—who gets to decide whether you are good enough?

When we give that power to an external source we need constant reassurance from them about our worthiness. If, however, we decide internally whether we are good enough, then we regain our power to choose what messages about us are true and which expectations we want to meet.

What do you get from believing you’re not good enough?

It might seem like there’s no way this belief is serving you. It doesn’t feel good and it likely limits the possibilities you can see about what you can do and where you can belong.

Consider, however, how this belief might be protecting you, even if that protection isn’t always very helpful. If you’re not good enough, then you don’t have to try the thing that scares you. If you’re not good enough, you can avoid potential rejection by not risking a relationship in the first place. If you already think you’re not good enough, then you won’t be surprised by disappointment.

Believing we’re not good enough may not feel good or get us what we want, but at least it’s familiar. When we’re certain we won’t measure up, we know what to expect. The possibilities that open up when we stop trying to prove we’re good enough and start living as if we are good enough are unpredictable. To some of our more fearful parts, it’s worth feeling bad about ourselves if it keeps us safe from the unknown.

What would being good enough get you?

We can get focused on all the things that are out of reach for us because we’re not good enough to have them. What if we flipped that around? If you had your good enough box checked in permanent ink, what would be different? What would you try? Who would you talk to? Where would you go? How would you spend your days?

And now, let me ask you…Is not being good enough really truly the thing that is holding you back? Truly?

What might happen if you tried before you were certain you were good enough? You might not get what you want. That’s always a possibility. It’s also possible that you’ll get even more than you’d hoped for.

The thing is, what we do or don’t get has a lot less to do with how good we are and more to do with how willing we are to risk showing up as the imperfect humans we are even when it’s uncomfortable.

In all the poking and prodding of this Story of being not good enough, I don’t want to minimize the grip it can have on us. This belief is created and reinforced in our experiences and the messages we receive. The pain it carries is real. A belief held for decades won’t disappear just by reading an article and answering a few journaling prompts.

What I hope, however, is that in bravely examining this belief we can begin to loosen the grip it has on us. It is powerful to be willing to question a limiting belief we’ve accepted as true.

You’ve already done big, beautiful work today. Let’s pause for a second and take a deep breath together.

Now as you go forward into the rest of your day, I’d invite you to try reframing that limiting story of I’m not good enough.

Maybe you want to go straight to something like:

I am good enough.

I am worthy.

I am awesome.

Great! Please do and let me know so I can celebrate that shift with you.

For some of us, however, that might feel like too much of a stretch. As much as I want to say encouraging and empowering things to myself, if I push a reframe too far it can feel like I’m lying. I don’t want to undermine my self-trust by telling myself things that I believe are untrue.

If this is you, what’s a reframe that stretches you a little bit without taking it so far that you can’t believe it?

I am willing to try.

There is good in me.

I am here.

Over time you may find that you can push your reframe further. Whatever you decide, let me know. I want to celebrate with you too.

Want to go deeper with what you started today? I’d love to support you.