“Why would you do that? Come on now, what’s wrong with you?”
“Do you really not know how to do that? Use your head! It’s common sense!”
“Use your head. It isn’t that hard to understand!”
“You shouldn’t be doing that. It’s not likely to happen/It’s impossible.”
All these phrases have one thing in common: they imply that you are not good enough. No matter what phrases you resonate with, or whose mouth it came out of, these crucial phrases could have an enormous impact on children when repeated over the span of their childhood.
The way you were talked to (as a child) will set the tone for the way you see yourself and talk to yourself as an adult. In life, all parents are doing the best they can with what they know, believe, and have learned. Unfortunately, there are some of us who had to grow up with comments like these that have impacted our self-esteem negatively.
I started to notice this pattern more prominently after moving out of my parent’s house to go to college. I had self-defeating thought patterns, essentially telling myself that I really wasn’t good enough for straight A’s, good enough to handle my money wisely, or good enough to know how to be an adult.
The older I got, the more I noticed how impactful these thoughts were. Before a job interview, finals week, or even a simple presentation, I would be filled with self-doubt and worry about simply not doing good enough, in whatever it might have been.
This thought pattern of not feeling good enough would spill over to all other areas of my life, as I projected my negative view of myself onto others.
At my job, I didn’t think my manager or my coworkers were doing their job well enough, so I thought, “Why even bother trying if they aren’t either?” My actions reflected my beliefs, and my work hours eventually got cut from four days to one day a week.
In school, I didn’t feel like what I was learning in college would be good enough to use in the real world, where it actually mattered. I decided not to try that hard in college, and was able to graduate a little under 5 years with a 2.5 GPA.
I didn’t think that my boyfriend at the time was good enough for me, because I had high and unrealistic expectations for him, as I once had placed on me when I was a child, and ended up breaking off a perfectly fine, almost 4-year relationship.
My schoolwork, professional work, and personal relationships we’re crumbling, simply because I didn’t think I was good enough. My expectations for others and myself were simply unattainable, leading me nowhere.
And this was all because I had believed what I was told growing up. I was basically told I wasn’t good enough for the simple chores done around the house, which led me to believe I wasn’t good enough to have good grades, which made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to be in a stable relationship, which made me believe I wasn’t good enough for so many other things in my life!
It was a terrible, and ongoing cycle, and still is to this day.
The difference is, I now know that I am good enough, and how to deal with my negative thought patterns in a more productive, less self-destructive way.
Here are the ways I cope with not feeling good enough:
This has helped me with my low self-esteem tremendously. When I start thinking about not being good enough, I realize that it’s just my brain coming up with all these hypothetical situations with absolutely no evidence. When I remember where I am in life (the present), it truly helps put everything into perspective, and helps me realize how far I’ve come in life.
I love to literally tell myself “I am good enough” because it feels right, and I know it’s true. Being able to tell myself this gives me the confidence to actually go out and prove to myself every day that I am truly worth it and good enough.
I make sure to eat healthily and take care of my body to ensure it is working properly and as it should. I notice that when I eat junk food is when I feel my worst, and begin to think more negatively than normal. When I treat my body, mind, and spirit love by taking care of my body the way I should, positive thinking comes a lot easier and a lot more naturally.
Forgiveness/Acceptance of Imperfect Self.
Sometimes, I’ll forget to take care of myself and catch myself thinking, falling back into old ways of thinking. It happens, I do my best to be patient and calm with myself. We’re human and not perfect. Rewiring/retraining yourself to change a belief that you’ve had during all the years you’ve grown up is a hard feat, in itself. Be completely and truly forgiving to yourself, and acknowledge your progress for simply trying. It will make it that much easier to continue your progress in helping yourself realize that you truly are and always be, good enough.