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  • Writer's pictureAmy Smith

Breaking Free from the Shackles of "Not Good Enough": Unravelling the Struggle and Finding Empowerment

In a society that often emphasises comparison and achievement, it's not uncommon to grapple with feelings of inadequacy. At some point in our lives, many of us have battled with the persistent feeling of not being good enough. It's that nagging voice that questions our abilities, worth, and place in the world. The struggle with such a negative belief can permeate various aspects of our lives, impacting our relationships, career aspirations, and overall sense of well-being. But why do so many of us grapple with this emotional struggle? In this blog, we'll delve into the reasons behind this common phenomenon, its causes, the profound impact it can have, and most importantly, how to break free from the grip of feeling inadequate.

What Comes Along with Not Feeling Good Enough?

Not feeling good enough often encompasses a range of thoughts and emotions, including self-doubt, perfectionism, comparison, fear of rejection, and imposter syndrome. These feelings often stem from a deep-seated belief that one's worth is contingent upon external validation or achievement.

Why Do People Feel Like They Are Not Good Enough?

The feeling of not being good enough often arises from a complex interplay of internal and external factors. Some common reasons include:

1.       Negative Early Experiences: Early experiences, upbringing, and interactions with parents/caregivers and peers can shape our self-perception and impact our sense of worth. Childhood experiences, such as criticism, neglect, unrealistic expectations or being the victim of bullying, can lay the groundwork for low self-esteem.

2.       Negative Self-Talk: The above negative early experiences can lead to the development of a strong inner critic which can be harsh and unrelenting, feeding us a steady stream of self-doubt and negative thoughts.

3.       Perfectionism: Striving for perfection can create an unattainable standard, leaving us feeling like we'll never measure up to our own expectations.

4.       Fear of Rejection: The fear that others will reject or judge us can make us doubt our value in social and professional settings.

5.       Societal Pressures and Comparisons: Societal norms and expectations can set unrealistic standards for success, happiness, appearance, and achievements that we compare ourselves against. This can leave us feeling inadequate when we don't meet them.

What is the Impact of Not Feeling Good Enough?

The consequences of not feeling good enough can be profound, affecting various aspects of our lives:

1.       Mental Health Difficulties: Persistent feelings of inadequacy can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.

2.       Relationships: Believing we're not good enough can lead to difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships, as we might question our worthiness of love and connection.

3.       Career: In professional settings, the fear of not measuring up can lead to stagnation, missed opportunities, and reluctance to pursue our goals.

How do I Overcome Not Feeling Good Enough?

1.       Explore the Origins: Try to reflect upon why you have developed the belief you are not good enough. Then when this belief comes to your mind in everyday life remind yourself that you have unfairly developed this belief which is why this belief has entered your mind rather than it being true that you are not good enough.

2.       Challenge Negative Thoughts: Identify then actively challenge and reframe negative self-talk. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion and kindness. Attend to the evidence that exists that shows you are good enough. Question any evidence you give yourself for supporting the belief you are not good enough; is it good evidence (probably not!)?

3.       Defuse from Negative Thoughts: Acknowledge the thoughts without engaging with them, label them as just a thought, and thank your mind before redirecting your focus back to the present moment and the task at hand. Using humour can also help to defuse from thoughts e.g. if the self critical thought of ‘I’m not good enough’ enters your mind, say to yourself “I love telling myself the ‘I’m not good enough’ story, cheers brain but I am not going to buy into it anymore”.

4.       Practice Self-Acceptance: Embrace your flaws and imperfections. Understand that no one is perfect, and your worth is not defined by external achievements.

5.       Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals that reflect your own values and desires, rather than trying to meet unrealistic standards set by others.

6.       Limit Social Media Comparisons: Be mindful of comparing yourself to others on social media. Remember that what's portrayed online is often a curated version of reality.

7.       Seek Support: Open up to trusted friends, family, or a therapist about your feelings. Their perspective can provide valuable insights and support.

8.       Celebrate Progress: Celebrate even the smallest victories and successes, don’t downplay these, watch out for your mind trying to do this! Acknowledge your growth and efforts along the way. Notice your tendency to focus on the negatives i.e. what didn’t go so well, what went wrong, and instead focus on the positives. At the end of the day try writing down some positive things that happened that day, no matter how small.

9.       Mindfulness and Self-Care: Engage in mindfulness practices and self-care routines to cultivate a positive relationship with yourself and reduce anxiety. Notice how much time you are giving to activities that involve achievement. Try to shift your time and energy more towards activities that involve achievement less that can be more enriching (and less stressful!).

In Conclusion

The feeling of not being good enough is a common human struggle, but it's important to recognise that these feelings are not truths. By understanding the underlying causes, confronting negative thought patterns, and practicing self-compassion, it's possible to break free from the grip of inadequacy. Remember, you are worthy of love, happiness, and success simply by being yourself.


If you are struggling with low self worth and would like professional psychological support, please reach out for therapy with myself, Dr Amy Smith, a qualified Psychologist, by completing the webform below or emailing me at:

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