Did you know that your mind can trick you into thinking that you're not good enough? While this sounds pretty awful, it happens all the time. The amount of people that are faced with self-doubt on a daily basis is likely larger than you think.
This article is here to let you know that you're not alone. In fact, I want to show you the most effective methods to counter your persistent self-doubting habits. So the next time your mind tricks you into thinking you're not good enough, you can use these tactics to fight back these unsupportive thoughts.
Because the truth is that you are good enough, no matter what you think. Your mind is just not telling you. This article will hopefully show you how to actually feel good enough too.
- Do you consider yourself to be good enough?
- The importance of a positive self-image
- How to remember that you are good enough
- Wrapping up
Do you consider yourself to be good enough?
We all want to be the best version of ourselves, right?
Well, before we go ahead and dive into the actual bulk of this article, I want you to think of this question first:
How do you view yourself currently?
I believe that whenever we are facing something difficult, we should look toward our inner selves first.
According to science, we make decisions 35,000 times a day. That's a lot of potential influence that your current state of mind can have on your life.
Imagine stepping into your own mind, asking it what you should do next, only to find negativity and self-doubt such as:
- I am not good enough.
- I don’t matter to the people I love.
- I’ve failed before and I might fail again.
- I won’t be able to face it when something goes wrong.
- I’d rather play it safe.
Surely, it won’t help you maximize your true value and become the best version of yourself, right?
But more often than not, we are our own worst critics. In the US, social anxiety disorders are extremely common, affecting 40 million adults each year.
The importance of a positive self-image
This is why it's so important to think positively of yourself. We can't control what happens around us, and we can't always help it when things don't go our way.
When shit hits the fan and things start to go South, you don't also want to be your own worst critic.
Self-talk can drastically impact our attitudes, behaviors, and how we relate to other people.
In a study conducted on secondary school-aged adolescents, it has been found that negative self-talk predicted loneliness, especially if it involves a socially threatening mentality.
On the other hand, positive self-talk can help with enhanced performance and self-esteem.
This all comes down to the simple reality:
Part of you will believe what you tell yourself. Your subconscious mind, for better or for worse, will drink in all information like a sponge. Including whatever nonsense you tell yourself.
It also does not differentiate well between reality and the imaginary. This is why you can wake up sweating from a nightmare or feel your nerves prickle and your heart rate increase during a tense moment in a film.
It’s also why you can feel anxious about something that has not happened yet or happened in the past. You react emotionally in real life to things that are only being conveyed to you, even if by you.
This is also why telling yourself you’re bad at something will make you feel bad, make you worse at it than you actually could be, or avoid it altogether. Part of you believes what you are told instinctively.
Fortunately, this works both ways and is the reason things like positive self-talk, hypnotherapy, and mantras can have a positive effect even if you don’t believe they will.
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How to remember that you are good enough
Embracing the notion that you are good enough can be challenging. Everybody struggles with this concept every once in a while, including yours truly.
If you're like me and could need some help to remember that you are truly good enough, here are 7 methods that have helped me most.
1. Know that your mind can trick you
Humans are incredibly biased. And that's not something that's necessarily bad. We're not robots after all.
But as we just discussed, we tend to believe anything our mind tells us. Even if it's totally irrational and false.
Therefore, it's really important to know how some of these human biases can work against us. Our minds can actually trick our perception of reality, which can damage our confidence and happiness as a result.
Here are some biases that you may not have heard of before, and how they can trick your mind into believing that you are not good enough:
- Negativity bias: Things of a negative nature have a bigger impact on your mental health than similarly positive experiences. In practice, this can lead to a disproportionate amount of self-hate.
- Imposter syndrome: This is actually the opposite of the well-known self-serving bias. The imposter syndrome helps you believe that you are personally responsible for your failures and that your successes are just a result of luck or being carried by other people. This results in a strong belief that you are not good enough.
- The Dunning-Kruger effect: The more knowledgeable you are about something, the more you realize you actually don't know. As a result, you're less confident in yourself, even though you are probably the expert.
Knowing about these biases makes us better able to fight them. For example, if you're prone to feel like an imposter at work, here's an article about how to beat it.
By getting to know these biases, we are better equipped to prevent these human flaws from affecting our self-image in the future.
2. Talk to yourself as though you were your own child
One way to inspire better self-talk is to talk to yourself as though you were your own child, or a loved one.
Imagine how you would react if your best friend told you that she doesn't find herself good enough.
What would you say? Surely, you would disagree and say that your friend is more than good enough!
If they told me they thought they were hideous I’d tell them how much of a drop-dead gorgeous mega babe they were, and to never ever think differently. If they told me they were untalented or unworthy of something, I’d tell them that they were very talented and clever and that they deserved the world.
This is the sort of support, encouragement, and love that you should show yourself. Nobody's stopping you from talking positively about yourself, so why should you?
3. Remember your strengths
Here comes a tip that you can get to work on right away.
A simple way to think of yourself as good enough is to grab a pen and paper and list all your strengths. What are you good at?
Be honest and don’t go for the easy answer of “nothing”. If you need help, ask people close to you where your strengths lie. Keep that list somewhere safe and refer to it in times of self-doubt.
Also, note how I wrote “good”, not “excellent” or “perfect”. You can be good at something and still occasionally make mistakes. Just think of your favorite sport and how even the absolute tops still make mistakes.
As an example, here are some things that I consider myself to be good at:
- Sudoku puzzles.
- Doing repetitive tasks without complaining (I actually find some of them relaxing!)
- Following a plan.
These are all things that I'm not the best at. I personally know different people that are better at each of these items than me. Hell, I even consider myself a good driver even though I totaled my car once in the past.
But I still think I'm good at these things. And by listing these things, I'm reminded of why I am good enough as a person.
4. Leave the past behind
Even though I totaled my car in a highway accident once, this doesn't stop me from thinking I'm a good driver today.
While this may sound like a ridiculous example, it really helps to prove my point.
Even though I made mistakes in the past, that doesn't stop me from being a good person in the future. You need to remember the same thing.
One study from 2009 examined the relationship between regret, repetitive thought, depression, and anxiety in a big telephone survey. Not surprisingly, they found the following conclusion:
Both regret and repetitive thought were associated with general distress, [but] only regret was associated with anhedonic depression and anxious arousal. Further, the interaction between regret and repetitive thought (i.e., repetitive regret) was highly predictive of general distress but not of anhedonic depression nor anxious arousal. These relations were strikingly consistent across demographic variables such as sex, race/ethnicity, age, education, and income.
In other words, if you’re constantly spending time thinking about what you should have done in the past, it is likely that it’s distressing your current outlook on life.
A great way to stop living in the past is to practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about being in the present and not letting your thoughts run amok. Practicing mindfulness daily will help you let go of worrying over the past and the future, and focus on the here and now.
As a result, you'll be more likely to realize that you are good enough. Past mistakes shouldn't determine whether you or your actions are good enough today or tomorrow.
5. Let go of perfection
As we've covered in the intro of this article, it's really easy to find negative things in our lives. There are tons of human flaws that our minds use as fuel to persuade us to feel bad about ourselves.
But if you happen to be a perfectionist as well, then you're even more prone to this!
To that, I want to say:
I don't know who came up with this, or when it was first used. All I know is that it's something that we should always remember. Nobody is perfect, so why should we judge ourselves as if we should be?
In fact, you shouldn't even think of yourself as a finished product. Realizing this makes it easier to accept your flaws and quirks.
You can change your language to reflect this. Instead of saying “is” and “am”, say “may be” and “could be”. As Shelley Carson and Ellen Langer write in their paper about self-acceptance:
The very act of replacing the certainty of convictions with the possibility that things ‘‘may be’’ truly opens up the possibility that things may not be as one currently interprets them. This, in turn, creates a mindset open to personal change and acceptance.
This is one of the steps that's discussed in our article about self-acceptance, which shares some of the methods with this article.
6. Don't compare yourself to others
Just as it is important to not hold yourself up to impossible ideals, so is not holding yourself up in comparison to others.
Everyone has different good (and bad!) attributes. It's easy to compare your own work with the work of your co-workers. But if your conclusion from this comparison is that you're not good enough as a person, then that's wrong.
Yes, on the surface, that colleague of yours may seem successful, but you don’t know her life story.
When you find yourself trying to make another unfair comparison, I want you to remember the previous list of strengths or think back to yourself a year ago. Have you grown since then? Yes? Now that’s a good comparison. When you’re comparing yourself to your past self, then you’re actually comparing apples to apples.
We've written an entire article about how not to compare yourself with others. This is filled with more tips on how to not hold yourself up to the image of others.
7. Be grateful
Once you’ve seen the good in you, the final step is to be grateful for it.
When it comes to appreciating how good you actually are, gratitude is the cherry on top; it’s the red ribbon that wraps up the best present that you can give to yourself.
- Thank your body for being strong and being a testament to what being human is like.
- Thank your mind for being resilient despite your anxious tendencies.
- Thank your heart for having so much room for compassion even when people have hurt you.
It turns out there are lots of things to be thankful for!
When you show gratitude towards yourself, it makes the experience even more rewarding. Honestly, thank yourself just for existing (as you would to a loved one!) Feels nice, doesn’t it?
You are good enough, and you should try to be thankful for the things that you're good at!
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If you made it all the way down here, I want to thank you for your time! By now, you should know a trick or two to help you realize that you are good enough. Don't listen to your crappy mind tricks, focus on the positives and be grateful for it!
Now I want to hear from you! Is there a tip that you want to share? Or do you just want to share why you think you're more than good enough? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!