What do I do when I don't feel like I am enough?
What do I do when I don't feel like I am enough?
That is a wonderful question because it affects so many of us! The first thing I want to tell you to give you some comfort is: you are not alone with this! Many people feel that they are not enough. But wait a second, what does this actually mean?
This feeling is probably not about not being good enough at math or about not being good enough to join a sports team. It is about a much more profound type of feeling of (not) being enough. The question relates probably more to you as a person. Are you valuable, lovable, and loved as a human being? Well, let’s be honest, this question can only be answered by shouting out “Yes” very loudly. Thankfully, we all agreed on human rights in 1948, and by extension that every human being is valuable no matter what. Yet many people still feel in their heart that they are not enough.
Let me ask you something: what expectations do you think you have to live up to? Maybe you think that you have to do something great to be worthy of being loved. Or you think that you have to be extra friendly and patient so you are considered worthy of being associated with. Where do these expectations come from? There is surely no one standing next to you who is constantly whispering them to you. It may be that you went through some childhood experiences that made you feel that you are not enough. Maybe you also had experiences later on which left you with this feeling. And at some point, this deep conviction, this kind of inner voice, developed: your self-doubt, also called “inner critic”.
I want to invite you to get to know your “inner critic” from a different perspective. If you took your self-doubt completely seriously and literally, would you agree with it? I’ll give you an example: you often think that you are dumb and that you can’t get anything right. Is that actually true? Have you really never, ever, not once in your life gotten anything right? Be honest, of course you get things right! And do you know anyone who ALWAYS gets everything right? Exactly. Examine your self-doubts and then put them into perspective: “This time I didn’t succeed. This decision/this action was dumb. I will do it differently next time.”
A key to finding inner peace is being kind to yourself. Well this is tricky because the next time your inner critic’s thought suddenly hits you (literally!) you might be tempted to beat yourself up, thinking: “I’m criticizing myself yet again!” And then you fall again into this pattern of self-deprecation. But this is about making peace with yourself. It is about stopping the war against yourself. War has never been stopped by making war but by the stopping of fighting it. Choose to stop fighting your inner war against yourself. The next time you catch yourself beating yourself up about something, you could apologize to yourself and forgive yourself instead. Try it!
There is also another key to gaining trust in yourself. Ask yourself: what is the worst thing that could happen? I assume that you respond with: I could be rejected by other people. This is one of the basic fears that we as humans can have. We want to be part of a community and we want to be loved. Humans are social animals, and from an evolutionary point of view, we need others to survive. Okay, but what does this mean for you? Basically, this is about building up trust in yourself, so you feel that even in the worst case, i.e. if you were to be rejected, mocked, ridiculed or laughed at, you would know how to handle it. I can’t promise you that you will never experience such situations, but I can promise you something different: it won’t kill you! I can already imagine how many “but’s” are now in your head as well as reasons why you think it would still kill you - emotionally, at least. Okay, but what would the alternative be? Let’s ignore the “but’s” for a minute and let’s try out the following thought experiment:
If the feeling of not being enough dominates your life, then you probably know some of the following behaviors. It is hard for you to say “no”. You aren’t taking enough time for yourself and the things you would like to do. You’re being taken advantage of. You’re not able to stick to the boundaries you have set for yourself. You don’t voice your opinion, especially if you fear someone could be offended. You avoid conflict. You tend to allow others to decide for you, even if it concerns your own life, etc.
If you choose to continue this pattern of behavior, then you don’t need to face your fear of rejection head-on, but you have to play-act instead. The crazy thing is that this could even backfire on you because it’s probably really exhausting for others when you don’t say what you want and when you don’t want to make any decisions. What do you think now? Which method will make you unhappier in the long term?
I want to encourage you as much as possible to step out of the mainstream and swim against the current once! Find out what the first step is, no matter how small, which allows you to withstand your fear of rejection and to direct yourself against the current. You will be surprised that other people will even find it attractive when you stand up for what you believe in, when you know what you want, and when you take the lead sometimes.
Go for Gold & be blessed,
About the Professional
Lisa is a certified life coach and counselor with a passion for art and design. She launched her own coaching business called “Verbesserlich” - www.verbesserlich.com - which is based in Vienna. Lisa loves to study so she is also currently enrolled as a student of psychotherapy at the University of Vienna. She cannot wait to put all of her coaching ideas, courses and knowledge into practice and to help people in Vienna and Austria. She is looking forward to helping especially those who are unsure of what they want to do with their lives, who feel stressed and need a (new) direction in life.
Lisa lives in a loving and fulfilling relationship with her girlfriend. In her spare-time she runs a group called “Zwischenraum_Wien”, which is intended for people of the LGBT+ community who are being discriminated against by their church.