Do you ever scroll through social media feeling like you will never measure up to these flawless people and their perfectly curated lives? You will never be as thin, as great as a parent, will never love your spouse or parent the way these people seem to? How do they get their houses so clean, their hair so great and where do they find time to exercise so much, travel and read so many books? This feeling isn’t limited to online comparisons though, it can happen when talking to friends and thinking, man, they really seem to have their life together or seeing a parent deal with a toddler meltdown in public without loosing their @#$%%#!
The feeling of 'never being good enough' is something a lot of people struggle with, from career choices to relationships, to how we look, to how we clean, and, if left unchecked, can lead to crippling anxiety and this persuasive feeling that we are never going to be good enough, ever. While this thinking may be commonplace, it does not mean that it should be normalized or accepted without question. Because, spoiler alert, how can we ever be enough if our brains randomly reset the guidelines to being ‘good enough’ EVERY SINGLE DAY?
This constant feeling of inadequacy can stem from a variety of sources, parental pressures, peer comparison, performance-based value, and media influence. It can also arise from your own need for perfectionism.
How to Deal with the 'Never Good Enough' Syndrome:
1. Acknowledge Your Feelings: The first step in addressing any problem is acknowledging it exists. Recognize your feelings of inadequacy as valid but not defining of your worth or capabilities. Acknowledging this allows you to create space for understanding and change.
2. Seek Professional Help: If feelings of inadequacy become overwhelming or cause you to feel anxious, depressed, or even suicidal, seeking professional help is crucial. Therapists and counselors are trained to help you navigate these feelings and emotions and provide tools and strategies to cope with these feelings.
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3. Practice Self-Compassion: Practicing self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding as you would a friend or someone you love who is in a similar situation. It involves acknowledging that everyone, including yourself, makes mistakes and that it's okay not to be perfect.
4. Challenge and Change Your Inner Dialogue: The way we talk to ourselves matters. If you often find yourself thinking negatively, or having an internal monologue about yourself that is cruel, it is time to consciously change that dialogue. Instead of criticizing yourself for failing to meet the high standards you have self imposed, acknowledge your efforts and the progress you're making.
5. Set Realistic Expectations: The expectation to be perfect is not just unrealistic, it's also unhealthy. Ask yourself, where are these expectations coming from? Social media, TV, movies, influencers, friends, family? Are they real, are they obtainable? Instead, aim for growth and progress, not perfection.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences: The company you keep can significantly impact your self-esteem and self-worth. Surrounding yourself with supportive and positive people who encourage you, rather than bring you down, can significantly improve your feelings of self-worth. Also, monitor the media you watch and the people you follow. Follow accounts that are real, unfiltered and supportive. Follow real people, not influencers and if you want to follow a few unrealistic, fun accounts do so, but remember, the pictures and images are staged, filtered and retouched, it isn’t real life at all!
7. Practice Gratitude: Focus on what you have accomplished and the positive aspects of your life. When negative thoughts intrude your mind, reframe them, instead of “I am so out of shape, I look terrible!” edit them to “I have worked out consistently this month, I am doing something for myself and wow am I stronger!”.
The feeling of 'never being good enough' can be crippling, but it is possible to break free from its grasp. The path to overcoming this feeling requires patience, self-compassion, and sometimes professional help. It's essential to remember that everyone's journey is unique and there's no universal timeline for healing. The most important thing is to keep moving forward, one step at a time, towards a healthier, more positive perception of yourself. You are, and always have been, more than enough.
Food for thought:
How can I practice self compassion?
Why do I allow social media to make me feel bad about myself?
Why do I allow others to make me feel less than?
As always, thank you for your love and support,