Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I not good enough?”
If so, you might:
- Feel like nothing you do is “enough”
- Beat yourself up for past mistakes
- Feel like you’re not as “good” as other people
- Play down your strengths
- Feel like you don’t deserve good things
- Have anxiety about what you might do wrong
If you’ve internalized negative thoughts, you may be convinced you’re unworthy. You feel you can’t measure up to other peoples’ standards—or even your own. And you become lonely and disconnected.
But let’s set the record straight: you are enough. Right now. This fact has just been overshadowed by negative experiences and thoughts.
It’s time to clear all the smoke, so you can see who you are. My guess?
You’re someone who just wants to be happy. To love and be loved. To truly believe you’re “good enough” now, but also enjoy becoming the best version of yourself.
Please know these hopes aren’t far-fetched. They’re completely within your reach. That said, it’ll require serious inner work and consistent practice. But you’ll get there!
Start out with the five questions below, and you’ll soon realize you are enough.
1. When and Why Did I Start Asking, “Why Am I Not Good Enough?”
The last thing most of us want to do is explore our pasts, especially if they were painful. But sometimes, our pasts can help us understand how to best move forward.
Try to think of the earlier times when you asked yourself, “Why am I not good enough?”
Have you made mistakes you haven’t forgiven yourself for? Was your family tougher on you than they should’ve been? Have you been rejected, betrayed, traumatized, judged, or shamed?
These are strong words, and they yield strong reactions. Feeling not good enough can be one of them.
That feeling can rise up in us before we even know it’s there. And it can grow over time, if we let it.
Saying to yourself, “I’m not good enough,” can be an attempt to protect yourself from future pain. If you don’t believe you’re good enough, you won’t put yourself out there, and you’ll stay “safe.”
On the flip side, the fear of “I’m not good enough” can cause you to overextend yourself. As Marie Forleo says of perfectionism:
“Perfectionism at its core isn’t about high standards. It’s about fear. Fear of failure. Fear of looking stupid, fear of making a mistake, fear of being judged, criticized, and ridiculed. It’s the fear that one simple fact might be true: You’re just not good enough.”
It’s not easy to thrive when you don’t believe in yourself. When you think, “If only I could be this or do this, I’d be enough.”
My heart goes out to you, if you feel this way. I know from experience it’s not easy to uproot self-deprecating beliefs. But I also know from experience that you can.
You owe it to yourself to recognize the beautiful person you are. You deserve to live your life without resenting the people or experiences that hurt you. You’re entitled to love and acceptance now—especially from yourself. You are enough.
Discover the origin(s) of your negative thoughts, and stop the ripple effect. Reflect on your past experiences. Let go of the pain you’ve been harboring in the form of “I’m not good enough” beliefs.
Know that while your past may have influenced you, it need not define you. Your future is yours.
2. Would You Talk to a Friend the Way You Talk to Yourself?
How many friends would you have if you said things like:
“You need to lose weight.”
“Nobody really likes you.”
“You’re not good enough for that job, so don’t waste time applying.”
“That guy you went on a date with is too good for you, so don’t get your hopes up.”
None, I bet! Good friends don’t speak to each other like this. That’s because good friends want the best for each other. They encourage each other to branch out and go after their dreams. They compliment each other. They cheer each other on.
Shouldn’t we cheer ourselves on, too?
I get it: our minds often have a different plan. That plan has you thinking, “Why am I not good enough?” before you even realize it.
But just as we can avoid insulting our friends, we can avoid insulting ourselves. We just have to apply the same level of diligence.
The first step is becoming more self-aware. Check in with yourself throughout the day, especially if you’re feeling down. Are you saying some version of “I’m not good enough” to yourself?
For example, are you bummed because a first date didn’t turn into a second? Are you annoyed because you forgot to pick up your dry cleaning again? Are you frustrated because people want more from you than what you can give?
Before you conclude you’re unattractive, forgetful, and a disappointment to others, pause. If your friend came to you with the same conclusions, what would you tell them?
Probably that they’re attractive, interesting, smart, and don’t need to be everything for everyone.
Be kind to yourself. Be your own friend. And reassure yourself that you are enough.
3. Who Do You Surround Yourself With?
You control how you feel about yourself—no one else. That’s the good news.
That said, the people you spend time with can influence your feelings.
If you surround yourself with defeatists, you may begin to feel less capable. If you listen too intently to those who criticize you, you may begin to believe them. If you spend time with people who have a negative world-view, that could affect yours.
At the very least, negativity is a bummer!
If you have friends, family, partners, colleagues, or others who don’t want the best for you, take note.
Remember that any destructive judgments or critiques of you are often not about you at all.
They’re about the people who dish negativity out. It’s already in them, and they’re looking for somewhere to release it. Don’t let them release it onto you.
Consider whether your critics can become positive forces in your life. If so, share with them how they’re making you feel. Be understanding, and encourage open communication.
Impose boundaries moving forward. Share what is acceptable to you and what is not. If they can’t find it in their hearts to respect and appreciate you, it might be time to end the relationship.
You are the best judge of what you need, so long as you’re honest with yourself.
If you value the relationship, keep it. But don’t let it hold you back. Distance yourself from the aspects that could make you question, “Why am I not good enough?”
Self worth is number one. Surround yourself with people who have it and want that for you. After all, you’re all “good enough.” That’s something to celebrate together.
4. Do You Think You’re “Not Good Enough,” but Other People Are?
Don’t you hate when people try to put you into a box?
Like, if you have a tattoo, didn’t go to college, or don’t have the perfect relationship, you’re not “good enough?”
It’s not cool. And I get why you’re frustrated. But let’s flip the script for a second.
Do you ever feel like other people are better than you? Like they’re the gold standard, and you’re just not there?
If so, it’s like you’re saying they’re “good enough” and you’re not. But they don’t belong in a box either.
We are all “good enough,” and in that way we can’t be compared. We can’t be placed into the yes or no pile.
We’re all inherently valuable. That value cannot be measured by what we look like, who we date, how often we exercise, or what we have.
If you doubt this, ask yourself this instead: how could “good enough” ever be accurately defined? Let’s say to you, “good enough” means being beautiful, well-liked, and having a prestigious job.
Let’s say someone meets your criteria. However, they have critical parents, failed relationships, and no free time. Would that person feel like they’re “good enough?”
There is no singular definition of “good enough.” It doesn’t exist—no matter how hard we or society try to make it exist. You may think someone is good enough, and they disagree. You may think you’re not good enough, and someone may put you on a pedestal.
These comparisons waste energy. Instead, we should spend our energy on supporting each other as we try our best.
As Jimmy Connors, a retired American world No. 1 tennis player, said:
“I think my greatest victory was every time I walked out there, I gave it everything I had. I left everything out there. That’s what I’m most proud of. I can’t go win Wimbledon anymore, so if what I’ve done in the past is not good enough, let it go. Because I’m certainly not sitting around thinking about it.”
5. What Strategies Can I Use to Stop Thinking “Why Am I Not Good Enough?”
The phrase, “I am enough” sounds so simple. And yet, it’s not always easy to get there.
The questions in this post are a good start, but we could always use more help! Here’s what can help you stop thinking, “Why am I not good enough?”
- Remember thoughts do not always reflect reality. Just because you think you’re not good enough, doesn’t mean you aren’t. Sometimes, we need to train our thoughts before they ring true. Here’s a free cheat sheet to help with that.
- Share your feelings with loved ones, especially if they’ve gone through a similar experience. Most of us have thought, “Why am I not good enough?” In fact, it’s estimated that 85% of people experience low self-esteem. Lean on others for support, and support them, too.
- Instead of a vision board, make a “who I am now” board. Fill it with reminders of your strengths, kind words, and things that celebrate who you are. Whenever you think, “Why am I not good enough?,” your visual reminder will prove you wrong.
- 4. Journal. Write down how you’re feeling each day. Release any tension you’re feeling through your words. Replace any negative thoughts with positive ones. For more positive thoughts, write down things about yourself that you are grateful for. If you don’t have a journal, this daily positivity journal includes inspirational quotes, sections for practicing gratitude and affirmations, and more.
- 5. Therapy can also be helpful to address “I’m not good enough” feelings. Compassion-focused therapy addresses self-criticism and shame resulting from negative early life experiences. Client-centered therapy involves therapists doing reflective listening as people tell their stories. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people identify and change negative thought patterns.
- 6. Develop a growth mindset. Instead of seeing failures as proof that you’re not “good enough,” see them as opportunities for growth. Know you can blossom into the best version of yourself while being “good enough” now.
What strategies have worked for you? I’d love to hear in the comments!
It’s okay to ask yourself, “Why am i not good enough?” So many of us have asked this exact same question!
Collectively, we’ve endured difficult pasts and experiences. Ended relationships. Bombed job interviews. Failed to achieve goals. Been judged and bullied. The whole lot.
But the flip side (see, we’re practicing already!) is this: life can be happy and good beyond measure. You deserve all that it has to offer, and your future is in your hands.
Be patient as you work towards, “I am enough.” Truly believing this in your heart will take time and consistent practice. So please don’t get down on yourself if you don’t feel “good enough” immediately.
By asking yourself the above questions, a new path will reveal itself to you. A path that leads to “I am enough.”
I can’t wait for you to step out onto it!