I’ve spent a large portion of my life believing I wasn’t worthy of any opportunities I was given. I considered myself inferior to everyone around me, even when my loved ones were doing their best to make me see that it wasn’t true.
Even now, I sometimes find myself wondering: why am I not good enough? If you often ask yourself the same question, perhaps we can get to the bottom of it together.
Self-Hatred and Other Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem
Ultimately, low self-worth comes from seeing a twisted version of ourselves that only exists in our minds. We view that person as the worst friend, sibling, child, or partner, and we judge them for it. It’s enough to make us wonder why anyone would want to be around us.
Needless to say, when you think the worst of yourself, each day can be torturous. Worse still, the feeling can quickly spread to other aspects of your life as well. For example, it can leave you prone to self-doubt, self-deprecation, even self-harming behaviors. So let’s examine these consequences more closely.
1. Seeking External Validation
Overall, negative self-perception can make us spend our lives trying to make up for our perceived deficiencies. Since we think so little of ourselves, we have to seek validation from external sources. That can lead to the development of people-pleasing tendencies, which can include an increased tolerance for abuse and fear of sharing our honest opinions.
2. Codependent Attachments
Furthermore, people with low self-esteem often try to prove their worth by attempting to fix other people’s problems. They might want to become indispensable to them so they could never be abandoned or replaced.
But unless they’re lucky enough to attach themselves to a kind person, that relationship can quickly become toxic in more ways than one. After all, these kinds of codependent relationships aren’t often based on healthy boundaries.
3. Career Implications
All these symptoms can even affect our ability to do our jobs well, notably by making us incredibly sensitive to criticism. Still, people-pleasers usually excel at their jobs, even though they inevitably end up thinking that they’re not doing enough. Despite working to the point of exhaustion, they end up feeling like they haven’t contributed in a significant way.
These feelings are all understandable results of a feeling of low self-worth. But where do they come from?
Why Am I Not Good Enough? The Origins of Distorted Self-Perception
Unfortunately, I still have days when I wake up asking myself: why am I not good enough? After going through years of therapy and countless self-help books, I take comfort in the fact that I now understand the origin of these feelings.
If you’re looking to improve your skewed self-image, you should start by finding where it all began. Once you find that thread and start pulling, your negative self-perception will begin to unravel. Only then will you be able to heal the scars it left behind.
Most people start developing their sense of self in their childhood. So the development of a negative self-image usually starts then too. Often, it’s a consequence of growing up in a dysfunctional family without being able to rely on your parental figures.
How to Improve Your Sense of Self-Worth
If you’re like me, that question we started with still haunts you. Why am I not good enough? More importantly, how can I become worthy? Well, here are some tips that may help you understand your intrinsic value.
1. Practice Empathy Toward Yourself
One of the most important things you can do in this instance is to stop yourself from engaging in negative self-talk. Even if you think that you should be doing more, you have to realize that you’re doing the best you can with what you have.
In general, you should try to be much kinder to yourself and avoid listening to your inner critic. One way to do that would be to journal in the third person. Alternatively, you could also write a letter to your inner child. Both exercises may help you take a step back and look at yourself with more compassion.
2. Work on Yourself
Of course, being accepting and understanding of yourself shouldn’t stop you from taking steps to improve. But will it help you on your journey to completely abandoning the question of why am I not good enough? Certainly. So if there is an area in your life you’d like to work on, do it.
Most importantly, don’t waste time comparing yourself to other people, especially on social media. After all, most people change their reality to present it in the best light for their friends and followers, anyway.
In any case, if you’re often unhappy after browsing the internet, limit your time on social media. Or, if you can’t do that, at least curate your feed by muting, blocking, or unfollowing negative influences.
Now is also the perfect time to cut off or limit your toxic real-life relationships as well. Or, if it’s a more complicated issue, you can try to heal them instead. But trust me, once you realize your value, spending time with those who don’t deserve you will be insufferable.
3. You’re Good Enough to Try
I know: you’re afraid of rejection and criticism. You don’t want to be left behind by the people you love. These are normal emotions, even for people who don’t struggle with feelings of inadequacy. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go after the things you want.
I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked myself: why am I not good enough for this job or this person? Rejection hurts — unless you shift your mindset. After all, isn’t failure proof that you were brave enough to go after the thing you wanted?
Soon enough, you’ll start feeling more deserving of the opportunities that come your way, which will allow you to pursue them wholeheartedly!
Build Up Your Self-Esteem From the Inside Out!
If you have low self-worth, you may struggle with accepting compliments. That’s because you have to build your self-esteem from the inside out. You have to acknowledge the better sides of your personality, body, or whatever else you may be struggling with before you allow yourself to believe other people’s compliments.
Take some time to say or write your affirmations, especially if you’re still surrounded by toxic relationships. The next time you find yourself questioning your worth, get a piece of paper and write down five things you love about yourself. If you have to, go into the tiniest details — the curve of your eyelash, the way you handled a difficult phone call, or the fact that you got out of bed today.
Each time you think badly of yourself, add a new item to the list. That will force you to think of yourself in a positive light even if you’re not feeling particularly charitable. Hopefully, these kinds of exercises can start you on your journey toward self-love and forever silence the part of your mind that asks: why am I not good enough?