“I am not good enough! “
How often do you get this thought that you’ve to be ‘better’ than what you are? You inevitably feel sad and may feel ashamed of yourself. You may procrastinate on pre-planned activities, such as booking a medical appointment or doing a presentation before your class or colleagues.
Can you stop or minimize the impact of “not being good enough”? You can start by trying to identify times when you hesitated to talk to a friend or colleague. You can do this by keeping an automatic thought record, as used in cognitive behaviour therapy: write down your feelings and behaviour.
For example: let’s say you decide not to shop at your neighbourhood store because you don’t want to meet your neighbours. Instead, you drive to a store an hour away to do your weekly groceries. Or you might start staying indoors and avoid leaving the house to avoid facing your “nosy” neighbours.
This avoidant behaviour has a “rebound effect” that leads to more frequent and intense suppressed thoughts. “The paradoxical effect of thought suppression is that it produces a preoccupation with the suppressed thought, a phenomenon termed the ‘rebound effect,'” says psychologist Daniel Wegner.
These negative thoughts affect your self-esteem. For instance, you fail to make the extra effort needed for self-care.
I have worked with clients where my role was for my clients to accept themselves as they are. Many times, the clients have missed important health checkups as they simply do not “have” the time to go to the doctor or keep their appointment for dental work. Instead, they brood and worry about their health and “blame” their spouse or their job for their deteriorating physical health.
What brings on feelings of inadequacy? A clinically depressed individual feels guilty for a long period; they feel worthless and hopeless. These are symptoms of depression the person has, which don’t match their reality.
Another instance is when you’ve to venture out of your comfort zone, you get thoughts of “not being good enough.”
Even though you may have “learned” to live with your negative thoughts, you can learn how to control your behaviours to minimize the impact.
The first step can be to identify the cognitive distortion or illogical error of an all-or-nothing thinking pattern, which leads to seeking perfectionism in all interactions. You blame yourself for any perceived imperfections. Such thoughts do not arise in one day. These thoughts are usually due to an accumulation of perceived rejection by loved ones or by peers.
The next step can be acceptance of one’s insecurities or developing empathy for self. You’re aware of the silent, inner voice that affects your social interactions. It leads to rumination and second-guessing.
Meditation and progressive muscle relaxation help you feel calm. The brain gets into a fight-flight mode when you believe that you’re facing a potentially threatening situation. Deep breathing helps to tame the amygdala, which becomes overactive when it perceives stress.
Even the usage of therapeutic interventions will not wholly eradicate the negative thoughts and feelings you may have about yourself. When you feel emotionally vulnerable, you feel sad and do not feel good about yourself. These emotions can be accompanied by physiological signs of stress, like dizziness or jaw pain. It is imperative to consult medical doctors to understand that these physical health symptoms are not because of any underlying physical health problems.
Having a plan to decrease your negative thinking impact will empower you to accept your shortcomings with a smile unconditionally. You’ll start believing that “not” being “good enough” is acceptable.
This article was published in the Telegraph-Journal.
The picture is from Mind Matters A.S. Consulting; https://www.facebook.com/mindmattersasconsulting/.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes and should not substitute for psychotherapy with a qualified professional