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The Psychology Behind Never Feeling Good Enough

And 9 definite ways to refocus your thinking and find the value in loving yourself

The Psychology Behind Never Feeling Good Enough by Elizabeth Kasujja

Marianne Williamson wrote:

In our natural state, we are glorious beings. In the world of illusion, we are lost and imprisoned, slaves…Our jailer is a three-headed monster; one head our past, one our insecurity, and one our popular culture.

Photo by Jameson Mallari Atenta from Pexels

I recall vividly the first job interview I had after graduating from the University. I was 21 years old. I had only applied for the job because I was trying to improve my skills in job application and polishing up my CV. Getting invited for the interview had not been a part of my plan. I did not have much experience in formal employment, and I knew I was not good enough.

After a series of remote interview sessions, I was invited for an in-person interview. The interviewers were warm and welcoming and did their best to make me feel comfortable. I struggled because the whole time I kept telling myself that I did not deserve to be there. I was not good enough. The feedback comment for my rejection was, “She does not believe she is good enough, why should we?”

If you are anything like me, there have been points in your life where you never seem to feel good enough. Maybe you also directly and regularly tell yourself: I’m not good enough. I’m not smart, skilled, capable, talented, attractive or thin enough. Maybe the question “Am I good enough?” is something that you ask yourself daily. You don’t pursue a promotion at work, or apply for available opportunities. You won’t get it anyway. You remain in unfulfilling relationships. It’s what you deserve. You let people cross your boundaries. Why would you stand up for yourself?


Maybe you don’t remember ever feeling good enough.


Do you ever wonder where that inner voice in your head comes from? The one that keeps reminding you that you are not good enough? Do you feel like you always give life your best, you work hard and sacrifice yourself for others, but still can’t give yourself credit? Are you constantly berating yourself and feeling like you do not measure up and that somehow you should be more, do better, achieve more?

According to psychology, this is not a feeling, rather a THOUGHT. The source of this thought is usually our inner critic. Even though the inner critic can be cruel, it actually doesn’t have ill intentions. Counter-intuitive as it may sound, your inner critic is trying to protect you. The inner critic is afraid about our survival. So when it is telling us we are not good enough, it is often trying to motivate us so that we survive.


Honestly, you can’t criticize yourself into a better version of yourself. And even though I know this, I sometimes still fall victim to my own negative thinking. Often, I speak rudely to myself or put myself down. I make a mistake, or fall short of my own expectations, and instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, I beat myself up about it.

I think you can relate. We’ve all been there. We all have bad days and moments of self-doubt.

Sometimes the pressure comes from peers, family, work, and society in general, and it is enough to make us feel completely broken inside. If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, etc, within a certain time frame, we assume we’re just “not good enough.” I hear about this kind of self-defeating mindset on a daily basis, and like I said, I am not immune either.


Now what?

Here’s how I handle it: Every time I catch myself thinking I’m not good enough, I immediately say out loud or write down a positive thought that debunks my negativity. I’ve been doing this for the past few months and it has made a huge difference in my life. I challenge you to do the same.

If you need some extra inspiration, here are some things I’ve come up with — 9 good reminders when you’re feeling “not good enough”:

1. Connect, do not compare

Comparison is the thief of all joy. We get so caught up comparing our own behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight moments. That is the reason why we sometimes struggle with insecurities. Remember that YOU are walking your own path. Ignore what others are doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life. Connecting with others can come from something as simple as a smile. Be kind, without being submissive. Don’t agree to things just so that you can avoid conflict and be accepted in the relationship. You can agree to disagree. Everyone has a right to their own perspective and opinion.

2. Talk to your inner critic

Your inner critic is made up of negative self-talk that you have heard over your lifetime and have internalized as truth. According to psychology, that little negative voice in your head actually has good intentions. It wants to protect you and keep you out of danger but has a negative way of going about it.

Retrain your inner critic so it shifts into a coach that can challenge you, without putting you down. Remember, if you don’t think you’re enough, you will deprive yourself of opportunities because you don’t think you’re worthy.

When I hear myself making these negative judgments, I catch myself and change it up to a supportive, positive voice instead. I find it oppressive whenever I “must”, or “should” or “have to” do, be or feel something. I empower myself by making it a choice. Every day is a choice. Choose yourself. Choose to tell yourself that you are good enough more often.

3. Your scars are a symbol of your strength

A scar is like a beautiful reminder that you are stronger than your wounds. It means that whatever hurt you has healed and now closed up. Be proud of the scars that life has left you with. They mean that you conquered the pain, you grew stronger, and you are still here. You may not be able to make your scars disappear, but you can adjust the light in which you view them. They are an indication of your strength despite the pain. Accept them, and appreciate the lessons you learned from them.

4. You are always good enough

There is a psychological phenomenon known as The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. We always perform in a way that is aligned with the way we see ourselves. And so, our thinking creates our results. And the less we value ourselves and our powers, the less power we have access to. The reverse is also true, the more we value ourselves, the more power we have. You are always good enough. You need to think it, and believe it. YOU ARE ALWAYS GOOD ENOUGH.

5. Failures are necessary in life

Failure, as much as it hurts, is an important part of life. Without failure, we would be less capable of compassion, empathy, kindness, and great achievement; we would be less likely to reach for the moon and the stars. It’s through failure that we learn the greatest lessons that life could teach us. Failure forges greatness. The failures that we all experience in life are what allows us to appreciate our successes. Failure provides context for even the most picture-perfect life. You really can’t know and understand success without first having failed — often many, many times. Fail fast, fail forward.

6. Everything is coming together for your own benefit

One of my favorite go-to verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28. It says all things work together for good for those who love the Lord. People who believe in the law of attraction also emphasize that everything that happens in the Universe, happens for your own benefit. This belief has served me well. Even when things seem tough, it helps to remember that it is all happening FOR me and not against me.

7. You do not need everyone’s approval, just your own

You are your longest relationship. The one person you have been with from the beginning of time, and will be with until the end of time, is you. Start listening more to who you are and less to what the world says you should be, want or do. You are enough. With all your flaws and imperfections, you are enough. You are not loved for what you do. You are loved for who you are. Having good personal boundaries is an effective way of loving and taking care of yourself. Stop seeking validation and approval from others. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself.

8. Never Give Up

Especially on you. Never give up on yourself. Keep trying. What seemed impossible yesterday could be possible today. During your journey, you are developing the necessary skills and resilience to open the doors for the opportunities you need to lead you to your destiny. Keep trying, and giving your best. You can achieve anything, depending on how much you really want it.

9. Love and accept yourself, unconditionally

Relinquish all your feelings of not being good enough to be great and renounce all slavery to your weakness. Stop focusing on your deficiencies and instead celebrate your amazing qualities. Just think about it: there’s no person on the planet today who has the unique stack of gifts that you have. Actually, in all of history, there’s never been even one person exactly like you. And there never will be.


I finally landed a job. I learned that I needed to believe in myself more, stay open-minded and attuned to opportunities, and keep telling myself I am good enough.


Itis your turn. Embrace the full force of your lavish talent, luminous strengths and breathtaking powers. And always remember, you are enough. You are good enough. Remind yourself every time you catch yourself being negative towards yourself. Trust the process.

You will get there.

And now, your thoughts and insights…

What makes you feel like you are “not good enough”? Which of the points above do you resonate with most? Share by commenting below.

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