The feeling of not being good enough can get quite a grip. It wreaks havoc with self esteem and can impact our relationships, work and overall ability to be content.
These feelings of inferiority often began in childhood, where significant others compared us to someone else’s achievements or performance. Social media has also played a role in emphasising this feeling, as we are exposed repeatedly to other’s heavily edited lives.
When we receive positive feedback, the feeling of not being good enough often temporarily, pleasantly subsides. However, it is just as quick to rear it’s ugly head again when something happens in our world that confirms the belief that we are not good enough.
So, how do we get a grip on it?
It is helpful to identify and understand what is really going on here, and that involves educating ourselves about the psychological concepts of the internal and external locus of control.
Internal and external locus of control
Someone with an internal locus of control believes that he or she can influence events and their outcomes.
However, someone with an external locus of control blames outside forces for everything.
So, an “internal” on hearing about about their promotion, might say to themselves “I worked hard for that role and it has paid off”, while an “external” might think, “It’s only because Joe left that they’ve given me the job.”
The problem with an external locus of control is that we are relying on external validation to make the negative feelings go away, which is unrealistic – we’re effectively at the mercy of others and their moods, whims or bad days.
So we need to come up with other ways to soothe ourselves when these feelings arise.
What helps when you don’t feel ‘good enough’?
- Celebrate every win, and I mean every single, trivial one – don’t dismiss them.
- Remind yourself of what was happening when you felt better.
- Avoid social media if you’re feeling a bit vulnerable, don’t end up on it aimlessly scrolling.
- If the feelings are sticking around, talk to a therapist, you might just need a bit of extra help to understand what is causing this to stick around.