How to overcome low self worth and feeling 'not good enough'
I’ve probably spent well over 700 hours coaching people over the last few years and there’s one particular ‘issue’ that I hear time and time again.
It tends to not matter what they’ve already achieved, or what they want to achieve in the future, the same problem is being experienced across the board, by all sorts of people.
Typically the problem shows up in people’s careers, but it also very much appears in romantic relationships too, as well as other areas of their lives.
And the problem so many people experience is this:
Feeling ‘not worthy’.
Feeling ‘not good enough’.
And feeling like they don’t deserve love, money or success.
The impact of feeling this way is of course, unhappiness, habitual negative thinking, self sabotage, fragile moods that are impacted greatly by external circumstances or events, and frankly, like life is hard work.
What I also noticed is that the source of these feelings is always the same:
Always, ALWAYS, can these feelings be traced back either to particular events that happened or styles of parenting, in particular, parents who try to push their children to achieve more or better.
How these events impact us become ‘blueprints’ for our adult life.
Even Aristotle knew this, as evidenced with his quote:
“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”
Because our early years are incredibly formative for our personalities, identities, and beliefs.
Take for example the client I spoke with recently about this very given issue. I asked her:
“Were you ever told as a child that you weren’t good enough?”
“No, I was never told it, but it was implied, because my Dad had an obsession with me winning. I got more attention when I was winning”.
I agreed with her, that it was indeed implied, BUT, it had ONLY been implied BY HERSELF. Not her father.
The consequential result of the actions of our pushy parents is that children decide for themselves that they’re not good enough.
But not good enough for what?
And this conversation got me thinking further - why would so many children decide for themselves that they’re not good enough for love?
Human offspring are 100% dependent on their parents for their survival, pretty much up until the ages of their teenage years.
In fact, it’s suggested that this is the function and reason why babies look cute to us - to elicit our love for them and care for them - because they need us to.
So a child’s subconscious brain has to work out, ‘how can I ensure my parents will love me so that I can survive?’
And so when a well-meaning parent says something like ‘well why didn’t you come first?’, or ‘why did you only get 73%?’, the child interprets that as ‘not good enough for their parents love’, probably as means of trying to motivate themselves to DO better to GET that love (and care, and survival).
It’s no wonder then that feeling not good enough has such huge consequences for our daily enjoyment, because at a subconscious level, we are constantly in survival mode.
At this point it would be very easy to blame the parents. Indeed this is where most people get stuck, and often why years of therapy may expose the source of the issue but not actually do anything to cure it.
Indeed, if you are a parent, I would highly recommend being careful with the way you try to motivate and encourage your child to do better. Make it clear to them that you love them no matter what they achieve, AND help them to improve.
But if you are still that 7-year-old walking around in an adults body (i.e. dealing with the issue of not feeling good enough), then please understand this:
YOU are the one responsible for thinking you are not good enough.
AND you are INNOCENT in your reason for doing so.
You were just instinctively trying your best to survive.
And your parents just instinctively wanted the best for you.
Because they love you.
That which you are seeking, is already there.
You don’t need to be in survival mode anymore.
It’s time to TRHIVE.