If you are not feeling good enough, you are not alone. Many people struggle with self-doubt and insecurity.
However, if you feel inadequate on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to look within.
When you find out the root cause of your insecurities, you will know what exactly you need to do to increase your self-esteem.
‘Why Do I Feel Like I’m Not Good Enough?’ 5 Root Causes of Insecurity
1. You had authoritarian parents
Authoritarian parenting style describes high demands and low responsiveness. It means that authoritarian parents tend to set rigid rules, have high expectations, and be strict and unapproachable.
If you had such parents, you probably were criticized a lot as a child. You lived in the world of high demands and expectations and never felt good enough to meet them.
Your authoritarian mother or father could also compare you to other children, and those comparisons made you feel inadequate and inferior.
Authoritarian parents believe that this approach helps their child grow into a diligent, responsible individual. In reality, though, this parenting style is a sure way to kill a kid’s self-esteem before it’s even formed.
Whatever you did, your parents were never happy with your behavior and achievements. And this could be the main reason why you feel like you are not good enough as an adult.
2. You didn’t get enough parental love
Getting enough care and affection from your parents is a basis for forming a healthy self-image and attachment style later in life. Maternal love is particularly vital.
When your parents are emotionally unavailable or dismissive of your needs, you fail to develop healthy self-esteem. As a child, you are unable to see the whole picture. The only thing you realize is that your parents don’t love you. This is when feeling like you’re not good enough becomes the only option.
If you experienced neglect and had cold, uncaring parents, you grew up with a persistent feeling of being worthless. Deep inside, you probably still believe that you don’t deserve to be loved.
However, some children develop low self-esteem in healthy families too. Your parents might have been emotionally guarded. Such parents usually don’t praise their kids and don’t express their affection in any way, which also has a negative effect on the little one’s self-assurance later in life.
3. You have a history of bullying, abuse, or trauma
Similar things happen when a child goes through abuse or psychological trauma. If you had abusive parents or were bullied in school, you couldn’t make sense of why it happened. At some point, you started to believe that you deserved it.
Children lack the emotional maturity to understand that these kinds of situations are not their fault. As a result, these painful experiences evolve into distorted thought patterns about themselves, the world, and other people.
That’s why as an adult, you might still feel like you are worthless and inadequate. As a result, you may attract toxic personalities who take advantage of you.
If you are in a relationship with a manipulative person, his or her psychological games can easily leave you feeling not good enough for him or her.
4. You have deeply ingrained psychological complexes and unhealthy thought patterns
As a result of the negative childhood experiences discussed above, you can develop complexes and unhealthy thought patterns. They can also arise from mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
These thought patterns often pave the way for harsh self-criticism and self-loathing. This is when you beat yourself up for the most trivial faults and your inner critic whispers nasty things that leave you not feeling good enough.
Some examples of thought patterns and mental habits that ruin your self-esteem are:
- Fear of being judged and rejected
- Thinking that you will never reach success or happiness
- Being overly focused on your mistakes and character flaws
- Believing that you don’t deserve to be loved and respected
- Constantly comparing yourself to others and feeling inferior
- Believing that you have no right to put yourself first and do what’s best for you
5. You have overly critical people in your life
The people we surround ourselves with have an immense effect on our mental wellness. If the above reasons don’t apply to you, but you still feel not good enough, it could be that you have overly critical and judgmental personalities in your life.
When you share your thoughts with your friends just to find that they ridicule and criticize your aspirations, it has a toll on your self-esteem.
Spend time with these kinds of people on a regular basis, and you will start to doubt yourself, your achievements, and your whole life.
Even if you are a confident individual, hearing constant criticisms and nasty remarks in your address is a sure way to end up not feeling good enough.
Why Many Introverts Feel Like They Are Not Good Enough
Growing up as an introvert, I often felt like I was not good enough.
My teachers would encourage me to participate in group activities more often and socialize more. I would watch other children getting on with each other and wondered why I couldn’t do it too with the same ease.
Sadly, many introverts feel inadequate during childhood and later in life. Is their introversion to blame? No. Introversion is not a synonym of poor social skills or low self-esteem. It’s our extroverted society that leaves the quiet ones not feeling good enough.
From the school system to the workplace, things are tailored for extroverts. Children are forced into group activities while adults have to face constant team projects and office meetings.
The system neglects the fact that introverts are more effective in studying and working on their own. But the worst part is that society makes them feel inadequate because of their quiet nature.
As an introverted child, your parents and teachers might have compared you to your outgoing peers. Maybe you were said that you needed to become more sociable and friendly.
As a result, you got used to the idea that something was wrong with you and you needed to change. This is why many introverts have self-esteem issues.
What to Do When You Are Not Feeling Good Enough?
If you are prone to feeling inadequate, there are some techniques you could use.
1. Confront your inner critic
That nasty little voice in your head often does more damage than the most negative people around you. But the truth is that you don’t have to listen to your inner critic. Moreover, the things it tells you are nothing but lies.
If you are too self-critical, you often see faults where they don’t exist. To stop this damaging habit, you need to learn how to confront your inner critic.
Next time a self-deprecating remark pops up in your head, just tell yourself,
“No, it’s not true!”
For example, you forgot about your sister’s birthday and your inner critic tells you,
“What kind of brother are you? You are selfish and ungrateful!”
You could tell yourself,
“No, I’m a good person. I love my sister, and she knows it. I will call her tomorrow, and everything will be fine.”
The point is to practice self-awareness and confront your self-deprecating thoughts as soon as they arise. When you succeed in silencing your inner critic, you will soon notice that it doesn’t speak to you as often and as harshly as before.
2. Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations may sound like New Age mumbo-jumbo to some people, but they are more than that. They can be an effective tool for boosting your self-esteem. Studies have shown that affirmations help increase one’s self-worth.
When you are not feeling good enough, tell yourself a positive statement about yourself. You can make a list of such statements, giving the most emphasis to the aspects of yourself that need improvement.
Some examples include:
- I’m a good person
- I’m a decent human being
- I love myself and know my worth
- I deserve to be loved and respected
- I’m a capable and diligent employee
This method has worked wonders for me. Whenever I feel like I’m not good enough, I re-read my list of positive affirmations, and it helps me feel worthy again.
You can learn more in this article about affirmations for confidence.
3. Remind yourself of your achievements and good qualities
Following with similar logic, you can make a list of your positive personality traits, talents, and achievements. When you are feeling inadequate and being too harsh on yourself, re-read this list.
You can also pick a positive memory – it should be a moment of success, glory, and victory. For example, recall when you won your scholarship. How happy and accomplished you felt at that moment!
Relive these emotions as if they happened yesterday, and you will see how quickly you will feel good about yourself!
4. Don’t let other people ruin your self-esteem
You couldn’t confront your critical parents or teachers when you were a kid, but you are an adult now. You are not obliged to tolerate other people’s criticisms and deprecating remarks.
If there are judgmental and overly critical people in your social circle, distance yourself from them. Of course, it’s not always possible since these people often happen to be your parents or co-workers.
In this case, limit your interaction with them to the very minimum. At least, don’t share any personal concerns or plans with them.
These people obviously don’t accept you the way you are, so it’s pointless to open up to them. They won’t appreciate you no matter how hard you try to convince them that you are good enough for them.
5. Resist the urge to compare yourself to others
Whatever aspect of yourself you are trying to improve, self-control is what makes all the difference. The habit of comparing yourself to others is no exception.
Whenever you start to feel that someone else is more successful, attractive, or competent than you, you need to stop yourself. The point is to catch yourself making these kinds of thoughts.
For example, your boss praises your co-worker and you think,
“I wish I was like Dan. He will probably get a promotion soon, and I’ve been working in the same position for 10 years now.”
Now, tell yourself,
“I’m not Dan, and I don’t need to be like him. I’m competent and capable and I have all the necessary qualities to get that promotion.”
Remember That You Are Good Enough
No matter what you’ve been through, remind yourself of your worth as often as you can. Other people’s words and actions should never define your self-image.
Don’t let anyone – including your own inner critic – belittle you and your achievements. Work on increasing your self-esteem and you will soon forget what not feeling good enough is like.