How to deal with the feeling of not being good enough


No matter how successful our life may look or feel, if there’s something we are always going to struggle with it is the feeling of not being good enough. We might have excellent grades in school, a full-time job, have loving friends and a long-term partner but from time to time the idea that we’re not good enough can come to dominate our minds. “I’m not good enough for the job”, “I’m not attractive”, “I’m not very popular” or “I’m not enough for my girlfriend/boyfriend” are just some of the ways that this feeling can show up and have a huge impact on how we think, feel and behave.

 The feeling of not being good enough can lead people to develop what is known as the “impostor syndrome”. With this people question all their achievements and convince themselves that they’re a fraud about to be caught out at any time. To make matters worse, we can also start thinking that everyone around us is so much better in what they do. Social media seems to just amplify that everyone else is having a better life than us and perhaps causing us to think“she has a much better job than me”, “Look at their family, they are perfect together; that’s nothing like ours”, “I will never be like him/her”. This is probably something you can relate to.

Our inner critic can be so loud that it can completely paralyse us. When this happens, we may begin to accept it as a true representation of reality, with the result that we stop doing what we truly care about. You can probably remember a time when you didn’t do something because your “not good enough” thoughts showed up.

If we are interested in developing ourselves and creating a meaningful life, we need to find ways to deal with these thoughts before they paralyse us and prevent us doing what we truly value in life.

So what would be an effective way of dealing with those thoughts?

  • Recognise that old ways of dealing with it don’t work


When those thoughts showed up in the past what did you try to overcome them? Did you try suppressing them at all costs as if they were not there? Perhaps saying things, “get away”, “just stop”. You might have tried to avoid them by doing something that makes you feel better, to take your mind away for the unpleasantness. Binge eating and drinking, taking tranquillizers and watching TV mindlessly are common strategies that we all use. Or perhaps you tried to control the thoughts? Maybe using positive thinking, repeating affirmations, saying you are the most perfect person in the world, all in an attempt to counter those negative thoughts. Another common strategy is to avoid situations that relate to those thoughts. For example, if you think you are not good enough to find a partner, you might avoid meeting new people. Or if you think you are not good enough at your job, you might start avoiding some tasks and challenges that could lead to a promotion.

Just ask yourself: did it really work? Did those thoughts disappear? Are they no longer a problem? I would guess that they didn’t work for you, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article. Imagine how much valuable time you wasted in this attempt to rid yourself of these feelings. How long did you spend trying to control, suppress or avoid them?  What if you had used this time to build a life that has purpose for you? Would things be different now?

Step one is to recognise that common strategies don’t work. Once you realise that, you can begin to develop new skills that do work. The alternative steps presented here are all backed-up by science using a mindfulness-based psychological approach called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

  • Don’t fight with them – Accept that they are common and natural

To change our relationship with these persistent thoughts, we need to understand that our minds tend to operate automatically and that we have much less control over our minds than we imagine. If you want to test this, just try to stop thinking for 30 seconds or so. How did you do? Did you stop thinking? Or did you notice that thoughts seemed to come out of nowhere?

To make things worse, we have what psychologists call “the negativity bias” that makes negative experience more prominent than the positives. You can probably recall having a really good day, full of positive experiences but all that was needed to ruin it was one bad interaction with a work colleague or a message from your partner complaining about something you forgot. That bad interaction stayed with you for a long time. It’s understood now that our brains are hardwired like this to help us survive. In our early days as a species, paying attention to the negative was a matter of life and death. Remember it’s your mind trying to save you. And that is an important function of the human mind, but this mechanism can sometimes work against us.

If we can’t control our thoughts and they are almost automatic, what can we do?

What if, instead of trying to control, suppress and avoid them, you could just allow them to be? This is where acceptance comes in. When we accept our feelings, we simply allow them to be. We don’t fight against them and we don’t try to change them. Eventually, they will go away. An attitude of acceptance allows us to avoid spending precious time trying to control the uncontrollable and instead frees us to do what we care about despite the unwanted thoughts and feelings.

  • Don’t buy into your thoughts

Once we realise that thoughts are automatic and tend to carry an element of negative bias, we can start changing our relationship with them. There is a key difference between having a thought and buying into a thought. We have thoughts all the time, every day. They could be reminders of things we have to do for a job, a plan for how to spend the weekend, something to buy at the supermarket or they could be about the world or ourselves. That’s quite easy to understand, but how can one not buy into a thought? Imagine that your mind is like a shop offering a great variety of products. Some of the products you like, some you don’t, some are important to you as they help you live your life better, some don’t add much to your life but you still feel persuaded to get them. Just like visiting a shop, you don’t get to choose what products they offer. You may dislike that they have a big section of something you don’t find useful or even hate but it’s most likely that you’ll just see that, acknowledge it and you move on to get what you think is important. You can choose to engage with the products you believe are useful to you.

You can do the same with your thoughts. You may have some thoughts that you don’t like, some you love and some that you are neutral about. In the same way that you choose products in a shop, you can choose which thoughts to pay attention to. So if you see a thought that you don’t like, just acknowledge it, saying something like “ oh that’s a negative thought” and move on to the what is really important to you.

Another useful way to disengage from those thoughts is by creating distance from them. You can do this by saying things like “My mind is saying that I’m an idiot” or “My mind is saying that I’m not good enough for the job”. By doing this we can create some distance from our thoughts and reduce its impacts on us. We start seeing that the mind has its own ideas that don’t depend much on our will. It’s almost as it’s coming from someone else. And like when thoughts come from other people, we can choose not to get engaged with them if we don’t find the discussion meaningful.

  • Be more present

Be more mindful, live in the moment, practise meditation. These are familiar words we often hear, and for good reason. Usually, when we have a negative thought about ourselves, those thoughts tend to be about something in the past. We can’t just stop ruminating about them thinking things like “why did I do that?” “Why am I so stupid?”. Or they could be about the future when we imagine the uncountable ways things can go wrong for us, thoughts like “I’m sure she will leave me, I’m not enough for her” or “I’ll screw things up again in tomorrow’s presentation”.

If we stop to focus on what’s really happening at the moment, we would see that this uncomfortable feeling is coming just from our minds. There’s nothing currently threatening us. Our minds are creating this anxiety. So it makes sense to develop the skill of slowly moving away from what’s happening inside of our minds to what’s actually happening at the moment.

One of the useful ways to bring you back to the present moment is to use short reminders or prompts to make your attention move outwards. A good one is to ask from time to time “What is happening right now?”. By doing that you will acknowledge what’s happening and will slowly train your attention to the now. For example, you can say “I’m having a thought about tomorrow’s presentation” and “I’m sat on my desk doing some work” “ I can hear people talking in the next room”.

A closely related reminder is to pay attention to your surroundings using the “5-4-3-2-1” tool. Looking for 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 you can smell and 1 you can taste. That will help you disengage with your thoughts and will make you connect to what’s happening around instead of being lost in a spiral of thoughts.

  • Engage with what’s truly important to you

That leads us to the final point when dealing with thoughts that we are “not being good enough”. Whenever we engage with negative thoughts, we miss out on what’s truly important to us. The thoughts seem so real and powerful that we can get carried away by them and lose focus on our values and the kind of person we want to be.

Having a clear picture of what is meaningful to us and connecting with that is an effective way to reduce the impact of whatever our minds create. A good example of this would be of an athlete preparing for a prestigious competition. It’s almost certain that during preparation much doubt would emerge, making the athlete question her abilities. By connecting with the value of “courage” and “skilfulness”, this athlete would change her behaviour and focus on how important is for her to be brave in the face of difficulty and that she wants to be the kind of person that is always looking for ways to improve her skills. In the name of a “bigger cause”, her personal values, she can make space for any thoughts that may arrive. If you don’t have a clear picture of what your values are, ask yourself simple questions like “What’s really important” and “What do I want to stand for in life?”. Or, by imagining that you are having your 80th birthday party, and that at this party people will make speeches about you. What would you like them to say about you and your qualities? What kind of qualities do you most admire? Once you have clarified your values, use them to guide your actions in the world. Stop from time to time and just ask: “Is what I am about to do connected to any of my values?” “Is this the kind of person I want to be? Even if we are not athletes we can have these example in mind and ask ourselves “Am I willing to have these uncomfortable feelings in the name of something bigger?”

Written by:

Filipe Bastos
Founder of:
www.mindowl.org

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We find ourselves in our own world a lot of the time & lost in thought, even when talking to our loved ones, friends and colleagues. 💭

Mindful communication involves applying the principles of mindfulness to the way we communicate with each other, labelling our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to enhance our awareness. 

By being mindful about how we interact with others, we can become more empathetic, compassionate, and honest. 💗

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/mindful-communication/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #dailycalm #mindfulcommunication #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation We find ourselves in our own world a lot of the time & lost in thought, even when talking to our loved ones, friends and colleagues. 💭

Mindful communication involves applying the principles of mindfulness to the way we communicate with each other, labelling our thoughts, feelings, and emotions to enhance our awareness. 

By being mindful about how we interact with others, we can become more empathetic, compassionate, and honest. 💗

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/mindful-communication/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #dailycalm #mindfulcommunication #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 😊

If you want to be happy, practice compassion. 🤗

#quote #quoteoftheday #quotestoliveby #motivation #inspiration #inspirationquotes #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. 😊

If you want to be happy, practice compassion. 🤗

#quote #quoteoftheday #quotestoliveby #motivation #inspiration #inspirationquotes #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment
One of the first steps you need to take in order to begin enjoying the simple pleasures in life is to slow down. 😊

Take a moment to stop what you are doing. 🚫

1️⃣ Draw your attention to your breath (this will ground you in the current moment).

2️⃣ Notice your breath entering and leaving your body.

3️⃣ Next, firmly plant your feet on the ground and draw your attention to this sensation.

4️⃣ Keep your attention and awareness directed at the breath or your feet on the ground, any time it moves away draw it back with patience.

5️⃣ Continue on with your day. 

This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your life, you are simply making sure that your awareness is directed at the current moment. 🧘‍♂️

#presentmoment #selfawareness #innerwork #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment #emotionalintelligence #wellbeing #wanderingmind #quietthemind #meditationsoul #livinginthenow  #calmthemind #livemindfully #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #mindfulness One of the first steps you need to take in order to begin enjoying the simple pleasures in life is to slow down. 😊

Take a moment to stop what you are doing. 🚫

1️⃣ Draw your attention to your breath (this will ground you in the current moment).

2️⃣ Notice your breath entering and leaving your body.

3️⃣ Next, firmly plant your feet on the ground and draw your attention to this sensation.

4️⃣ Keep your attention and awareness directed at the breath or your feet on the ground, any time it moves away draw it back with patience.

5️⃣ Continue on with your day. 

This is a great way to introduce mindfulness into your life, you are simply making sure that your awareness is directed at the current moment. 🧘‍♂️

#presentmoment #selfawareness #innerwork #livinginthemoment #mindfulmoment #emotionalintelligence #wellbeing #wanderingmind #quietthemind #meditationsoul #livinginthenow  #calmthemind #livemindfully #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #mindfulness
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Whether it's sport, writing, drawing or even cleaning, flow states are a great reminder that mindful living doesn't always mean regular deep meditation - mindfulness is everywhere. 🍃

Read more ➡️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #mindfulliving Flow states are moments when you are deeply connected & engaged in an activity, and therefore living in the present moment. 🧘

Whether it's sport, writing, drawing or even cleaning, flow states are a great reminder that mindful living doesn't always mean regular deep meditation - mindfulness is everywhere. 🍃

Read more ➡️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #mindfulliving
There are a number of breathwork exercises that aim to make you feel more energised. 🏃

These types of breathwork include the Wim Hof Method, the 5-3-3 technique, and ‘Breath of Fire’. 🔥

Energising breathwork practice is far more healthy than using caffeine or sugar to liven yourself up. 🥤

So put down that cup of coffee, and give the incredible power of breathwork for energy a go. 💪

🔴 mindowl.org/breathwork-for-energy

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The art of effortless meditation is about stopping the search for "more" and instead focusing on what you already have. Stop worrying or waiting for something greater than what's happening right now. 💗

Wu Wei closely relates to the goal of effortless action. ✨

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/effortless-meditation

#mindfulness #meditation #innerwork #selflove #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #quietthemind #effortlessaction #artofdoingnothing
We understand selfishness as lacking consideration for others and being concerned only with personal gain and pleasure, yet doing the things which contribute towards a genuinely happy and meaningful life, can be intelligently selfish. 

Doing what's best for others is the same as doing what's best for yourself. ✨

This can be practiced through Tonglen Meditation, which helps cultivate an inner peace of mind by extending compassion towards others. 🙏

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #tonglenmeditation #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #dailycalm We understand selfishness as lacking consideration for others and being concerned only with personal gain and pleasure, yet doing the things which contribute towards a genuinely happy and meaningful life, can be intelligently selfish. 

Doing what's best for others is the same as doing what's best for yourself. ✨

This can be practiced through Tonglen Meditation, which helps cultivate an inner peace of mind by extending compassion towards others. 🙏

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

#meditation #mindfulness #peaceofmind #compassion #selfawareness #wellbeing #mindfulmoment #tonglenmeditation #quietthemind #selfacceptance #practicemindfulness #mindfulmeditation #dailycalm
Change is inevitable. It is important to focus on our relationship to change, one of the certain elements of life. 💭

To move with the fluctuation of life, change has to be embraced. We can choose to swim with the tide, or against it. 🧘

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #inevitablechange Change is inevitable. It is important to focus on our relationship to change, one of the certain elements of life. 💭

To move with the fluctuation of life, change has to be embraced. We can choose to swim with the tide, or against it. 🧘

#mindfulness #meditation #selfawareness #selfcompassion #innerwork #practicemindfulness #livinginthemoment #selflove #selfcare #mindfulmeditation #inevitablechange
There is so much more to life, so much to experience when we simply notice. Don't let life pass you by, be present and be human. 💗

#quoteoftheday #quote #quotestoliveby #mindfulness #meditation #mindfulmeditation #livinginthemoment #quietthemind #mindfulmoment #livinginthenow #selfawareness #inspirationquotes #inspiration #innerpeace There is so much more to life, so much to experience when we simply notice. Don't let life pass you by, be present and be human. 💗

#quoteoftheday #quote #quotestoliveby #mindfulness #meditation #mindfulmeditation #livinginthemoment #quietthemind #mindfulmoment #livinginthenow #selfawareness #inspirationquotes #inspiration #innerpeace
We live in such a busy and fast pace environment, that we look past the beauty around us. In every moment of life there is something to be grateful for, you just need to look to find it. 🌞

Slow down and appreciate the small things in life. This can lead to an overall feeling of contentment day-to-day. 

Write down three things you are grateful for every night before bed, and watch your life transform as you train your mind to see the positive in each moment. ☕️

#mindfulness #selfcareseries #meditation #gratitude #practicegratitude #mindfulsoul #mindfulmoment #peacefulness #selflove #selfcare #presentmoment #groundyourself #livinginthemoment #mindfulmeditation #reflection
It’s important to follow some practical steps when seeking to achieve an intentional life. 🏃‍♀️

Start by making more Towards moves, and less Away moves. Towards moves are healthy habits that align with the sort of person we want to be. 🤸‍♂️

Away moves are ineffective and unhelpful; they hook us to difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviours. 😔

Consciously implementing intentional living can help reproduce more towards moves. 🧘‍♀️

🔴 mindowl.org/intentional-living

#mindfulness #happiness #inspiration #intentionalliving #lifestyle #wellbeing #selfcare #mindfulmoment #presentmoment #innerwork #learn #practice #calmthemind #peacefulness #groundyourself It’s important to follow some practical steps when seeking to achieve an intentional life. 🏃‍♀️

Start by making more Towards moves, and less Away moves. Towards moves are healthy habits that align with the sort of person we want to be. 🤸‍♂️

Away moves are ineffective and unhelpful; they hook us to difficult thoughts, emotions and behaviours. 😔

Consciously implementing intentional living can help reproduce more towards moves. 🧘‍♀️

🔴 mindowl.org/intentional-living

#mindfulness #happiness #inspiration #intentionalliving #lifestyle #wellbeing #selfcare #mindfulmoment #presentmoment #innerwork #learn #practice #calmthemind #peacefulness #groundyourself
Tonglen meditation is a type of ancient practice focused on compassion. It is a type of visualisation that enhances feelings of compassion towards others. 😌

The word Tonglen is Tibetan for "sending and taking" which is exactly what this practice aims to do. It allows you to focus on the wellbeing of others, stepping away from the usual self-centred approach of our busy daily lives. 🧘‍♂️

Follow this exercise to cultivate the power of Tonglen Meditation. 

Find out more ➡️ mindowl.org/tonglen-meditation/

#meditation #mindfulness #compassion #selfawareness #meditationexercise #tonglenmeditation #innerpeace #quietthemind #meditationmoment #healing #wellbeing

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