The feeling of not being good enough is one that many people experience. It’s a general sense that you’re less than most, if not all, people, and it can be hard to shake off.
Whether you’re comparing yourself with your friends, colleagues, or strangers on the street, or even on social media, there will always be somebody who has something you don’t have and vice versa.
These 15 common reasons why you think you’re not good enough could be blocking your path to success.
Let’s take a look at them.
1) You focus on your flaws rather than make positive progress improving them.
Everyone has issues. Everyone makes mistakes.
While there’s nothing wrong with realizing and taking responsibility for your faults, you’ll certainly do yourself a lot of harm if you forget to appreciate all the good parts, too. If you only focus on your mistakes, this could lead to self-esteem and anxiety issues.
Remember, it’s easy to get discouraged when something goes wrong, but it’s also important that you have the skills needed to bounce back from slumping again fast.
The question isn’t whether or how many mistakes you’ve made in your life. The most important thing is how do you learn and grow from all past experiences.
In short, as long as you’re using positive self-talk and improving your skills on gaining confidence, it doesn’t matter that there are a few mistakes here or there. What’s important is how you handle yourself moving forward.
2) Because you ask other people for advice, you think they know what’s best.
If you keep asking for people’s opinions on how to be or do something, it could lead to over-reliance on others. And using someone else’s opinion to make decisions or choices isn’t always right.
Don’t get me wrong – asking for advice can be an effective way to get another perspective on certain situations and options. You can get a lot of help from family and friends in all kinds of areas when you voice your ideas to someone who’s been involved in your life for a long time.
It’s conversations like these that can teach us the best ways to learn and improve on ourselves.
While we can learn a lot from others, we also have to be careful not to over-rely on their opinions.
But you still have to take full responsibility for making your own choices.
By depending too much on others when it comes to decisions about your life, you forget about how much power you have in it.
And when someone makes an insulting comment about your life decisions, your self-esteem is reduced into pieces. And you start to think you’re not enough, not as smart or serving a purpose in this world.
The feeling of being inadequate is dependent on someone else’s opinion, and when your self-esteem is worn out, you start to question whether what someone else thinks of you really matters at all.
3) You’re overly critical and self-conscious of yourself.
It’s true what many people say: you can be your worst critic.
But being overly self-conscious about everything you’re doing can lead to being self-conscious about what other people think, too.
If this is something that’s happened in your life before or if it’s still happening now, having overbearing self-criticism will take its toll on your confidence and esteem when faced with challenges ahead.
It might be easy to find flaws and constantly monitor themselves in the presence of others and compare their own actions to those around them.
The thing is, when you are too judgmental of yourself with one thing, you end up thinking you’re not good enough when it comes to other things.
You start to nit-pick on every little detail of yourself that leads to your mistakes and shortcomings. More than that, you criticize even your successes and wins because you could think they were too easy.
This is a major problem when it comes to being self-conscious and not being able to accept yourself enough, acknowledging your capabilities and achievements.
This could lead to lower confidence levels and more self-doubt.
4) You always compare yourself to others.
Comparison is something everyone does. But being consumed by what others have and how they live their lives is a dangerous phenomenon.
When you compare yourself with people who are more successful or happier than you, you’re doing it at the expense of your confidence.
And that’s when doubt creeps in.
So instead of being happy for other people, you start to complain about why your life isn’t as great as theirs.
It’s not being thankful for what you have and being content with your life that makes this happen. It’s the inability to be satisfied with who you are, where you’re at in your life, and what opportunities you’ve been given.
When you compare yourself too much with other people, especially those who have more than you do, your self-esteem is being chipped away.
You start to believe that you don’t deserve the good things in life and that there’s something more deserving out there waiting for you instead.
5) You’re not as successful as you hoped you’d be.
Everyone has a different idea of success, which makes it very relative.
Some people may define success as being rich, being famous, or being intelligent. Some people might think that success is being able to be happy and being content with life in general.
When you compare yourself with what you’ve achieved in your mind, it brings so much weight to your shoulders.
You start to believe you’re not good enough because you haven’t achieved what you thought you would.
This can easily lead you down a path where you start thinking about how much better other people’s lives are than your own.
Don’t get me wrong. Setting high standards for yourself is a good thing. Being ambitious and being self-motivated can help you achieve great things.
However, it’s easy to become disappointed in yourself once those goals aren’t met as quickly as you wanted them to be.
And when you don’t succeed, the initial thought that comes to mind is that you’re a failure.
6) You feel that people in your life aren’t doing what they say at all.
Relationships, in general, need a level of commitment to follow through with what they promise. This is how you show each other that your relationship is important and valuable.
So when you feel like people in your life aren’t being the way they say, it’s easy to think that you’re not good enough.
You feel that you’re being let down by people in your life and that being let down is being a failure.
So, you feel even worse about yourself because of the people that are supposed to be there for you and they’re not doing their part as well as expected.
This is what makes it harder on your self-esteem and confidence levels.
What happens is that you ask yourself if there’s something wrong with you. You start to question your choices, ability to make decisions and influence people around you.
7) You’ve been rejected one too many times.
Rejection is an experience we go through in every stage of life. It’s a part of being human and feeling the need to connect with others.
When we experience rejection, it can be painful. It can hurt your ego, especially if you know you’ve prepared and worked hard for something and then don’t get it.
But one rejection after another can be disheartening, and can leave you feeling like being rejected is your new normal.
And now, you’re thinking, “I’m not good enough.”
Meanwhile, you could end up angry, passive-aggressive, or even bitter.
You forget that rejection is part of being human, leaving you feeling unworthy of anything good in this life.
8) You’re trying to be someone else.
There’s a lot of pressure to behave and think a certain way in society. You’re being told how to dress, what you should do for a career, and even who you should date.
You may feel pressure to be more successful, have a better job or make more money. You’re being told what type of person you should date and even how you should act around them.
It’s easy to fall into the trap that someone else is living life perfectly right now without any problems. When this happens it can make you feel like being yourself isn’t good enough.
If someone else’s life appears to be better than your own, it can make you believe that being yourself isn’t only bad but also boring.
So when you compare your life with others and find that theirs is better, it’s easy to start being envious or even have a feeling of being worthless.
This type of thinking can stop you from discovering your true, authentic self, and from being happy with yourself and your life.
You lose the chance to discover who you are, what your passions are, and where you want to go.
9) You feel you’re not as good as other people.
People who believe that they’re not good enough to do something often end up not trying to do anything. They tend to not get involved in their communities because they don’t feel like they belong.
When you think about what you would do if you were told that you weren’t good enough, the possibilities seem endless. You can choose to give up and stay stuck, or you can take a chance and see what happens.
Of course, it’s about your perspective.
When you believe that someone is better than you instead of thinking you can be like them, it doesn’t give your self-esteem a boost. It does the opposite.
You end up feeling inferior, and insecure. And being insecure will only hold you back.
10) You focus on your flaws rather than make positive progress improving them.
No one is perfect. Everyone has some sort of flaw, whether it’s being too shy or being clumsy.
The truth of the matter is, flaws are there for a reason, whatever they may be.
Maybe you aren’t being confident enough to express yourself around others, especially in a public setting. Maybe your clumsiness causes you to be anxious when walking through busy places, or being in crowded rooms.
Regardless of the reason behind these flaws, it’s less beneficial for you to spend a ridiculous amount of time being self-deprecating and thinking of yourself as being useless, instead of putting more effort in opportunity areas for improvement.
You end up being miserable with yourself and being the only one that’s suffering from it.
Being self-deprecating doesn’t help anyone, especially you.
11) You grew up in an environment that told you you weren’t good enough.
It can be very difficult to separate your upbringing, being raised in a certain way, from your self-confidence and view of the world.
Growing up in a home where there’s favoritism and constant comparison, being told you’re not good enough and being made to feel like less of a person can do serious damage.
You may have even internalized it and believe that’s the truth, without realizing that none of those things define you as an individual nor determine your worth or place in this world.
To be honest, it can be a very hard cycle to break.
If you grew up being told that you’re not good enough by parents or siblings it can be easy to feel as though those people may have been right after all.
You could end up being afraid of taking risks and taking chances in your life because being a failure and being not good enough is all you’ve ever been told.
12) You’re obsessed with being perfect.
We all have our insecurities and shortcomings. And being the best at what we do is a good way of boosting confidence and self-esteem.
But did you know that being obsessed with being perfect can be more harmful than helpful?
The problem is that being perfect is not something that exists. It’s an abstract concept that is being pushed on us through advertisements and social media, making it seem like the most valuable thing in life.
The truth of the matter is, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, and there will always be someone better than you at something.
When you obsess with perfection, you’ll never be satisfied with what you have achieved. You may end up being too hard on yourself, and unhappy with being just you.
13) You’re in toxic and unhealthy relationships.
Toxic and unhealthy relationships are often the reason why people believe they’re not good enough.
You may think that being in a toxic, abusive relationship is better than being alone or single. You attach yourself to these people because you don’t feel like you’re good enough to do better.
This is where it gets tricky; when someone’s being verbally or physically abusive to you, it’s easy to think that this is just how relationships are.
And you start believing that you are not good enough.
This is the most dangerous and toxic belief of all. Because it means you think being in a relationship with someone who has no respect for you, doesn’t show love and only looks for what they can get from you is acceptable.
You may even believe that being treated this way is your own fault because of your flaws, so being treated badly feels normal to you.
14) You’re going through emotional trauma.
“I’m not good enough” can be a lie that you tell yourself because of being through emotional trauma. You don’t feel like anyone would love or care about you, so why bother being “good enough?”
Emotional trauma is very common in today’s society, and it can definitely affect your self-esteem. It can make you feel like being the best version of yourself isn’t good enough anymore.
In fact, you may not even know you have or are going through a form of emotional trauma.
And when you’re triggered by being around a person or being in a certain situation, it’s going to be hard for you to believe that being your best self – being good enough – is possible.
It doesn’t matter how many times people tell you they love or care about you, or the numerous accolades you earn. You still feel less worthy than who you are right now.
15) You may be suffering from depression.
Depression is a serious illness that seems to be like a thief in the night. Nothing is worse than being trapped in your own head.
It can take away your motivation, sense of belonging, and feel like you’re being suffocated from the inside. It’s more common than you think, but a lot of people don’t recognize that they’re suffering from it.
According to Harvard Health, many factors come into play when being diagnosed with depression. Some of them are genetics, brain chemistry balance, overuse of drugs or alcohol, over-stress over a long period of time.
Depression is a mental illness that can lead to you feeling worthless, tired, and anxious all the time due to being unable to cope with the pressure being put on you.
How do you encourage yourself when you feel you’re not good enough?
It may be tough to let go of the idea that you’re not good enough. But what happens if you tell yourself you’re better than you think?
The truth is there are many things about your life that might go unnoticed – just look for ways of encouragement when those negative thoughts start taking over.
Take time out now and again to remind yourself of these 19 ways:
1) Focus on your strengths
Focusing on your strengths instead of your weaknesses won’t only make you feel better about yourself but can also bring out the best in who you are and what you do.
When you focus on your strengths, you not only become more confident but you also find it easier to be happy with who you are.
You’ll begin to feel a more positive sense of self-worth, which means that your thoughts will change from “I’m not good enough” into “I am not perfect, I make mistakes as everyone else does – but this is what makes me, me.”
When you focus on your strengths not only does it give you the chance to recognize who you are but also there’s a greater opportunity for growth.
2) Acknowledge your weaknesses
Focusing on your strengths doesn’t mean that you’ll forget about your weaknesses. They’re not something that you should ignore because they also have their importance.
Once in a while, remind yourself of what your weaknesses are and then find a way to improve on them one at a time.
Look at it this way: weaknesses are opportunity areas.
Consider more self-reflection on how you can improve on these weaknesses. Attend workshops, read books, or even hire a coach to help you learn more not only about yourself but also what it truly means to value your weaknesses.
Remember, your weaknesses can eventually become strengths in the long run if they’re approached with a positive attitude and a genuine desire and effort to improve.
3) Embrace your limitations
No one is perfect. Not only that – not one person is the same.
You’re unique in your little way, and you need to embrace that about yourself, too.
So when you find that you’re not good at something or think it’s not your strong point, then acknowledge this fact but don’t let it get to you.
Limitations aren’t a bad thing because they make you who you are. They form part of your character and they only make you more unique.
Embracing your limitations teaches you that not everything is possible and not everyone can be good at everything.
This makes you more human.
4) Play down your failures
Failing isn’t a bad thing to experience – not at all! As a matter of fact, your failures can give you the best lessons. Even the most successful people in the world went through countless setbacks and failures before reaching the top.
Playing down our failures not only gives you confidence in our abilities but also allows you to see things from a different perspective. And these perspectives can change everything.
Instead of thinking that you failed because you’re not good enough, try to think about what went wrong and how you can improve from your mistakes or at least accept it as a learning experience.
Focus on the positive things in every bad situation. The silver lining, if you may call it.
There’s always something good, even if you have a hard time finding it.
5) Listen to your intuition first and not others
You are your own person, and you have your own life to live. You have your own journey that not even the people closest to you can understand.
Your intuition is what’s going to tell you how things are really like and not just a second opinion from someone else telling you how they feel about it.
Don’t get me wrong.
Asking opinions and listening to what others say can give you different perspectives, not just about the situation but also on what you can do differently.
But not listening to your intuition will always leave an empty space that’s hard to fill up with someone else’s words or opinions, no matter how good they are.
So listen carefully when this little voice inside of yourself speaks up. Focus on that first whenever you’re faced with a decision or something you need help with.
Chances are, there’s something important to take from it.
6) Be kinder to yourself
Believe it or not, you can’t find a harsher critic than yourself. Only you can be the toughest judge, and only you can hold yourself to that standard.
It can be challenging to stop yourself from criticizing yourself. However, this not only damages your self-esteem but also holds you back from not being who you are.
Just stop. Take a step back. And breathe.
Give yourself a break. Go easy on yourself when things don’t turn out well.
This doesn’t mean that you’re excusing all your mistakes.
Stop putting so much pressure on yourself and adding extra weight into the equation by not being nice about it.
You’re not perfect. So don’t try to be. Take each day at a time and remember the good in every situation.
Being kinder to yourself will only help you grow and not feel overwhelmed by the challenges you face.
Eventually, you’ll be able to create a road that leads you to your dreams, personal success, and true happiness.
7) Be more patient with yourself
Patience is a virtue that many people find hard to master. But giving yourself more slack not only helps you not be so hard on yourself but also allows you to take a step back and not rush things.
When you’re more patient with yourself, you avoid pushing yourself to the limits.
For example, instead of trying to achieve all your goals in one day or week, give yourself more time and focus on getting each task done well. Don’t rush through them just because they need to be finished at some point. You might end up sacrificing quality and not meeting your standards.
And this is not just about work and school – it also applies to relationships, hobbies or any other aspects of life on which you want to improve.
Patience will not only stop you from being so hard on yourself but allow you to take things at the right pace that’s good for both your mental health and the quality of your work.
And finally, patience allows you not to feel bad all the time because things aren’t happening as quickly as you would like them to.
Remember, sometimes the journey is what makes it special, not how fast we get there.
8) Always be grateful for what you have
A lot of times, people focus on what they don’t have instead of what they have. And more often than not, these are used to gauge how we feel about ourselves.
This is not a helpful way to approach things because it just makes us think that we’re not doing well and not worthy of the best life has to offer.
Instead, try to appreciate what you have right now even if it’s little or not much at all. Doing this will make it easier for you to not feel bad about yourself and will help boost your self-confidence.
9) Do more things that make you feel good
We all have our own ways of feeling good.
From the simple things like listening to music, watching a movie you enjoy, or spending time with our pets, there are countless ways in which we can make ourselves feel better about not being able to accomplish what others do so easily.
10) Have more positive affirmations
When things go well, compliment yourself on it!
It not only gives your self-esteem the boost that you need but also shows how proud of yourself you should be for not giving up and making things happen no matter what struggles came your way.
Another way to encourage a more positive outlook is to make a list of all the things that make you awesome. You’ll see that not only does your self-esteem start to rise, but you’ll also gain a clearer understanding of how truly awesome and worthy you are!
And when things go south, pat yourself on the back for not giving up.
Remind yourself of your efforts and your strength to not let bad circumstances get in your way.
11) Have a daily gratitude practice
Having gratitude not only helps you feel happier and more grateful, but it also encourages self-compassion and positive thinking.
Instead of focusing on what’s not going right in your life, focus on the good things that are happening to remind yourself how far you’ve come since then.
It’ll not only help you not lose hope, but it’ll also give you ideas on what’s to come if you continue working hard.
Give yourself the credit that you deserve.
Many of us are guilty of not giving ourselves enough credit for our accomplishments or even just being overly self-critical about everything we do or say wrong.
Instead of focusing on what you didn’t do right, focus on what went well and what you can learn from it.
You’ll not only feel better about yourself but also gain a clearer understanding of where your efforts should be going next time.
12) Get some sunshine on your face
Many people forget and underestimate how powerful our body is when it comes to our mental disposition.
A simple walk outside on a warm, sunny day not only helps our bodies produce more vitamin D but also lifts your mood and makes you feel better about not being able to accomplish as much as you would like.
If you can’t go outside your home, opt to sit down by your window and enjoy the greenery and whatever natural views you can see.
It won’t only make you feel good, but also improve your mood as well.
13) Treat yourself
It’s not enough for you to have some “me” time.
Now and then, treat yourself to something you not only enjoy but also makes you feel better about not being able to accomplish as much.
Eat some ice cream, watch your favorite tv show, buy yourself flowers.
It not only shows you how well you’re doing but also encourages positive thinking and less judgment of what’s not going right in your life.
You deserve it!
14) Be with trusted people
If your self-esteem is low because you think that no one cares for you enough then the best thing to do is spend some quality time with trusted people who lift you up and truly value you.
Those who truly know you are the ones who will not try to drag you down when they see that your self-esteem has taken a blow. Spending some time with them can help you feel better about yourself and regain your confidence quickly.
If you don’t want a pep talk, their presence still might make you feel better about yourself.
15) Let go of your toxic relationships
Relationships are there to help you grow as a person. Otherwise, they’re not worth your time.
There’s no point in surrounding yourself with negative and toxic people who always bring you down. It’s not worth losing your way, forgetting who you are, and keeping yourself from your happiness.
Keeping your toxic relationships at bay won’t help in your self-esteem journey. They’ll only cause more damage to yourself than good.
It may be a harder and longer process to do, but cutting ties with people who bring negativity and toxicity in your life will do you good.
The sooner you let go of them, the sooner you’ll be on your way to being the best you can be.
16) Be creative with your ideas for yourself
Being creative isn’t only a way to express yourself, but it’s also a good way to boost your self-esteem.
Creativity doesn’t necessarily mean getting into arts and crafts. It simply means thinking out of the box and getting those creative juices flowing just for yourself.
Consider how you can improve your life in some way, whether it’s cooking a new dish, redecorating your bedroom, or rearranging your furniture.
Remember, this is for you, not for anyone else.
17) Be proud of the progress you’ve achieved so far rather than focusing on how much more there is left to go
Progress is not only about the destination, but also how far you’ve come so far.
It can be stressful if you seem to be conscious about timelines and not have reached what you set out to achieve. Focusing on how much more there’s left to do can make you feel incapable and not good enough.
Remember, it’s not a race.
Take time to appreciate what you’ve already accomplished. Be proud of what you’ve managed to achieve so far rather than thinking about how much left there is to go.
Celebrate by taking breaks or going out with friends and family at the end of each day as an incentive for yourself.
It can be very helpful to congratulate yourself on the progress you’ve made so far, not only because it will make you feel better but also because it’s motivating and inspiring for what is yet to come.
18) Rejection can mean there’s something better
Listen, no one wants to be rejected. It’s not fun, not at all.
But if you change your perspective, you can view rejection as a sign that you’re not ready for something, or that something isn’t for you.
Think of them as signposts that point the way to something better coming down the line.
One important thing to remember: you can’t win them all.
So next time rejection comes knocking, tell yourself it’s okay. Don’t get upset and try not to take it too hard.
You just have to move on and keep going.
19) Just have fun!
With everything that’s happening in your life that can make you question your worth and make you feel that you’re not good enough, realize that you have the choice to let go and just have fun with them.
What does that mean? It means not allowing those things to have so much of an impact on you that it makes you forget who you are as a person.
And a part of that is letting loose.
When you let go of the pressures of life, you will feel lighter. You will also allow yourself to become more creative when it comes to solving problems and addressing your opportunity areas because you’re not overwhelmed by them anymore.
You can make new friends, learn how to cook something new or take up an activity that makes your heart sing.
It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you do something that makes you have fun and not let your worries take over.
The feeling of not being good enough is one that many people experience. It’s those moments where you feel like everything’s going wrong and that the world has turned against you.
However, being not good enough doesn’t have to be a permanent feeling. It’s something that you can work through over time.
The best way to get out of feeling like you’re not good enough is by building your self-esteem and confidence.
Focus on your strengths and all the good and positive things in your life rather than just dwelling on any weaknesses and limitations. Balance that with the perspective that these are growth opportunities.
Keep in mind that what others say about you doesn’t define who you are as a person. Only you can do this.
Also remember that in life, you have to take the bad with the good.
Believe in yourself enough to know that no matter how hard things get, tomorrow will always be a new day. And there’s nothing wrong with taking time out of each day to rest and recharge and to be with people who lift you up, instead of powering through everything alone.
Let go of the pressures of life. And finally, don’t forget to have fun!
With everything that’s happening in your life that can make you question your worth and feel not good enough, realize that you still get to choose how you want to react.
Close your eyes. Take a breath. And smile.
Things will get better. Believe that you will be better.