I don’t care who you are, we can all be filled with doubt from time to time.
Rather than make you unworthy, it can point to some humble qualities that may well contribute to your success.
After all, as they say, pride comes before a fall.
People who experience complete confidence 24-7 are more likely to be arrogant rather than self-assured.
In many ways, this stunts your growth rather than helps it.
So here are 7 situations when feeling like you’re not good enough can even be a strength.
1) Learning a new skill
Picture two different people:
The first feels assured of their talents and abilities. When they take on something new, they’re always convinced they’ve got a natural talent for it.
The second person isn’t so sure. They recognize that they’ve got a long way to go before they master what it is they’re trying to learn.
Who do you think will be more skilled 5 years from now?
The second person is more likely to apply themselves, make an effort, take a growth mindset, and stay open to feedback and guidance.
Feeling like we’re not good enough yet can spur us on to keep on going until we reach our goal.
2) When you’re stepping out of your comfort zone
Uncertainty is a part of growth.
If you never feel nervous, chances are you’re not pushing yourself.
Whenever you make a decision to try something new in life, you’re bound to wonder if you will make the grade.
It’s far easier to feel self-assured when we stay safe and secure.
But that means never saying yes to adventures or opportunities that will take us away from what we know.
The antidote is simple:
Never try anything new. Always stick to what you know. Avoid risks at all costs. Stay exactly where you are for the rest of your entire life.
Doesn’t sound so appealing, huh?
The point is that change is scary, and that can lead us to question ourselves.
But the alternative is to limit ourselves by staying small.
3) Starting a new job
Feeling like you’re not good enough can be really isolating.
But here’s the funny thing about it:
So many of us feel this way, which means we all have that in common.
Imposter syndrome is a widespread phenomenon. Figures suggest that as many as 70% of us will experience it.
It leaves us feeling like our success is undeserved. We worry that our perceived inadequacy will get “found out”.
Feeling insecure sucks. But the real truth is that it can do wonders when it comes to diligence.
If you are convinced that you already know it all, you may be less inclined to apply yourself.
A research paper entitled “Imposter Thoughts As a Double-Edged Sword” highlighted this.
The author, Basima Tewfik, noted that rather than it always being a bad thing, it does have its upsides:
“While having imposter thoughts does elicit fear—which can cause people to flub what they’re working on—it can also be a motivator. That motivation can be a good thing for job mastery.
“I also found, interestingly, that having imposter thoughts actually improves interpersonal performance at work: helping people, cooperating, and encouraging others. It seems that when employees feel that their competence is lower than others think, they may be spurred to prove themselves on an interpersonal level.”
4) When you start dating your dream partner
Worrying that you’re not good enough can do far less harm than the opposite — taking for granted what you have.
Have you ever met someone and secretly thought, maybe they’re way too good for me?
Rather than always being a reflection of poor self-esteem, it can be a testament to your strength of admiration for them.
In fact, I know plenty of people who went on to marry the person who made them feel like this.
Because counting your lucky stars that someone has chosen to be with you means:
- You’re more likely to invest the energy and effort required to create a successful relationship with them
- You think they’re really special and can see so many qualities that you are in awe of
We often refer to our partners as our “better half”, perhaps in reference to this acknowledgment that we’re grateful to be with them.
As long as you don’t let it spill over into insecurity, feeling like this can mean that you’ve found the person of your dreams.
5) When you have high standards you want to surpass
Let’s start with a clarification:
High standards are not the same as perfectionism.
Because perfectionists often beat themselves up and feel like no matter what they do, it’s not good enough.
That’s never helpful.
It’s always going to rob you of your motivation and self-belief, yet do nothing to improve standards.
But having high standards is different. That involves continuously raising the bar for yourself and rising to meet it.
As long as it’s not demotivating, holding yourself to high standards can improve the quality of your life, your work, and your relationships.
6) When you have bad habits you want to ditch
Feeling like you’re not good enough isn’t always so simple.
As we’ve already seen, it doesn’t automatically mean you think you are completely unworthy and lacking in self-love.
It can even be a sign of self-awareness.
It means that you are capable of seeing your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
Once you can identify areas where you would like to improve and make changes, you can get to work.
After all, we can’t ditch bad habits or behaviors that aren’t serving us if we don’t even see them in the first place.
Delusional people may believe they are perfect. But if you live in the real world, you know that there is always room for some improvement.
7) When overconfidence leads to mistakes
We’re led to believe that confidence is the key ingredient to success.
Sure, self-belief helps in many aspects, but not when it’s blinding.
The problem is, as we’ve already hinted to, overconfidence makes you cocky, not more skillful.
Research has shown that overconfident people overestimate the accuracy of their judgments and decisions.
Without that questioning voice in the back of their head, they are more prone to messing up.
In short: they think they’re better or more capable than they truly are.
So that can mean that the higher you rate yourself, the less competent you may be.
One study noted this effect.
Cornel psychology professor David Dunning and his student Justin Kruger found:
- Those who scored in the bottom 12% on assessments of logic, grammar, and humor thought they did better than 62% of their peers
- Gun owners who scored themselves the highest actually knew the least about firearm safety
- The worst drivers were the ones who thought they were the best
The point is, that simply believing you can do something, doesn’t always equate to being able to do it.
When doubt slips into low self-esteem
So there we have it, feeling unsure of yourself isn’t always such a bad thing.
However, it is important to recognize the difference between passing feelings and constant ones.
It’s normal to occasionally feel not good enough, particularly in new and unfamiliar situations.
That uncertainty can help us to make more of an effort, make more considered decisions, keep us humble, and help us to stay open and curious.
But if you often feel unworthy, down on yourself, or incapable of seeing your good qualities, you are most likely lacking in self-esteem and self-love.
Addressing this will make sure any self-questioning spurs you on rather than holds you back.