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Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy: Strategies for Not Feeling Good Enough by Christian Frazier

Updated: Dec 13, 2023


Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? It’s a common feeling that many people experience at some point in their lives. It can be difficult to cope with, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. In this blog, we will explore some strategies to help you deal with these feelings and boost your self-esteem.


Recognize Your Self-Talk

The first step in dealing with feelings of inadequacy is to recognize your self-talk. Self-talk refers to the internal dialogue we have with ourselves. It can be positive or negative. Negative self-talk can contribute to feelings of not being good enough. For example, if you tell yourself that you’re not smart enough or that you can’t do something, you’re more likely to believe it. Start by paying attention to your self-talk and make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, positive self-talk can improve mood, reduce stress, and increase motivation (1). So, next time you catch yourself thinking negatively, try to reframe it into a positive thought. For example, if you find yourself thinking "I'll never be good at this," try to replace it with "I'm still learning, but I'm making progress."


Set Realistic Goals

Another strategy to help you deal with feelings of inadequacy is to set realistic goals. Setting unattainable goals can lead to feelings of failure and inadequacy. Instead, set goals that are challenging but achievable. By doing so, you can build confidence and improve your self-esteem.

According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, setting and achieving goals can increase self-esteem and reduce depression (2). When you set a goal and achieve it, you feel a sense of accomplishment and a boost in self-esteem. So, start small and work your way up. Remember that small achievements are still achievements.


Practice Self-Compassion

Practicing self-compassion is another way to deal with feelings of inadequacy. Self-compassion means treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support that you would offer to a good friend. It involves recognizing that everyone makes mistakes and that you are not alone in your struggles.

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that self-compassion is associated with higher levels of happiness, optimism, and life satisfaction, and lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress (3). To practice self-compassion, try to be kind to yourself when you make a mistake. Instead of beating yourself up, try to treat yourself with kindness and understanding.


Environment, Family, and Social Circle

Your environment, family, or social circle can have a significant impact on how you feel about yourself. For example, growing up in a critical or negative environment can lead to feelings of inadequacy. If you constantly hear negative messages about yourself, you may start to believe them.

In addition, family members or friends who are overly critical or unsupportive can contribute to feelings of not being good enough. Negative comments or comparisons to others can make you feel inadequate, even if you're doing your best.

According to a study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, family support is associated with higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression in adolescents (1). Similarly, a study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that social support is associated with higher levels of self-esteem and well-being in young adults (2). Resolving Issues with Environment, Family, and Social Circle If you're feeling not good enough due to your environment, family, or social circle, there are steps you can take to address the issue. It may be helpful to talk to a therapist or counselor who can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies. In addition, consider the following steps:

  1. Set Boundaries - If you have people in your life who are overly critical or unsupportive, it may be helpful to set boundaries. Let them know that their comments or behavior are hurtful and ask them to stop. If they're unwilling to change, it may be necessary to limit your contact with them.

  2. Surround Yourself with Positive Influences - Try to surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. Seek out friends or family members who encourage and uplift you. Join clubs or groups where you can meet like-minded individuals who share your interests.

  3. Focus on Your Strengths - Instead of dwelling on your perceived weaknesses, focus on your strengths. Make a list of your positive qualities and accomplishments, and refer to it when you're feeling down.

  4. Create a Positive Environment - If your home or workplace is a negative environment, try to make it more positive. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, such as photos, artwork, or plants. Play music or light candles to create a more relaxing atmosphere.

Seek Support

Finally, seeking support from others can help you deal with feelings of inadequacy. Talk to friends or family members who can offer encouragement and support. Consider talking to a therapist or counselor who can help you work through your feelings and develop coping strategies.

According to a study published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, social support is associated with higher levels of self-esteem and lower levels of depression (4). When you have people in your life who support and encourage you, you are more likely to feel better about yourself.


In conclusion, feelings of inadequacy are a common experience, but they don't have to control your life. By recognizing your self-talk, setting realistic goals, practicing self-compassion, and seeking support, you can improve your self-esteem and build a more positive outlook on life.

References:

Wood, J. V., Perunovic, W. Q. E., & Lee, J. W. (2009). Positive self-statements: Power for some, peril for others. Psychological Science, 20(7), 860-866.

Emmons, R. A.

In conclusion, feeling not good enough can be caused by a range of factors, including your environment, family, or social circle. By recognizing the impact of these factors and taking steps to address them, you can improve your self-esteem and build a more positive outlook on life. References:

  1. Stone, M. R., Yelland, C., & Craven, R. G. (2019). Family support, self-esteem, and emotional well-being among Australian adolescents. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(6), 688–697.

  2. Cohen, S., Underwood, L. G., & Gottlieb, B. H. (2008). Social support measurement and intervention: A guide for health and social scientists. Oxford University Press.




Rev. Dr. Christian Frazier

Chair of the BIPOC Committee Zero Suicide Alliance

Member National Council of Wellbeing

Board Member NAMI Hillsborough

Board Member LifeLine University

Mental Health First Aid Instructor St. Petersburg College

Motivational / KeyNote Speaker

Certified Life Coach

Certified Health & Nutrition Coach

Mindfulness Meditation Instructor

Executive Coach

Ordained Minister




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