7 Ways to Stop Thinking “I’m Not Good Enough”

Meghan Trainor

How is it possible that people who appear to have it all—a successful career, good looks, athleticism, or lots of friends, for example—can feel like they aren’t good enough? Sadly, thinking “I’m not good enough” is a far-too common thought that can plague people of all ages, income levels, education levels, and cultures. This one belief is the mother thought of despair. It can drag you down and ruin your life by breeding anxiety, depression, and in some people, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. And when you don’t feel worthy as a human being, it can make you feel like your life doesn’t matter, which makes you more vulnerable to engaging in unhealthy habits, such as overeating, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, or using drugs.

“I’m not good enough.” This one belief is the mother thought of despair. It can drag you down and ruin your life by breeding anxiety, depression, and in some people, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Click To Tweet

No one is immune to this toxic thought. Look at music superstar Meghan Trainor. She had a #1 song worldwide—something only a handful of people on the globe have ever accomplished—yet she is wracked with worries that she isn’t successful enough. In an episode of Scan My Brain with Dr. Daniel Amen, she revealed that she routinely stresses about her career and forgets about all that success she had from her debut song “All About That Bass.”

Do you feel this way too? What’s behind this harmful notion and how can you overcome it?

Here are 7 reasons that fuel thoughts of not being good enough and ways to change your thinking, so you can feel better about yourself.

1. Self-criticism

Are you frequently thinking that you aren’t good enough, that you’re a failure, or that you don’t deserve love? These thoughts are all ANTs (automatic negative thoughts) that infest your mind and steal your happiness.

Feel better fast: Don’t believe every self-critical or negative thought you have. Challenge the ANT by asking yourself if the thought is true. Then try to find evidence that the opposite of that thought is more true.

2. Comparing yourself to others

These days, it’s almost impossible not to compare yourself to others on social media. But trying to live up to the images you see online is a recipe for feeling like a failure.

Feel better fast: Stop trying to judge yourself based on the success of others. Instead, strive to be the best version of yourself.

3. Focusing on the negative

If you won a game of table tennis by a score of 11-3, would you focus on the 3 points you lost and beat yourself up about what you did wrong? When you focus on what you’re doing wrong or on areas of your life where you don’t measure up, it trains your brain to look for more negativity and keeps you mired in low self-esteem.

Feel better fast: Write down the 20 top accomplishments in your life and 5 positive attributes you have and look at it any time you’re feeling down about yourself. By focusing on your strengths and accomplishments, you will develop a healthier self-esteem.

4. Perfectionism

When you believe that the only way others will love you or value you is if you’re perfect, you are setting yourself up for failure, anxiety, and depression. This kind of toxic perfectionism is extremely harmful to your overall emotional well-being.

Feel better fast: When you make a mistake, try to treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend or family member. Learn to forgive yourself.

5. Childhood trauma

Experiencing physical or sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or other traumas as a child can have a lasting negative impact on your sense of self-worth.

Feel better fast: Seek help from a professional mental health provider to address any unresolved issues stemming from adverse childhood experiences.

6. Critical parents

While you were a child, was it impossible to please one or both of your parents? Were you criticized about your looks, weight, schoolwork, choice of friends, and other things? For example, if you were proud to come home from school with B-plusses on your report card, did your mom or dad neglect to congratulate your hard work and ask why you didn’t get As? Constant parental criticism can set you up for a lifetime of feeling like you aren’t good enough.

Feel better fast: Remember that when parents criticize a child, it often has more to do with their own issues than the child’s. Try not to take their remarks personally.

7. Negative social circle

If you surround yourself with people who are negative and who point out others’ flaws, you will likely adopt that same attitude.

Feel better fast: Surround yourself with positive people who are encouraging and supportive, and who lift you up. You will feel better about yourself.

Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

11 Comments »

  1. This is me. The years have snowballed and I have gotten much worse with my “not good enough” thoughts.

    Comment by Marie Oliver — March 4, 2022 @ 3:09 AM

  2. I can identify with this,article. I am now in my 69 and just realizing the effects of feeling “less than”. I would say to myself “I don’t deserve the happiness. I would sabotage my own life as well as others for years because I was not worthy

    Comment by Patricia Feuerstein — March 4, 2022 @ 4:44 AM

  3. I have horrible though that I’m worthless, childhood trauma , adult trauma, anxiety ! Depression ! Looking for a therapist in Palm desert area. Thank u

    Comment by Robbin turner — March 4, 2022 @ 5:47 AM

  4. Doesn’t Christianity promote the ‘I am not good enough’ mantra? Because the Bible teaches us that we are not enough, always. And that anything ‘good’ in us doesn’t come from us at all!

    Comment by Amy Haab — March 4, 2022 @ 10:10 AM

  5. This particular article really spoke to me. My self esteem was devastated when I was humiliated at the age of 12 and I never fully recovered. On the outside, I’ve learned to laugh and smile and pretend to others that my self-esteem is high .But now I am a wellness coach and sharing your valuable wisdom to my clients is also helping me, after almost 50 years. Thank you for all you do!

    Comment by Karen Gibson — March 4, 2022 @ 1:45 PM

  6. My family broke down communication over the years since I moved away even though I was the only child to return home for 30 years. I didn’t feel that it was important to visit anymore after Mom died. I was the only one who tried by many calls. Some sent cards only never called me. My father never called me birthday cards and Christmas card only. No contact with his grandchildren either. He finally died. I refused to visit him 2007 – 2017. I’m so glad he is gone. He only communicated with his 4 other children for 17 years. He left a trust to 1 daughter who took most of it. She hired a very dishonest attorney. We were supposed to share his trust among 5 kids. Nobody talks to her anymore. I think his trust caused greater conflict among us because he controlled the others but he could never control me. I lived further away from him for 41 yrs. I think he helped the others because they lived near him and could help him. I’m the oldest child who helped Mom and Dad raise their family and did all the housework laundry cooking and grocery shopping until I was 16 yrs old. I had to run away from home so I could live my own life. Dad was a very mean abusive and cruel man to me and Mom. He beat her many times and I protected her and got bruised up for it. Everyone blames me for leaving home and hurting him and they had to listen to him for years. I have no hope for them anymore. I just want my peace and privacy now. I have my own family I care about now and I have always been responsible parent. He did not care about us for a very long time before Mom died. I wish I stopped visiting him the year Mom died 2001. I don’t want anyone to talk about him anymore. He made me feel not good enough. I was A student. When I got a B he called me Dummy. He criticized my hair makeup clothes money car apartment. When I lived there he refused to visit me. Mom and kids visited 4 yrs. The cold weather made me sick. No jobs there. No good men to date. I moved at 26 yrs. They all bring up I moved away. I feel no responsibility to them. They decided to stop all visiting and communications since he died. Enough. They all demanded their privacy. Now I want my peace and privacy. I feel good enough.

    Comment by Donna Hopcraft — March 4, 2022 @ 8:07 PM

  7. Do you have any testing centers in the Philadelphia area?

    Comment by David K Scott — March 5, 2022 @ 8:30 AM

  8. All of the above – for 50 years.

    Comment by Jan Clark — March 5, 2022 @ 8:38 AM

  9. Very interesting and helpful information.

    Comment by Carolyne Lamar Jordan, Ed.D. — March 6, 2022 @ 1:49 PM

  10. Hello David, thank you for reaching out. At this time, we have 10 locations nationwide: https://www.amenclinics.com/locations/.

    Comment by Amen Clinics — March 6, 2022 @ 6:19 PM

  11. I have had several concussions in the last 10 years – fell down some stairs, got bucked off my horse and fell on my treadmill – I fell like I have some issue and would like some help or to at least see what damage has been done.

    Comment by Lee Ann Semrow-Jones — March 14, 2022 @ 4:21 PM

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