How to Break the Cycle of Not Being Good Enough

How to Break the Cycle of Not Being Good Enough
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Written by Rachel O'Conner

An accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how big or small.

Everyone has been there: feeling they weren’t good enough for whatever reason; whether that be by the consequences of past experiences, societal pressure, and even another person telling them they lacked worth.

Regardless of these circumstances, the most important opinion that determines whether or not you are good enough is your own.

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What we think of or tell ourselves, we eventually become. If we say we aren’t good enough, consequently, we come to believe that as the truth and something that can never be changed – but it can be. We just need to liberate ourselves from that mindset.

This is how to take the first step in breaking the cycle of not being good enough:

Praise yourself for your strengths and unique qualities

It may seem uncomfortable and discerning at first, but praising yourself is necessary for not only boosting self-esteem but also promoting mental and emotional well-being. You might also want to try simple mood boosters.

Make it a daily habit of praising your strengths and unique qualities and being a part of your own support system! Doing so isn’t about inflating an ego, but learning to acknowledge your abilities so that you can use them to their fullest potential.

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Silence the voice of self-criticism

Humans can never be perfect, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves we can be. Therefore, we should allow ourselves to be human in the first place and not judge ourselves for things that cannot be controlled.

Cruel and unnecessary self-criticism does nothing but harm and hinder us. Instead, we should always think about what can be done better as opposed to fixating on what was wrong when we make mistakes or fail.

Think about it this way: would you criticize a loved one or a stranger with the same words you say to yourself? Of course not.

Cultivate compassion and forgiveness

Making a mistake is inevitable – but don’t see that as a bad thing. We grow as people and become emotionally resilient if we make the most out of the lessons they taught us. Moreover, self-compassion and forgiveness aren’t limited to the moments after making a mistake; it should be an everyday activity as well.

A significant example is when you come home stressed from a difficult work shift: let go of thoughts over what went wrong during the day and invest time into intentional self-care for the rest of evening.

Don’t fall victim to unhealthy coping strategies such as substance abuse or self-harm to cope with negative emotions. Remember, kindness should not be restricted to others – save some for yourself too. 

Deepen self-awareness and mindfulness

When you develop self-awareness and become mindful, you begin to understand who are you and what drives you. Without self-awareness and mindfulness, expanding your perspectives is impossible because you will never have any idea or grasp on your motives and impacts of your actions.

When you pay more attention to your inner workings, you will evidently make better decisions and adapt more efficiently to presented circumstances. Self-awareness and mindfulness are best practiced through daily meditation. But journaling every day and reflecting back on past entries helps as well.

Recognize negative thought patterns and emotional tendencies

The most common cognitive distortions you may experience are: polarized thinking (you are either perfect or a failure), filtering (intentionally choosing to focus negative elements of a situation), personalization (believing that the actions of others are always directed towards you), and catastrophizing (expecting the worst possible outcomes to happen). How often do you exercise these negative thought patterns?

Once you realize the negative thought pattern you tend to repeat, take a step back and challenge it. Truly think about whether or not your way of thinking is rational – most likely it is not.

Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones and shift your perspectives as often as you can. Otherwise, you will continue only to attract negative thoughts and experiences and drag yourself down further.

Stop comparing yourself to other people

No one will ever share the same experiences. Therefore, in retrospect, it seems silly to even compare your life to that of another person. Comparing yourself to others will undeniably make you feel depressed and unhappy.

Take social media feeds, for example. Majority of the time people will only post their highlights on their social media feed; their life does not look like that every single day.

Consequently, you may come to believe yours has nothing to show in value if it does not look like theirs. Learn to be grateful for what you have now instead of envying the lives and things of others, and be happy not just for them, but for yourself as well.

Celebrate every accomplishment, no matter how big or small

An accomplishment is an accomplishment, no matter how big or small. Make an effort to not only celebrate accomplishments on your own, but share them with loved ones and embrace others recognizing them as well. Don’t be afraid of being proud of yourself the way others will be proud of you.

Reflect on how you feel after an accomplishment; doing so isn’t about inflating your ego, but recognizing you did a great job.

Breaking the cycle of not feeling good enough will take time, but the journey is much more rewarding and fulfilling in comparison to never taking action at all.

Identity Magazine is all about guiding women to discover their powers of Self-Acceptance, Appreciation, and Personal Achievement.

We ask that every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the current article they have written. In that way, and as a team, we hope to encourage and motivate each other, thus inspiringyou to Get All A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? Additionally, what are you still working on accepting? Now, we’re not talking about resignation, rather stepping into, embraced, and owned.

I’ve accepted that I’m human and that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, being human is great! It’s exhausting trying to be perfect all the time. I’m still working on trying to accept that criticizing myself is more harmful than helpful.

I’ve gotten better over the years recognizing when I’m criticizing myself unnecessarily, but I slip up every now and again, but that’s okay. I embrace my humanity and imperfections!

2. Appreciation is everything. What have you learned to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? On the other hand OR in contrastare there elements of who you are that you’re still working on appreciating?

I’ve learned to appreciate self-love. When I started to love myself, I took better care of myself both mentally and physically every day.

I’m still working on appreciating the accomplishments that I have and trying not to compare my success or timing of success with people around me.

3. Share with us one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.

One of my most rewarding achievements in life in learning how to seek help, both in my loved ones and through professional support. What makes me the proudest is accepting that I can be vulnerable and I don’t have to do everything on my own.

The goals I still have are learning to overcome negative thoughts entirely and stop surrendering to self-doubt when it happens.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

About the author

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Rachel O'Conner

Rachel is a freelance content writer. She has written for a variety of industries including health, fitness, travel, and beauty. When she is not writing, she enjoys hiking and playing at the beach with her two dogs.

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