The more I work with my hypnotherapy clients, the more I come across people who just don’t feel like they are good enough. They may come to see me to help with issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia, panic attacks or low self-esteem, but when all the layers are stripped away, at the root is usually this worry that they just aren’t enough.
In a society where we are continually comparing ourselves to others, and particularly with the explosion of social media, we can often feel inadequate or unworthy. Who wouldn’t feel intimidated by a Facebook post showing a friend who seems to have it all – a great marriage, a successful career, a fantastic body (which they are showing off from a beach in The Maldives!). But, could they be posting all this because, they too, don’t feel enough deep down?
For some reason, we all seem to believe that everyone else around us has it all together, and that we are the only ones who sometimes just want to stay under the duvet all day. We spend so much time trying to make sure that no one finds out that, we do fall out with our partner, shout at our kids and eat whole packets of chocolate digestives in one go.
So, where does this feeling of not being good enough come from? Although it sounds like a bit of a cliché, it very often comes from our childhood experiences and influences (some of which we may remember vividly, others may just have been filed away in our subconscious). Maybe you were told that money is the root of all evil and so you quietly sabotage your success at work. Maybe you were exposed to parents that didn’t show each other affection and so you have repeated this in your own relationships. The possibilities are endless and can have a huge effect on our self-worth and self-confidence. They create limiting beliefs and can lead us to feeling inadequate and inferior to others.
When we do manage to become successful at something, we can then start to believe that we don’t deserve it. This is often referred to as the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ and it’s basically a worry that at any moment people could find out that we don’t really know what we’re doing. We live in fear that our incompetencies will be exposed, and people will realise that we are not good enough.
For those people who suffer with these feelings, compliments can be very difficult to accept. If someone were to tell them they had done a great job for example, they would be likely to respond with, ‘it was nothing, I was just lucky and in the right place at the right time’. Because they don’t really believe in themselves, they find it hard to accept that others believe in them and are always wondering when they will be ‘found out’.
Even while writing this blog post, I have asked myself why I think anyone would be interested in reading it. Who am I to be writing about this? I’m not a writer or an expert. I’ve let this kind of thinking stop me from doing lots of things in the past, and even though I’ve had many goals and dreams, it always seemed safer to stay in my comfort zone where I didn’t need to worry about what other people thought.
My life really began to change when I decided that I am good enough; everybody is. It was very scary at first to put myself out there, and I felt really vulnerable, preparing myself for lots of negative responses. But guess what? I have had nothing but encouragement and positive feedback from everyone for all the new projects I’ve started. I think people understand that to take chances or risks isn’t easy and they appreciate that it’s better to give things a try and fail than not to try at all.
The famous therapist Marisa Peer created a whole programme about being enough, and she suggests that you write the words somewhere that you will see them every day. Perhaps you could write it on your bathroom mirror or even on your pillow. Remember – you are enough.