My clients seek out life coaching for many types of challenges that they’d like to overcome. More often than not, there’s one common thread that reveals itself as we work on making their goals happen: they don’t feel good about themselves.
Our lack of self-acceptance becomes a problem when we start to invest too much energy on ‘fixing’ ourselves, instead of focusing that energy on giving ourselves love and appreciation as we work towards achieving our dreams.
Needless to say, this behavior can seriously harm our emotional and physical health if we ignore it. That’s why it’s so crucial to come to terms with our imperfections as human beings—and learn to be happy with where we are before we head to where we want to go.
In fact, self-acceptance is so important, that I’ve decided to dedicate an article to giving you my best tips for making that happen. Here’s how to stop beating yourself up, make peace with who you are, and embrace your quirks.
Where does ‘I’m not good enough’ come from?
Before we jump into any conclusions or start looking for fixes, it’s important to take a look at the source of that persistent ‘I’m not good enough’ belief, and prepare ourselves to go back to our early years.
More often than not, a child that’s been raised in an emotionally unstable environment, for example with an alcoholic, sexually abusive, or narcissistic parent, develops the idea that it has to do something special to deserve the love of the emotionally unavailable parent.
To survive in such an environment, the child develops this idea that, if it could only ‘fix’ itself, his/her mom or dad would finally love them. So, the never-ending quest for ‘winning’ their love begins.
The child morphs itself into whatever the parent wants them to be, completely abandoning its own needs. As a result, it begins to feel worthless, wrong, or unlovable, because it has the belief that, ‘if mommy or daddy doesn’t love me, then I’m not good enough.’
At a later age, they internalize the voice of the demanding, abusive, or emotionally unavailable parent. That turns into ‘the voice of the inner critic,’ a voice that keeps playing the same old message like a broken record: ‘I’m not good enough.’ Now, as an adult, they seek validation from the outside world (boss, spouse, friends), only to find that there’s only one way to heal the wounds from the past: self-acceptance.
How can you start accepting yourself?
Now that you’ve become aware of your negative thought patterns, you can change the way you see yourself and start rebuilding the most important relationship in your life: the one with yourself.
Here are 3 steps that you can take to start healing from your past experiences and focus all of your energy on the present moment.
1. Re-experience the trauma
Re-experiencing the trauma from your past will make you feel extremely vulnerable because you’ll have to go back to the times when it all happened. It doesn’t matter how old you are when it comes to reliving a traumatic event. You will perceive the situation as if it happens to you exactly as it did when you were little.
This is the fine line between coaching and therapy. I’m happy to help you work through your blind spots by focusing on your goals in the here and now. But if you have a childhood trauma that’s preventing you from functioning in the present moment, I recommend that you talk to a therapist—and work through your past before we get to work on your future.
2. Let it go
For many of us, letting go is even harder than re-experiencing our traumas from the past. If you really want to get unstuck from your past and finally begin to feel good about yourself and your circumstances, then try to forgive the person you associate the traumatic event with.
I know it sounds difficult, especially if you have unresolved feelings towards them. But you need to do it for yourself. Try the following exercise:
You’re going to need two chairs, placed so that they face one another, just like on a passenger train. Sit on one of the chairs and imagine the person that made you feel like you were never good enough is sitting on the chair in front of you. Tell that person everything you have ever wanted to tell them. Express your feelings! If you need to, cry, scream, or scold that imaginary person. Do whatever you’ve always wanted to do, as long as you’re letting it all out.
Once you do that exercise, take a few deep breaths and lie down if you feel exhausted. Now, it’s time to focus on step number 3:
3. Take good care of yourself
Once you’ve re-experienced the traumatic event and have tried to let it go, it’s time to focus on the present moment. Taking good care of yourself means to identify what your needs are—and fulfill them in a healthy way.
As a person who’s struggled with not feeling good enough for many years, I know how difficult it can be at first to realize what your needs are. If you’re struggling with identifying your needs, here’s a list of needs that will help you out.
No matter how hard your past was, it doesn’t define who you are. YOU define who you are by making healthy choices, accepting even the deepest, darkest parts of yourself, and speaking your truth.
If you’ve tried therapy and have worked on your past issues, but still can’t seem to get your life in order, book a free session, and we’ll talk about some actionable steps that you can implement right away.You can’t change the past, but you can definitely change your future. Click To Tweet
And, I have a final bonus tip for you, that I learned from one of the most inspirational human beings I know – the #1 UK therapist Marisa Peer:
Remind yourself that you’re good enough every day.
What does this mean? Write it somewhere you can’t avoid seeing it, so that you don’t forget! Your whole life so far, you’ve been bombarded with negative beliefs about yourself. Naturally, it will take some time to reframe your brain. So, why not give it a little daily reminder?
Write ‘I’m enough’ on a post-it note and put it on the bathroom mirror, as a wallpaper on your phone, or as a little note on your bedside table. Whenever you look at it, remember why you wrote it in the first place. It may be weird at first but if you start believing that you are enough, you will start feeling it as well.
Remember: there are many other people that have similar struggles, you are not alone and you’ll get through it because you’re stronger than you think!