“The antidote to not feeling good enough is self-acceptance.”
Our lack of self-acceptance becomes a problem when we start investing too much energy in ‘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.
Here are 3 steps that you can take to start healing from the past, feel good enough, and learn to be unapologetically yourself.
1. Where does ‘I’m not good enough’ come from?
Before we jump to any conclusions, 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, abusive, emotionally neglectful, or narcissistic parent, develops the idea that they have 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 their 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.
If you to dive deeper into the topic of self-acceptance, I’ve made an entire video on 5 of my favorite self-acceptance exercises:
2. Try out the ‘Two Chairs’ exercise
Disclaimer: If you’ve been diagnosed with mental illness or you’ve experienced severe trauma or abuse as a child, please seek the help of a therapist before trying this exercise, and skip to step number three.
If you really want to get unstuck from the past and finally begin to feel good enough regardless of your circumstances, then you need to try to forgive the person you associate this belief 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 who 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, embrace yourself, and lie down if you feel exhausted.
Now, it’s time to focus on step number 3:
3. Take good care of yourself
Taking good care of yourself means being able to identify what your needs are and take care of them. Sometimes, we don’t know how to properly take care of ourselves because growing up, we had to take care of everyone around us instead.
There are two ways to meet your needs: you can meet them yourself or with the help of other people. You can learn more about meeting your own emotional needs in this article.
But I need you to know that 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.You can’t change the past, but you can definitely change your future. Click To Tweet
BONUS tip: Remind yourself that you’re good enough daily
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 mindset. So, why not give it a 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.