• Lisa

Just to let you all know the mind might as well be a member of the magic circle.

I was asked to write this piece by a reader as a follow on from my Loneliness blog. It was due to be published in June but I have experienced my own crisis of confidence so it’s taken longer to write than I anticipated.

No matter how hard we try, how successful we are, or how many barriers we overcome it will still not be enough, we still strive for more and continue to compare ourselves to others. I am unable to recollect one person that I know who hasn’t struggled with feelings relating to being ‘good enough’ at one time or another. The fact is we are all individuals, and we are all ‘good enough’ just as we are! But as we step out into the world we easily lose sight of that (myself included). This is evermore apparent as the world becomes more social media driven (see the end of the post for articles relating to the impact of social media and marketing on mental health.) This is as a result our own insecurities, our past, popular culture, and the desire to fit in.

Your mind is a great magician but it doesn't always do what is right by you.

I was always told as a child that lying was something I shouldn’t do nor should it be tolerated. If only I knew then what I know now, - that my own brain will be the greatest liar I would ever encounter. The brain can be just a tad lazy, it loves a good shortcut and as a result, makes many assumptions, manipulates, and massively jumps to conclusions because of fear and based on past experiences, filtering information that's inclusive of our own personal biases and perceptions rather than that of logic and fact. There's one thing for sure, it doesn’t do you any favours when self-doubt takes hold.

Feelings of worthlessness, inferiority, inadequacy, and generally not being good enough can become debilitating because they lead us to question ourselves, creating a negative cycle of thought but we don't realise it, which in turn leads to imposter syndrome, which impacts upon self-esteem, our motivation, feelings relating to our competence, low mood, feelings of powerlessness, feelings of hopelessness and a desire to isolate oneself from others amongst other things. We can’t get away from the fact that the brain is wired in order for us to survive which means it gives meaning to everything and not necessarily in a positive way. There's nothing to say though that we can stop and challenge them, it's just very rarely we do. A good starting point might be to ask yourself “why am I not feeling good enough, what's going on for me right in this moment? Am I being objective? Once we are in a position to identify and unravel what we are feeling we can shift our thinking, break the self-defeating cycle and begin to feel ‘good enough’ once again.

Negative self talk

You know what? Our biggest demon can often be our own head. Negative self talk consists of all those little conversations we have with ourselves throughout each day, those that involve rumination and self-blame and therefore limit your belief in yourself and have the power to stop you from thriving and reaching your full potential.

The truth is we are often harder on ourselves than we are on others. With that in mind, let's try and reframe your thoughts. I am going to ask you a question now…

Would you speak to your best mate or someone else that you love the way you speak to yourself? Would you speak to them in the same toxic manner that you speak to yourself? If the answer is no then try and afford yourself the same courtesy and speak to yourself with compassion, maybe, incorporating daily affirmations.

Affirmations are positive statements that reinforce your skills and strengths and values diminishing the feeling of hopelessness or powerlessness, some examples include:

  • I've got this

  • I give myself permission to do what is right for me.

  • I love my ability to...

  • I learn valuable lessons from myself every day

  • I make a difference in the world just by existing

  • I am working on rising above my thoughts that are trying to make me angry or afraid

  • I accept myself for who I am

  • I belong in this world; there are people that care about me and my worth.

  • My past might be ugly, but I am still beautiful.

  • I am human, I have made mistakes but they do not define me

  • I don’t compare myself to others. The only person I compare myself to is the person I was yesterday. And as long as the person I am today is even the tiniest bit better than the person I was yesterday—I’m meeting my own definition of success.

  • Note to self: I am going to make you so proud.

  • I am good enough, this is enough

  • At times it may not be obvious but I am learning everyday

A quote for you

Language shapes our behaviour and each word we use is imbued with multitudes of personal meaning. The right words spoken in the right way can bring us love, money and respect, while the wrong words—or even the right words spoken in the wrong way – can lead a country to war. We must carefully orchestrate our speech if we want to achieve our goals and bring our dreams to fruition.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, Words Can Change Your Brain

Limiting self beliefs

Limiting beliefs are inaccurate beliefs we have about ourselves that can create havoc with our mental health. They prevent us from striving forward, achieving our goals or going for what we want. Whilst these limiting beliefs can be formed at any point in our lives they are often formed during childhood as a result of wanting to fit in or having to behave in a certain way in order to gain the approval of those that look after us. Abandonment also has the ability to impact too but I think that along with attachments is a blog post or two in themselves. These limiting beliefs are often subtle but boy do they linger. Even as adults we all have an inner child that is still impacted by the experiences of our childhood. I remember once, I was in year 4 at school and we had to do a spelling test relating to shapes. I was trying to keep up and as a result of rushing and doubting myself, I spelt words like pentagon and hexagon with gun instead of gon on the end. When the teacher had marked all the tests she used my examples in order to shame me, sniggering which then caused the majority of the class to laugh. I wanted the ground to swallow me up and just remember thinking that this school malarkey wasn't all it was cracked up to be, especially if you couple that with the fact that my parents had to fight to get me into a mainstream school. This stuck with me throughout high school and sixth form, who knew that thirty odd years later with the right support and encouragement I’d be leaving uni with a first class degree, it’s an example of the powerful impact and longevity that somebody else's words and behaviour can have upon you. This still has the power to haunt me, more so when I am feeling low or find myself in a position where I may be judged by others… when writing these blogs or posting on my business social media accounts, for example. But if I do cock up it just proves that I’m human and nobody is infallible - I will get this proofread though.

The expectations of others and other external factors

There’s the line that if you hear something often enough you begin to believe it…well it's true, the reactions of others can impact upon our confidence. You might have been given some negative feedback during your monthly performance review, always picked last for teams in the playground, got a knockback from that job you applied for, fell to pieces during a presentation you were giving, which left you unable to enunciate words or even been ghosted by potential partners it's easy to think that you aren't good enough and that is before someone else comes out with a comment that feeds your self-doubt. In these situations I remind myself I can't control how anyone else behaves I try to remain mindful and in the moment rather than catasphrosing, reminding myself that everyone has opinions but it doesn't mean that they are facts, and that my own thoughts are just that - thoughts that I'm having in that particular moment. I try to focus on working on what I can control.

So what can we do? Try not to let your mind bully you!

Some techniques work better than others. It depends on you as an individual but when self-doubt begins to creep in and you are questioning whether you are good enough…

  • Try not to compare yourself to everyone else around you. The people you compare yourself to are likely to be comparing themselves to other folks too.

  • Your mind lies to you. Can your thoughts be reframed to offer a more balanced perspective?

  • Speak to yourself in the manner you speak to those you love.

  • Practice self-care and speak to yourself with compassion. This is even more important when you are feeling low.

  • Acknowledge the wins, no matter how small. So often we are quick to dismiss what we have overcome, the progression we have made and what we have achieved already.

  • There's more right with you than there is wrong with you. A wise man called Jon Kabat-Zinn: once said, “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.” You are human, nobody is infallible, there's beauty in that.

  • Distract yourself, because your thoughts will pass. Granted some linger longer than others but they will pass.

  • Don't bottle your thoughts up. Offload them, speak to someone or journal, it might offer you a different perspective.

  • Try to focus on yourself and what you need rather than trying to meet the expectations of others

  • Don't dismiss the negatives though, acknowledge them, wave at them passing by if you need to because if you do dismiss them then you are invalidating your own experiences.

  • Choose wisely when you want to confide in someone. A great support network works wonders but the feeling of being judged can be a sickener.

  • Consider counselling if you are struggling with how you are feeling

Final thoughts

It's important to remember that even if you are flying high and feeling great, the slightest knock to your confidence has the ability to impact upon your self-esteem, so please try and be kind to yourself!

It’s 2022. We all differ as human beings, we all have different opinions and your worth isn't based on what others think of you. Self expression and diversity should be embraced. You don’t need others to validate your experiences, you are worth it, just as you are. I could tell you till I'm blue in the face that you are good enough you might not believe me but it is true. When you don’t feel good enough remember, you are only seeing things from your own current perspective and your thoughts may be a little bit clouded by whatever is going on around you.

Embrace being you, and practice self-compassion because believe it or not you are ‘good enough’. The more we practice self-care, self-compassion and self -love the easier it becomes to believe that you are good enough!!

N.B. some articles that relate to self esteem and social media and marketing





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