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6 Reasons Why You Don’t Feel ‘Good Enough’


Tried positive thinking and affirmations? Read all the advice about self-confidence? But deep down, you still feel inadequate for some reason?

Having a low sense of self-worth usually stems from deep-rooted issues. If you were raised in a trauma-filled home, you might’ve grown up not knowing what your place Is in the world. However, the good news is, change is possible with some reflection and inner work.

What does ‘feeling good enough’ even mean?

Feeling good enough can sound like a foreign concept to survivors of childhood trauma that they struggle to understand. Being good enough means that—

  • You’re enough just as you are, flaws and all. 
  • You’re enough even if you aren’t where you want to be yet. 
  • You’re enough and can continue to grow and change as a person because you aren’t here to prove yourself to anyone but yourself. 
  • You don’t need to become more valid or worthy of love.

Feeling good enough or worthy of love is vital to living a happy, healthy, and well-adjusted life. Otherwise, it could lead to experiencing issues with codependency, forming and maintaining unhealthy, toxic relationships with the wrong people. 

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Reasons why you may not feel ‘good enough’ 

1. You had a traumatic past.

The most common reason for not feeling good enough is experiencing childhood trauma. With a shattered sense of self-worth, a core belief that you can’t trust anyone, you felt responsible for what you endured, particularly if you’re a survivor of abuse. When it comes to kids, they often internalize the idea they are wrong and worthless, so they deserved it

As an adult, the lingering feelings of not being good enough eat away at you, and you will continue doing so until you can acknowledge, process, and accept what has happened in the past. 

2. Your hidden core beliefs are running the show. 

Your subconscious is stronger than you may perceive it to be, regardless of whether your thoughts are positive or negative. Low self-worth is inevitably connected to our underlying assumptions about the world, other people, and ourselves. Often, we mistake them for facts. 

For example, a parent who suddenly leaves their family one day without giving a reason. The child then evolves to understand that if somebody loves them, they leave. Even if the parent returns after a few days, the belief remains, and the child grows up not allowing anyone to get close to them, personally and romantically.

3. If you pay attention, your inner voice is actually judgemental and critical.

Listen to the thoughts that roam in your mind and the words you use towards yourself. Do you say nice things? Or are you judgmental and critical about the most minor mistakes? 

Speaking to yourself in a negative echo of the voices you heard from your parents growing up who used criticism and judgment to control and manipulate you when you were a child. The things adults used to say to you caused you to feel not good enough. Mindfulness is an excellent strategy for slowing those thoughts down enough so you can hear your authentic, inner voice more clearly. It’s about observing the thoughts as they arise and letting go of them without judgment.

4. You had critical, demanding, or aloof parents.

You could’ve had the most fantastic home in a good neighborhood and parents who are still together to this day. But maybe you didn’t get the approval that every child needs and desires. If your parents always wanted you to “do better,” be more athletic, a bit quieter, or if they favored your sibling, the message of “not being good enough” was evident. 

Kids naturally seek approval and love from their parents. So when need is, we learn to suffocate who we are and become the perfect child to receive acceptance. And in turn, we turn into adults who never experience a genuine sense of worth.

5. Your primary caregiver or parent couldn’t offer security and stability.

Kids need parents who can provide a sense of security. Some parents, however, are simply unable to be there for their kids when they need them to be. 

Whether it’s due to their unresolved trauma, mental health issues, or were in a toxic marriage that demanded most of their attention. If a parent is unwell, kids often feel the need to take on their happiness. If only you behaved in a certain way, did certain things, we’re a bit smarter or better, your parents would be okay. But that wasn’t your responsibility. Over time, this belief turns into codependency with an inner belief they aren’t good enough in some way, shape, or form.

6. You didn’t experience a secure attachment as a child.

Maybe you didn’t have a caregiver who could offer unconditional love and trust, or what is called ‘attachment’ in psychology. 

Attachment theory believes that a child needs unconditional love for the first seven years of life and the ability to trust their primary caregiver to form a secure attachment.Otherwise, we can have trouble trusting other people, ourselves, and have low self-esteem. This is also known as an anxious attachment.

It’s not always about the past

The environments and experiences of our childhood inevitably affect us in one way or another. But of course, there are always other factors. Some of us are born with a naturally more sensitive personality or experienced abusive relationships as a teenager.

At the end of the day, remind yourself that you did the best you could, and that will always be good enough. If you feel that you could benefit from additional support, consider working with a mental health professional. 

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