How to Cope with the Whispers in your Head that “You’re NOT Good Enough”

Alireza Zare
5 min readMay 21, 2021

Some foolproof ways to get rid of feelings of inadequacy

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Everyone goes through feelings of inadequacy from time to time, although such annoying feelings are more frequent for some of us. The fact is feeling inadequate is commonly experienced by all people, even by those we view as accomplished, gorgeous, prestigious, wise, wealthy, and perfect.

Such feelings of inadequacy can arise almost everywhere: When watching TV or reading a magazine, we feel we are out of shape or unattractive, nothing like the people in the movie or magazine. In a meeting, a conference or a classroom, we start feeling smaller and inferior to others when we realize how smarter, more eloquent and more participatory they are. At parties and in family gatherings, we see a couple who keep smiling at everyone, kissing one another every 2 or 3 minutes, dancing cheek to cheek as if they are happily married. When we hear neighbors playing with their kids in the yard enjoying their lives, and we’ve just had an argument with our children or spouse over a trivial matter, we think what a terrible parent we are. Or on the street, when we see other people driving luxury cars, while we are in a car as old as the mountains, we start feeling miserable as though we are lagging behind the whole world. The list of situations where we feel quite inadequate, substandard, belittled and not good enough can go forever.

What’s more, each of us has someone in our life who makes us feel inadequate, from parents, children, partners, or siblings to friends, colleagues, classmates or even strangers. They question our adequacy, criticize our behavior, and hold us responsible for the problems and crises, making us think that we do not measure up to our responsibilities or can’t meet certain standards.

A number of factors contribute to feelings of inadequacy, including childhood experiences, parental criticisms, mental conditions including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and posttraumatic stress. Moreover, the roles and responsibilities we assume as adults, especially when we are not well-prepared for them or the unrealistic goals we have set ourselves in these roles can perpetuate feelings of inadequacy.

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