During my drive to the office today, I found myself thinking about something I wanted to do, and then the very next thought, which really came out so quickly it was more like an overlapping thought which didn’t let the other one even breathe before it spurted out, was that I wasn’t good enough to do that thing that I wanted to do.

I witnessed myself thinking these things and said “how sad”. I pictured a list inside my mind that contains all of the ways I am not good enough. And I pictured that list inside all of the other minds of all of the other people driving their cars along I25 Northbound to work this morning. We are connected, in this seemingly mindless daily commute, by many things. One of them is this “Why I’m not Good Enough” list. It’s insidious, permeating our mind and heart in ways we don’t even know about.

What’s on your list? Is it mostly about your body, your success, your intellect, your ability to love and be loved? Are you aware of your list a lot, or is it pretty subtle most of the time?

Whatever the reality is for you, everything in my experience tells me this is a healthy start:

Be aware of your “Why I’m Not Good Enough” list.

It helps me to recognize that most everyone has one–that gives me great compassion for myself and for people around me.

Realize that the length and intensity of your own list is directly related to the length and intensity of your complaints about other people.

Not only that, but the biggest judgements that I’ve had about myself (that I’m unattractive, undisciplined, irresponsible, etc.) are often the very ones that I react to the most in people I know. By the way, if you have a hard time identifying your own list, pay attention to what really pisses you off about the people in your life. That might give you some clues.

Compose a different list–one that’s full of the qualities that you love about yourself.

We know it’s pretty impossible to solve a problem from the level of the problem. We need to pull some good juju from somewhere to help us face the hard stuff.

With the confidence and self-appreciation generated from that new list, look at your list of “Why I’m Not Good Enough” and do some emotional work with it.

If you have some emotional growth tools already, do some independent work to look into what might have happened to create those wounds. Or seek helps from a therapist, coach, or spiritual teacher. I personally offer Shadow Work coaching because I have found it a great way to transform limiting long-held beliefs about myself.

Pay attention to see if any items on your list are trying to tell you something useful about your next step.

I have wounds about not being fit and attractive that come from my past, but I think those things are also on my list because who I AM really wants to be healthy and beautiful. I have done emotional work about where the unhealthy patterns started, and can see myself as beautiful and lift the shame of my body-image. That doesn’t mean my unhealthy physical state is excused. It can be transformed, and is being transformed.




2 Responses to The “Why I’m Not Good Enough” List

  1. Jackie T says:

    I love it. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as well. Not as much as a community-building, connectivity sort of way, but… I’ve noticed it in other people recently and it actually helped me to cope with my own doubts and insecurities. Instead of this being something that I’m alone in, that I should feel bad about, it’s just a little quirk that I can work with or let it work me over.
    Personally, I’ve done work with cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectic behavior therapy (basically CBT plus the mindfulness of zen). It’s all about recognizing those thought patterns, and allowing yourself to note them. Then work to think of evidence to the contrary. (For example, “I’m not smart enough.” Well, I’ve gotten this far in life, past these tests, etc etc). So that later on, when these thoughts occur, as they sometimes will, you can recognize, recognize the evidence against those negative thoughts and slowly decrease those negative thought patterns.
    I love what you said about noting what frustrates you in others! This has definitely been true with me 🙂 I’ve also found that (part of mindfulness) taking some deep breaths and reminding myself that one, in ten years, this annoyance will be nothing, so why am I making something of it now? I’ve also found that if I engage with the person frustrating me, my frustration always decreases.

    Thanks for sharing. You are beautiful <3

  2. HelenaAnn says:

    Hi Jackie. Thank you so much for your heart felt response. I know that CBT and Dialectic Behavior Theory are excellent ways of helping to change these habitual patterns. So much is about being mindful, as you say, which zen certainly teach us.
    Thanks for adding the tip to remember the context, and focus on the largeness of our being, which is so far beyond current frustrations!
    I look forward to hearing more from you. Many Blessings.

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