How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough, Part 2

How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Not Good Enough, Part 2

 It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.  ~Sally Field

As I was checking my email today, I received a notification that a new comment had arrived on a post I did on this blog about how to stop feeling like you’re not good enough. This comment touched me so deeply that I felt the need to reach out to the commenter, Kate, and anyone else in her position.

Kate wrote:

I have been doing what that article recommends. Unfortunately, I’m feeling even more inferior every time. It is getting worse, day by day.

Now what?

The first thing I want Kate to know is that she’s not alone. According to Dr. Joe Rubino, approximately 85% of people have experienced feelings of inferiority at some time in their lives. That’s nearly EVERYONE. I realize that doesn’t make it all better, but sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can help one begin the healing process.

And, for Kate and anyone who feels like they’re not good enough, I’d like to offer a few more suggestions, in addition to the ones made in this post.

Remember That You Are Freaking Fabulous

If you hear a voice within you say “you cannot paint,” then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.  ~Vincent Van Gogh

Often times, when we feel like we’re not good enough, we are focusing on all of the things we think are ‘wrong’ with us. We worry that people won’t like us, or that they’ll think bad things about us. We feel like we don’t look good enough, that we’re not smart enough, that we’re just generally terrible people.

But what does this get us? More reasons to feel crappy about ourselves. So, I propose that we start focusing on the things we like about ourselves, the things that make us proud. Maybe you’re a good painter, or you can cook a perfect souffle, or you’ve never met an animal who doesn’t love you. Perhaps you have a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes or a great pair of legs. There is something special about every single person on the planet, and you’re no exception.

Sit down with a piece of paper and write down at least ten GOOD things about you. Write down things you love about your body (it gets you from point A to B, for example!), things you love about your personality (that sparkling wit of yours, maybe) and things you love about your life in general (you have good friends or a close-knit family, a roof over your head, etc.)

Then spend a few minutes feeling grateful for each thing on that list. Gratitude is a powerful tool, and when you focus and are grateful for the things you love in life, you draw more things to love into your life.

And Speaking of Gratitude

If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.  ~Frank A. Clark

Start a gratitude journal. You can even create a private blog for your gratitude journal, if you like. That’s what I did, since as a writer, I’m nearly always near a computer. Try to write in it each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated–just start each entry by saying “Today, I am so very grateful for…” and let it flow.

At first, it will feel a little awkward, but once you get going, it’ll flow like water. If you have trouble thinking of things to be grateful for, why not start with the fact that you woke up today and work from there. You can be grateful for your health, your senses, your friends and family, your home, your ability to read–the list goes on and on.

This practice alone can significantly improve your general outlook on life. And, as a nice little side effect, it can help to improve your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It works because as you spend more time focusing on the good things in your life and less time focusing on the things you want to change, the law of attraction works in your favor, bringing more reasons to feel good into your life.

Follow a Passion

“The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal, the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment.”~Earl Nightingale

Everyone has some thing or activity in their lives that they’re passionate about. For me, it’s writing. I have always known that I wanted to be a writer, and have followed that passion on some level for most of my life. The years I spent scribbling into a journal between meetings and writing corporate publications for the companies I worked for were a little tough, but I survived and lived to have the opportunity to follow my passion full-time.

One friend of mine  is passionate about helping animals. She blogs about animals, volunteers for the Humane Society and helps raise funds for animal rights and assistance groups. Another friend is passionate about helping kids–and after getting her Masters Degree in Social Work, she has become a school social worker. Both are very happy in their lives.

While you may not have the option to “quit your day job” right now, there’s nothing stopping you from finding and following your passion on the side. Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a fashion designer. You could start by doing some research and taking some classes. If you already know how to design patterns and sew, why not start making clothes? You can set up a cheap or free website and start selling.

Nothing wrong with starting small–just do SOMETHING to follow your passion, anything at all.  Give yourself permission to call yourself a fashion designer (or writer, or artist, or actor, or astronaut, or whatever you want to be.) And then go and do, be and have what you want!

Studies show that people who follow their passions, whether in their careers or just as a hobby, are significantly happier than people who don’t.

Judge Not

“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.” ~Deepak Chopra

Most people unconsciously judge others. It’s human nature, and it doesn’t make you a bad person–but it might make you feel like one. When you are focusing, consciously or otherwise, on the faults in other people, you’re going to be more likely to see them in yourself too. The best way to change this pattern is to begin intentionally finding something good in every single person you meet.

So, for every person in your life and every person you meet, find at least one thing about them that makes them special. And be free with the compliments. Even if you barely know a person, you can find SOMETHING to compliment them about–and not only will you make their day, you’ll walk away feeling good about yourself too. Remember, what you put out into the world is what comes back to you. So if you’re walking around finding good and beautiful things and sharing the love by freely passing out compliments? You’ll find that you’re attracting the same back to yourself–beauty, love, compliments–and ultimately, a renewed sense of self.

To Kate

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.  ~David Brinkley

I hope that these suggestions help you as you move into a new place of peace and self worth. Know that you are worthy, you are special and you are an amazing person. Even (and especially) when you feel at your lowest, try to change your perception and see the beauty and good things all around you. Be grateful for your life, for your SELF, and for all of the good things in your life.

I have been where you are, Kate, and I know the pain and despair that comes with feeling like you’re not good enough. Nearly every person alive has felt just like you feel now. The trick is to decide that you don’t WANT to feel that way any more, and to start taking action to change it. And then, Kate, you have to BELIEVE that you can have the life you want. Believe it and trust that its yours, and watch as your life begins to transform itself to match your true divine desires. Keep your eye on the prize, my friend, it can and will get better!

And to the rest of my readers, have you ever felt like Kate feels? What sort of advice would you offer to a friend in her situation? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

Keep Your Gavel to Yourself: How to Deal With Being Underestimated

Keep Your Gavel to Yourself: How to Deal With Being Underestimated

“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~Wayne Dyer

Have you ever been in a situation where someone has underestimated you in some way?

Whether the offender misjudged your intelligence, your abilities or your strength, how did it make you feel?

Did you begin to believe that person was right, or did you feel defensive or angry because you knew he (or she) were wrong?

Nearly everyone has been on the receiving side of an unfair judgment. People judge you on your looks, your age, your weight, your financial (and parental) status, your address, your religion, your career choices (or lack thereof)–the list goes on and on.

This is especially true if they don’t know you personally, but it can even happen within families and friendships.

Even people who have high levels of self-esteem can find themselves feeling frustrated when they’re misjudged–but those who sometimes feel like they’re not good enough anyway can really struggle with feelings of inadequacy if the right insult gets hurled their way.

So how do you deal with people who underestimate you or misjudge you?

Let It Roll Off Your Back

In some situations, you can just ignore the person because you’ll never see or deal with them again. For example, if you’re at a clothing store and a salesperson or fellow customer makes a rude comment to or about you–it can be really upsetting. But if you think about it, once you leave that store, you may literally never see those people again.

And remember, you get to decide who has the power in this situation, so claim it! Don’t give some stranger the power to ruin your day–choose to be happy instead. (And if it helps you, remember that whole “the best revenge is living well” thing.)

Prove Yourself. Or Not.

If the underestimator is someone you know personally, you’ve got some choices to make. If it’s important to you to change that person’s mind about you, then try to do it through actions rather than words.

Don’t confront him or her or try to defend yourself–if you’re being underestimated, the judger is not likely to actually listen to you anyway and you’ll grow more irritated when they won’t hear you or acknowledge the validity of what you’re saying. That’s just inviting negativity into your life.

But really, you need to first get comfortable with yourself, and who you really want to be. When you are comfortable in your own skin–mentally, physically and emotionally–you aren’t likely to feel the need to prove yourself anyway.

When It Hurts

Sometimes, being underestimated can hurt, especially in personal and professional situations. Whether it hurts your feelings or your pocketbook, it can make you feel badly about yourself and/or the people and situations in your life.

The most important thing to do when this happens is to keep it in perspective–are the people who are judging or underestimating you perfect? It’s highly unlikely. Everyone has flaws–and in most cases, one man’s flaw is another man’s treasure.

Embrace yourself and remember that you are perfectly YOU–and that’s really all that matters.

Even though it’s easy to feel negatively when you get judged unfairly, you’re only hurting yourself by doing that. Remember that what you put out into the world comes back to you–like attracts like, so if you’re feeling like you’re unfairly judged all the time, you definitely will be.

Remember too that people who feel the need to constantly judge and belittle others are most likely insecure in themselves in one way or another. That means there’s something wrong with them–not you.

You’re Not Alone

Like I said, nearly everyone has been in this situation. Take me for example. I once worked with someone who seemed to think I wasn’t smart enough to pour myself a cup of coffee, let alone actually do the job I’d been hired to do.

I’ll admit, it really pissed me off–especially because I knew for a fact that I was more experienced and capable than this person. I felt like telling her exactly what I thought of her, too.

And–another admission–I was not having very many nice thoughts of her after she blatantly misjudged me without even asking me who I was and what I could do. (She made an incorrect ASSumption. And you know what happens when people ASSume right?)

But even though I had a strong emotional reaction to this behavior, I stepped back and took a logical look at the situation. If I were to blow up and do the diarrhea of the mouth thing, it would very negatively affect my career–and certainly that particular job.

So, I decided to change my mind, and I managed to maintain a professional and fairly friendly relationship with this person, despite my personal feelings. And eventually, she got the clue that I knew what I was doing. We actually became “work friends,” even.

And, for me, making peace and finally being recognized for my abilities was a far better alternative to blowing up and ruining the chance that it would ever happen. The moral of the story? Think before you speak–and don’t let the bastards get you down. 🙂

So how about you? Have you ever felt misjudged or underestimated? How did you deal with it? Tell me your story in the comments!

I Sing At Stoplights and I Don’t Care Who Knows It

I Sing At Stoplights and I Don’t Care Who Knows It

I’m the sort of person who sings in the car. I don’t mean just humming along, either. I’m talking about a full-on karaoke-style concert from the front seat. But today, as I was out running errands, I noticed something. If I’m at a stoplight or in an otherwise closely populated area where people might catch me singing, I stop.

When I noticed it today, I asked myself why I did this. Was it because I was embarrassed that people might see me singing? Was I afraid that someone would make fun of me?

After thinking about it for a moment, I realized: This was a “leftover” behavior from the days when I cared what people I’d probably never speak to or engage with thought about me. Now, don’t get me wrong–I still want to give people a good impression and I do still care what people who are important to me think (at least to some extent.) But I don’t mind if people know I’m happy or that I like music–and that’s all anyone could technically infer if they did happen to catch me singing behind the wheel.

That’s why today, I decided that I am now the type of person who sings at stoplights.

I don’t know if its because I’m getting…more mature…or if it’s a growth thing, but the more time passes, the more comfortable I feel being who I am when I’m out in the world. Instead of always pretending to be what society or other people think I need to be, I just present myself as I am–and if people give me funny looks or turn their noses up, I no longer take it personally. Instead, I just smile at them and understand that their problem is something within themselves–not with me. More often than I expect, they smile back at me.

I’ve realized that focusing on the positive things, people and events in my life, along with giving myself permission to be my true self in every situation, has made me feel happier overall. And by the law of attraction, happiness breeds more happiness. Worrying about what someone in the grocery store or in the car next to me thinks about me is just a waste of my time and energy.

The best part, I think, is that when I learned to stop focusing on the negative things people thought or said about me and started looking at the good things people said/thought/felt about me, more of those good things came toward me. And those negatives? They’re hardly even there these days. (And if there are/were any, I wouldn’t pay attention to them anyhow.)

Now, I base my opinion of myself not on what other people think, but on what I think. What a concept. As it turns out, I’m pretty cool–even though I sing in the car.

So what about you? Do you feel comfortable enough with who you are to sing at stoplights? Tell me in the comments!

Image Credit: Aka Hige/Flikr

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Making Sense of the Eternal Internal Struggle

Making Sense of the Eternal Internal Struggle

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes. ~Sally Field

How many times have you not followed your heart because you were worried about what other people might think? How often have you avoided doing something you truly wanted to do because you couldn’t stand the idea that other people would judge you?

Have you based your major life choices on your own desires, or have you allowed other people to influence you? Do you have regrets because you have given someone else the power to make decisions in your life, whether directly or indirectly? Have you chosen your job, a partner or your home because someone else thought you should? 

You’re Not Alone

Most everyone has, at one time or another, made a choice in their lives that was based on someone else’s opinion. And while there are certainly times when it’s appropriate to do so, there are plenty of times that we regret not following our own intuition.

The difference is this: when you accept the advice of someone else because you feel that it’s right for you, you’re following your own gut and can consider it inspired action–but when you bend to someone else’s will to please them (despite your own feelings), you’re shortchanging yourself in the happiness department.

Why Do We Care What Other People Think, Anyway?

It’s human nature to care what other people think. From infancy, we learn that when we do what someone else wants us to do, they’re happy with us–and that feels good. As we get older and learn to make the occasional unpopular decision, we are sometimes shocked to learn that some people actually seem to stop being nice to us when we don’t follow their “advice” for living.

But ultimately, we care what people think because we are taught to base our identities on the messages they give us. When our parents tell us we’re good for following their rules, for example, we begin to feel that we need to follow the rules to be good. When our kindergarten teachers scold us for coloring outside the lines, we begin to feel that unless we “stay inside the lines,” we’re wrong.

We take the messages that we hear from others about ourselves every day of our lives, and we internalize them–to such an extent that we find ourselves dependent on the approval of others for our own self worth.


Should We Just Stop Caring?

Of course, this is a two sided coin. While we certainly need to learn to follow our hearts and our own intuition toward inspired action and to make our own life choices, there are times we need to follow the rules. For example, to be productive members of society, we need to follow certain societal norms–at the very least, we have to follow the laws of the land.

And, the fact of the matter is, most of us aren’t able to just “turn off” caring about what others, especially those we care about, think about us and our choices. We don’t want to become cold and immune to the emotions of others, but we want to be happy. To be happy, we must make our own choices, follow our own divine inspiration for what we want our lives to be. At the end of the day, we’re the ones who must live with the decisions we make.

So where does this leave us? Are we doomed to an eternal internal struggle? How do we start taking charge of our own lives and stop letting the judgments and opinions of others dictate our choices? What do you think?

Next Up: How to Stop Caring What People Think (Without Looking Like a Huge Jerk)



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