About Feeling "Not Good Enough"
… what feeling I am referring to?
Everyone I have spoken to - regardless of gender, age, culture, religious belief, profession, education or social status - undeniably acknowledges experiencing feelings of being not good enough in practically every aspect of their life, be it family, intimate relationships, friendships, work, career, and other social interactions. It is also something I have noted been expressed and referred to by famous Hollywood personalities, sports stars, business leaders and other “supposedly successful” people – depending how one’s definition success. Some of these people have said how despite all they have achieved, they still experience a feeling of “emptiness”, something missing within. An emptiness that drives many to want and do more in an effort to fill and satisfy this feeling. This has also resulted in many being driven to alcoholism, drug abuse and even untimely death ... without eliminating “… that feeling.”
Do you perhaps also identify with that feeling and belief?
If you have read about my journey in the About section, you will have read how I by chance discovered that underlying my feelings and belief of being not good enough, was a deeper fundamental belief which I have labelled the MOULD (My Own Unique Life Driver).
The MOULD is nothing mystical, or “buried” so deep within to require any major therapy or self-discovery. As a primary driving force for what you do in your everyday life, it is something you experience and are constantly aware of most of the time, if not all the time. The only difficulty you face in identifying it is your own resistance to acknowledge it for what it is. This can be overcome simply by accepting and acknowledging it as one’s reality.
What you are dealing with and looking at is your perception of how you see yourself in the eyes of other people; what you think and believe they think and feel about you; what you want them to believe about you; how you want them to see you; what you are wanting to prove to them so as to be accepted and loved – especially in the eyes of your parents … and more with one than the other.
If you are considering or have decided to undertake the journey to identify and eliminate your own feelings and belief of being not good enough – your MOULD, the processes described in this article will assist you achieve this. Should you decide not to undertake this exercise, that’s ok. You might still relate and/or identify with the various principles of the MOULD which forms the base of the articles in my website/blog and Public Figure page in FB.
Let me be clear up front. This journey will require you do some introspective work. Perhaps even some emotionally painful work which you might resist and even want to reject from working through. Of course, the choice is yours. My recommendation, naturally, is that you to resist any idea or temptation to quit. Instead, welcome the opportunity and “force” yourself – if that’s what it takes – to see it through. I assure you that the end results will be worth it; they will be beyond anything you can even begin to imagine.
This exercise however does not necessarily have or need to be a painful experience. It wasn’t for me. On the contrary, for me it was an amazing and enlightening experience. Sure, some people I have facilitated have experienced and worked through some emotional pain. But in the end, as the life-long burdens they carried shifted, they experienced relief, release and enlightenment.
Listed below are some fundamental beliefs (MOULDs) of people I have facilitated through this process. It is important that you do not get “locked” into these examples. It is of critical value that you experience and identify your own even if you should identify with one or more of these. Our MOULD is unique and personal. Even if two or more persons happen to use the exact same words, it is what theirs means to them that is important. The MOULD therefore is not about the words, it is about the meaning for the person.
I am unlovable
I cannot be loved
I am nothing
On the face of it, the first two beliefs appear to mean the same thing. The experience and meaning for the respective individuals however was completely different. The same applies to the third. A number of people have identified this but each have had different experiences and therefore has meant something different to each person.
To give you an idea of what you are looking for about yourself, I list below some fundamental beliefs of the people I have worked with.
"I do not exist"
"I do not belong"
"I am not wanted"
"I am a mistake"
"I am not loved"
"I am a nobody"
“I should never have been born"
“I shouldn’t be here”
To reiterate, be sure not to take the easy way out by simply identifying with some or any one of these – even if you can. You must work through your own reality and experience. And as I have described in my personal experience in the About section, this is not necessarily a difficult exercise or process.
Also, this process is not about accepting and/or justifying why things have been the way they have, or why your life has been the way it has. This is not about what or how you would have or would like things to be or not to be; about what is good or bad, positive or negative; whether your parents did (or not) the best they could.
This is only about identifying what is for you. No judgements, blame, or “what shoulds”. Only through that will it be possible for you to identify your truth and create the shift you deserve for your life. Otherwise, you will continue to operate and live in a state of illusionary reality; and as a victim of your circumstances.
There are two ways you can do this exercise.
The first option is to do it in personal “solitude”, quietness, silence, free from interruptions. The experiences I describe in this option are based on the people I have facilitated both in private sessions or a workshop environment. Your experience may be different. That is ok. It is how it should be because each of us are unique. This is not a one size fits all process. One of the challenges you might face is to be real and honest with yourself about your experience. And that is because we can be very unreal with ourselves about real honesty ... hence why I prefer the term real instead of honest; be real about yourself.
The silence process can be very effective. However, should you struggle with it, use the alternative writing exercise – it is how I uncovered mine so I know it works.
Exercise – in silence
In this process you will be asked to review your relationship with your parents. Ok, this might already trigger feelings of how things are between you – either cosy and rosy, or, you may not want to “go there” for any reason whatsoever. Whichever it may be for you, park such thoughts for the moment and work with me if you truly want to identify and eliminate your unique fundamental belief (your MOULD).
If you know you are adopted and do not know your biological parents (or do know of them), how has this effected you? For example, might you be wondering why they gave you up? How do you feel about your situation? Take careful note of your true and real feelings and belief about this. Don’t simply brush it away as if it does not matter – maybe it does more than you ma want to believe.
It is also important that you understand that this exercise is not intended to judge or assess your parent’s feelings and behaviours toward you. Your focus must be solely on identifying your own innermost feelings of what you feel, perceive and believe. I cannot emphasize this enough. This is about you, not your parents. This is also not about what you believe they might feel or think about you; or how you would have liked or wanted things to be. This is only about what you truly feel and experience with respect of what you believe your parents think and feel about you.
In working through this, some people experience their stomach getting into knot, or a stirring in their solar plexus, a tightening, as they become aware of their fundamental belief. At this point let it be so. Do not resist, suppress or fight against it; nor negate it. Aim instead to make that pain bigger, let it grow, let it take over your whole body if necessary. You do not want to escape this moment. When you feel like you cannot contain the pain any longer, release and let go of it by writing your statement on a piece of paper with all the emotion and/or “passion” you experience. If you experience anger, frustration, tears and/or any other such emotions, use these to drive your expression of what it means to you as you write it; do not hold back on any emotions or feelings you experience in getting it out of your system.
You should not be writing sentences to describe your belief. It only requires a simple statement of what it is – as shown by the examples above. Lengthy, descriptive explanations will detract you from owning your belief for what it really is for you.
Note: You might find it difficult to accept and acknowledge your fundamental belief because you fear it represents who you really are; because you want to believe that you are better than this, that you are ok, that you feel this because of your childhood experiences etc. You must not resist or fight this. Denying yourself this reality will not allow you to shift from this position and shake off the “bondage” this ties you to to life as a victim of your circumstances.
Once you have written it, repeat it two, three, four times or more to yourself until you feel you have owned it – this is generally followed by experiencing a sense of release, lightness and calmness.
If you feel the need or urge, I would encourage you to even SHOUT IT OUT if that is how you feel as you write it – some people find this helpful; a cathartic moment of release. Whatever you do, whether it be a quiet sense of realisation and internalisation or a screaming out loud proclamation, make sure that in accepting and acknowledging your fundamental belief you empty and release yourself completely of everything it means for you. Own it as your truth.
Right, with the scene set, let’s get on with the process.
Close your eyes. Visualise your mother and father standing in front of you – the two people, biological, adopter or foster, whom you consider as your parents and feel have had the greatest impact on your life, in raising you. Next, connect with your feelings about their relationship with you as your parents. To reiterate, this is about how YOU perceive and feel their relationship is towards you. Ask yourself the following two questions:
Q. Do you feel loved by your mother – in the way you really want it to be?
Q. Do you feel loved by your father – in the way you really want it to be?
Allow your real and true feelings and beliefs to talk to you; connect and listen to your automatic gut feeling reactions triggered by these question; allow yourself to experience whatever emotions may well up for you. Identify your truth.
Should you feel and/or believe that you do not feel truly loved by either of them or that you feel loved equally by both, consider whether you feel even a small degree of difference between them, or whether you feel the need to prove yourself and be accepted more by one than the other.
Identify the one you feel loved by more and release them.
Next, focus on the remaining parent. How do you see yourself in their eyes; what is your perception and belief of what they think of you being in their life?
Have you felt the need to prove yourself to them so as to get their recognition, acceptance and love? Have you ever succeeded? If not, why not – your views and belief?
What is the automatic and/or immediate answer you feel coming up for you?
Is it like any of the ones listed below? Do not consider these as “prescriptive” in any way as your own unique one may not be listed here:
I am not wanted
I am in the way
I am a nothing
I am insignificant
I am useless
I should not have been born
As I have stated, this is about you uncovering your own unique fundamental belief. Your own realness is what is of critical importance. It is about what it means to you and how it has affected your life. Even if you should identify with any of the above statements, it is still not your own so do not take the easy way out by adopting any of these. It will not serve for you.
State your fundamental belief: ................................................................... (my MOULD)
If you have owned your MOULD, you will likely experience a sense of relief, a lifting of a burden, an inner calmness and peacefulness.
Now close your eyes again and take some time to experience and observe what goes past your mind’s eye about your life. Observe your thoughts, your “pictures”. What you are likely to observe and realise is how your fundamental belief has been the driving force for the way you have shaped and MOULDed your life; how you compromised yourself to get recognition and acknowledgement; how you by compromising you self-sabotaged yourself by giving up on what was important for you; how you blamed others for making you feel not okay; how you passed judgment on others in order to prove rightness in your effort to gain recognition and acceptance; how you made your ok’ness dependent on your circumstances; how when your expectations were not met you blamed others and/or everything else.
For this you need to set aside time to be on your own. I recommend that you hand write this exercise rather than using a technical device. If you use a pencil, don’t erase anything, it is not necessary. I cannot prescribe how much time this might or should take as it is an individual requirement. I will, however, recommend that you set aside chunks of time. An hour probably being a minimum. Tell those around you to respect your need for quietness and privacy and that you are not to be interrupted unless it is an emergency. Do not set yourself a maximum time limit for any session. Instead, end each session when you feel ready to stop and not because of time. An important point to remember is that you are not writing a novel or an educational text book where grammar, spelling, flow of text etc. have to follow the rules of the English language. You are also not writing something aimed at impressing anyone. Write this as your confidential personal diary – write to yourself, pour out your heart to yourself about everything.
I found that quantity, quality of grammar, style or structure of your writing (how you write) is not a requisite to produce results. Unless you are naturally a person with eloquent grammatical skill of expression. My recommendation is that you write about your experiences and feelings with whatever level of abandonment suits you best. Express and write about your feelings, beliefs and (the) why you behaved the way you did (or still do) and why you made the decisions you did (or still do) in your life.
What do you write about? Life events as they pop into your mind in whatever order – past/present/past. Also, write:
in the first person; if it helps, start your sentences with, "I"
about yourself as if you are speaking to yourself. Talk about your emotions, feelings and what you experienced as if they are happening to you NOW.
and re-live the event you are writing about. Express all your thoughts, emotions and feelings you are experiencing. Ask yourself and answer such questions as, “What did I do? Did I really want to do it? Why did I do it? What would I have preferred to do instead? Why did I not do what I really wanted to do?”
It’s very important that you do not justify the reasons for your decisions, actions or behaviour. The objective is to uncover the underlying reality. For example, (say, you are married):
Question: Did I really want to get married?
Question: Why did I get married?
Answer: I didn’t want to hurt my partner; feared what others would say and think of me if I had called it off; wanted to be loved; would have upset my parents … and so you keep going till you get to your bottom line on this event
Following that, ask yourself: “why do I fear feeling hurt by wanting to follow my heart’s true desire, why do I compromise?; why am I concerned about what others think of me; what do I fear about upsetting my parents? This sequence of questions and answers will likely lead to another string of events or situations for you to write about. As these come up, address them:
openly and honestly by pouring out your most heartfelt feelings and/or desires onto your paper. Do not hold anything back. Be aware of any fears that might creep in and if they do, write about them – what are they, what do you experience about them, etc. Tell it as it is for YOU without fearing that you may hurt someone, or that you should not be thinking or feeling like that. It is what it is; get it out of “your system”
so truthfully and realistically that in fact you would not want anyone else to read what you have written – this is an excellent measure of how truthful you are being
in a manner that exposes your real innermost feelings about your life
without judging anything as stupid, inconsequential, frivolous, whether it is wrong or right. Just write everything down as you experienced it at the time or are experiencing it now
without holding back or suppressing any emotions or feelings of each event – especially if you can re-live it in the now. If anything, allow your emotions and feelings to spur you on to write all you experience and/or whatever may get triggered in you as you write
Most important: You are not telling or writing a story about your life as if you were either not there or just an observer. Write down your life experiences as they were and/or are like for example:
If you decided to do something you preferred not to have done, what fears did you want to avoid facing if you were not to do them?
Did you perhaps compromise out of fear of the possible consequences and how you would have felt if you had not compromised?
What do you experience and feel when you do something that goes against your wishes, your gut feeling, your better judgement?
To assist you further with this process, consider the prompts below. These are in no specific order. You may also find that you can address several points as a single question. Once again, these must not be considered in any way as being limiting or exhaustive.
I shall use the first prompt to demonstrate how I worked the process for myself. It is important that you do not fall into the trap of justifying things based on your belief of what, why or how things should be or are. For example, if you feel unloved by your father or mother, just accept it as that. This has nothing to do with whether or not they actually loved you, or not. This exercise is not about them. If you do that, you will end up justifying to yourself why you have a right to feel and believe what you do. And that will block you from dealing with your reality. Here are my prompts:
(I am using this first one as an example) ...
did you do things to please your parents? (example answer: “Yes.” Then look at WHY you did this (possible answer) “Because I did not want to upset them.” Now look at WHY it was important to you not to upset them (possible answer) “I feared they would not love me.” Next step consider WHY you believe they would not love you (possible answer) “Because they did not want me.” Next ask yourself WHY you feel and believe you were not wanted…and so you go on until you get to your bottom line.
Use the rest below as a guide for your own exercise:
did you go against your parents’ wishes?
did you conform to social standards?
how important was/is it for you to please others?
is it important for you to be accepted? If not why not?
is the way you dress and look important to you?
did you have pre-marital sex? If you did why did you? If you didn’t or haven’t, why not?
write openly about your sex life, your views on sex, your beliefs, fears, attitudes on your sex life and whether or not that is what you really feel within. Be clear between what you want to believe and what you really feel or would want. Then consider why you don’t take a stand for what you really want.
what are your expectations of your family?
(if you have children) Why did you have them? Did you really, really want them?
what are your expectations of other people—socially, career wise etc. and why?
what of your life's dreams? Did you give up on them? If so, why?
Keep going with whatever else comes up for you.
By the end of this exercise, if not during, you are likely to see a pattern develop of the decisions you have made to compromise to avoid experiencing the possible emotional consequences you may have had to face by not compromising. This represents your fear of the possible consequences.
If you have not detected your pattern during completing the exercise, go back and read what you have written focusing on identifying and understanding the fundamental reasons for compromising. Be careful not to fall into the trap of justifying your reasons because it is what we are taught and expected to do. Then answer the following two questions with a simple statement, or a single word without giving reasons or justifications:
Q. Why do you give up on what you really want?
Q. Why do you do something you would prefer not to do?
From this it should emerge how you have compromised for the sake of being accepted; for fear of the possible consequences; fear of rejection; to negate and satisfy your feelings and belief of being “not good enough”. If you have identified your unique belief, write it here:
My fundamental belief is:
Note: as I have already explained above with the Exercise in Silence, be aware of any resistance of not wanting to acknowledge what is real for you.
It should be clear from all these things how you have, in fact, been the root source and cause of your own emotional pain in life.
Whenever you are faced with any situation where you suddenly experience that feeling of needing to compromise for the sake of being accepted, or out of fear of being rejected, you might want take another trip back to review this article.