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Not Feeling Good Enough

by Alicia Brunskill 3 years ago in list
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How it gets in your way.

Image by Adrian Stuart and Alicia Brunskill

I spend a lot of time paralysed by a voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough or not worthy to follow my ambitions. Some days I lose hours battling with it to get the simplest of things done and it often leaves me wishing I had an off switch for my brain or a way to completely check out of thinking for a while.

In the past, I didn’t realise that it was an idea or a thought that was passing through my head, it used to feel like a truth that everyone else knew; that I just wasn’t good enough. I really started to gauge the impact this voice has had on my life once I recognised it as an intrusive thought that I didn’t have to believe—although it’s still very hard not to listen a lot of the time.

I’ve made a list of some of the ways that not feeling good enough has got in the way of me living my life and has left me treading water in limbo instead.

Here it is:

  • it stops me saying yes—even when I know deep down that I can do something, doubt clouds my judgement
  • it stops me saying no—it makes me feel like I don’t have a right to say no or that I’m an awful person if I do
  • it makes me underestimate my own abilities and write myself off from opportunities without even giving them a chance because I assume that I won’t be good enough
  • it makes me constantly put myself down (mostly me to myself in my own thoughts but it creeps out in conversation too)
  • it makes me insecure about things I know —I end up double-checking things I know because I doubt myself (it’s exhausting and time consuming)
  • I feel arrogant talking about my strengths when asked if I can do something or if I’m good at something because I don’t feel like I have a right to say that I can do it—this can escalate further if I’m feeling really insecure, I’ll feel like I need to justify why I’m saying that I’m good at something, which can sound like boasting, but really it’s just me being very insecure and feeling like no one could believe that I could be good at whatever it is without some kind of proof
  • I doubt that I can do something, even if I’ve managed to do it successfully many times before
  • I assume that everyone is better than me (at things and as people) or that they have skills I simply couldn’t ever possess no matter how hard I work
  • sometimes I feel like I need ‘official’ proof for all of my skills/abilities because my word that I’m good at something isn’t enough
  • I second guess myself and my choices constantly
  • it can be hard to make decisions—I want to do things but feel like I’m not good enough/worthy for the simplest of tasks
  • at its worst, every tiny failure can feel like proof of my lack of being good enough/unworthiness
  • there is a constant battle raging in my head—I am always trying to tell the voice to be quiet and build a balance so I can use the fear constructively to improve going forwards rather than to become overwhelmed and give in to it by giving up
  • sometimes it’s hard to recognise that it’s the voice in my head telling me that everything I do is a failure and that everyone hates me and everything about me, but it’s easy to believe—I find it difficult and confusing because I know that not everyone will like me/what I do/how I do it and truthfully I don’t care; so why does this voice taunt me relentlessly with something that I don’t even want? Even if you don’t want everyone to like you, it’s definitely demoralising when your brain keeps telling you that everyone hates you.

In a way, this is also a list of reasons why I fight not to listen to the voice in my head telling me that I’m not good enough. Previously, I’ve written in a guest blog about growing up in a home with domestic abuse and I know that the voice is related to some of those experiences (I know this from my time in therapy, but I'm no professional and can't say the same would be true for anyone else). Though sometimes, it still baffles me that my brain can rationalise so much of what happened and how it affected me, but that it can’t just kick certain thoughts out; even once I’ve identified them as intrusive and unhelpful.

It is better for me to be able to identify these thoughts for what they are and to know what caused them to begin, even if I can’t put a stop to them entirely. Telling them ‘no’ or to go away is definitely better than letting them run rampant through my mind, and if that’s all I’ve got for now, that’s what I’ll keep using to fight them back so I can get on with the business of living.

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About the author

Alicia Brunskill

Alicia writes about a variety of topics including mental illness, languages, education and cats. She also loves writing poetry and fiction. Alicia lives in Rutland, England with her partner, cat and dog.

Find her on Twitter: @aliciabrunskill

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