In order to quit feeling inadequate you need to get out of the abusive relationship – with yourself. Abuse is painful, degrading and beats down your self-esteem. So causing yourself to feel these emotions with no perpetrator is a very sad state of affairs to find yourself in.
Feeling inadequate does not happen overnight, rather it is the result of accumulative beliefs one accepts over time. These beliefs are formed through life, we are born with a blank computer (subconscious) in which everything from then on gets stored, with no filter to differentiate between what is true or untrue.
You only have to look at a child’s little face as you read them a fairy-tale or make up a story, they believe whatever we tell them, their limited life experience and knowledge of the world making them sponges for new information.
The problems begin when that information becomes critical or rejecting causing damage to self-esteem and more harm when it occurs during childhood development as the child’s brain absorbs and stores the experience(s). They have not enough information to rationalise or reject what has been said and so accept it as true. Negative statements which subsequently generate a negative feeling inside us, become stored as emotional memories deep inside the subconscious.
Subconscious memories become part of your belief system, which go on to influence how you view yourself and the world.
- Uncover and Address – The most freeing thing a human being can do is understand why they feel a certain way about themselves. There’s always a starting point. Was it pressure to succeed academically, professionally, financially or all of the above? Could it have been mean comments from kids at school about your looks, sporting ability or popularity? Did you feel compared to siblings, neighbours or friends by parents or wider family? Somewhere along the line your perfectly happy outlook may have been shattered by an experience or series of experiences, even a sentence about you that shook you to the core and changed how you felt about yourself? Think back either by yourself or with a therapist who can help you uncover the source of your feelings of inadequacy. This is crucial as you can make sense of the cause and put it into perspective.
- Ban “if only” – Until these words stop passing through your mind or your lips you will continue to feel inadequate as “if only” smacks of not good enough. This sense of lack wreaks havoc on your life and those who love you. It is based on self-pity and comparisons, the belief that if you were different or your circumstances were different, life would be better. If used to spur productivity there may be little problem with this statement, but those that go out and make changes are not the ones who feel inadequate. Or if they do it’s never enough as “I should” is waiting in the wake to diminish any sense of confidence that may be felt, the whip that forces you to work harder and do better (usually to gain respect or admiration from others).
- Acknowledge your strengths – Make a list of your strengths and congratulate yourself on what you’re good at. Don’t assume any successes or positives in your life just happen to be there by chance. Acknowledge that you have amazing legitimate talents and gifts that are unique to you. Remind yourself time and time again that you ARE good enough, to diminish feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Question negative thoughts about yourself rather than accept them. Changing your perception reduces inadequate feelings.
- Self-Acceptance – Feelings of inadequacy don’t come from failures. Self-confident people with high self-esteem view failures as valuable life lessons, from which they can learn, grow and progress. Feeling inadequate comes from allowing failures to define you. Instead of learning and using them for growth they see failure as a reflection of who they are, wallowing in their uselessness which further damages their self-esteem. This in turn increases the potential for experiencing more failures and so the cycle continues. You were not born feeling inadequate, it is LEARNED and can therefore be UNLEARNED by mastering your self-talk.
- Something New – New experiences are very powerful in increasing self-esteem and feeling happy in your own skin. Our belief systems affect how we view ourselves and the world around us so why not create new experiences and new memories which may change those views. Travel, education, meeting new people, there are so many ways to broaden our horizons and put to bed some of the old self-limiting beliefs that were placed years ago. New knowledge, skills, whatever you’d love to do, try to do it or a version of it. Feeling inadequate makes you miss out on so much, it’s sad when there’s no reason for it. You have one life, don’t paralyse yourself with self-imposed restrictions. Live your truth and accept yourself, this is the way to unlock the potential of your happiness.