Self Care

“I’m Not Good Enough”: 20 Reminders to Feel Better About Yourself

Reminders for When You Think You're Not Enough | Hopeful Panda

We all have moments where we feel like we’re not good enough. Some of us get that more than others. For those of us raised by abusive parents, this feeling is pretty much always there until we begin healing from the trauma.

When you have parents who constantly criticize you for every little thing, it’s unfortunately not surprising that you never feel like enough no matter what. And you likely repeat similar words to yourself now.

For me, it’s a daily battle. Being constantly put down, especially at a young age, no doubt created lasting wounds. “You will never amount to anything”, “No one will ever love someone like you”, and “You are worthless” are words that originated from my mother that I used to echo back to myself.

When you’ve been told over and over that you aren’t good enough, feeling like you ARE good enough, or even just enough, feels impossible. Amid all that abuse and bullying, you end up so focused on everything “bad” about you that you’ve forgotten everything worthy about you.

As a result, you might struggle with knowing who you are or you may dislike or even hate who you are. Like me, you may struggle to feel good about yourself as a person.

You might not believe me when I tell you, I know I wouldn’t back then, but it IS possible to feel better about yourself. It isn’t easy, but hopefully, some of the reminders in this post can help.

When I catch myself falling into my negative self-talk or self-doubts or feeling insecure or like I’m not good enough or worthy, I try to remind myself of these things.

1. You are special

As cliché as it sounds, you are unique. You have a special combination of things that makes you who you are. You have things that you’re good at and things you’re not so good at. You have your likes, dislikes, interests, values, personality traits, quirks, and everything else that makes you different.

And what’s even more interesting is that this package of things that defines you changes as you grow and learn and transform. So even who you are is constantly changing.

There can only be one you at a time. And in the end, only you can be you and you ARE special.

2. You’re not alone

Although it’s common knowledge that everyone feels like they’re not good enough at one point or another, acknowledging that you’re not the only one who feels this way isn’t as easy.

It’s easy to forget that many other people are feeling exactly as we do when we’re preoccupied with our own negative thoughts and doubts.

But try to remember that even those who seem the most confident have their moments of self-doubt. Remembering that you aren’t alone reassures you that there’s nothing wrong with you and that your feelings ARE normal.

And hopefully, recognizing that other people feel the same way as you do can help you feel it a little less.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

You might think the grass is greener on the other side. But there are things we don’t know about other people, just like there are things other people don’t know about us.

Everyone is fighting their own battles. So the person you’re comparing yourself to is struggling with something as well. I often get stuck in the comparison trap as well, so reminding myself of this is so important.

Also, constantly comparing yourself to others makes you lose sight of all the wonderful things you have going on in your life. In doing so, you end up ungrateful and unhappy. So try to focus on yourself. Take a moment from time to time to focus on what you have and appreciate them.

If you really have to, compare your current self with a previous version of yourself. See how far you’ve come and how much you’ve accomplished. Be your own standard. Be the best version of you.

Living isn’t about being better or happier than other people. Living is about being the better or happier you. And you are the only one who knows how best to do that. No one can do it for you.

Comparing yourself to other people or trying to follow their paths most likely wouldn’t work for you. So try to find your own path. Do what makes you happy. Do what you want to do.

4. What someone said or did to you may not be about you

If you think you’re not good enough because of something someone said or did to you, remind yourself that it’s likely not about you.

I know how hard this can be, especially when you’ve spent a lot of your life being attacked by your abusive parents. But remind yourself that not everyone is like your parents. Not everyone is out to attack you. I still struggle with this myself, but try not to take things too personally.

You cannot control how other people treat you. But you can control how you react to it. It’s usually the other person trying to find a way to tear you down to make themselves feel better or they’re jealous or they’re displacing their frustration onto you. That is their issue, not yours.

5. Try to care less about what other people think

Care Less About What Others Think |When You Think You're Not Good Enough | Hopeful Panda

This is obviously much easier said than done. We live in a judgmental world where you need to strive for what’s considered socially acceptable to be accepted. But by doing so, you’re not being who you want to be.

Maybe to society, you’re not considered good enough regarding your appearance, identity, career, or where you are in life. However, you can be (and likely are) good enough for yourself and for the people who truly care about you.

I always care too much about what other people think, taking their judgments and perceptions over anything else I feel or think. But I try to constantly remind myself that as long as I and those who matter see me in a positive light, who cares how I live my life or present myself?

Be good enough for yourself and your loved ones. And don’t base that on society’s or outsiders’ standards. We can’t please everyone. It’s impossible. We might as well spend whatever time we have focusing on ourselves and those who matter.

6. You don’t need their approval

Sometimes, the very people who are judging or pressuring us are those who are close to us. And it’s very hard to go against someone who’s part of our family or close circles because it could damage the relationship. But you do not need their approval.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your parents or whoever else you’re trying to please or seek validation from. All the validation you need is within yourself.

You have the right to live life the way YOU want to as long as you’re not hurting anyone. You have the right to be who YOU want to be.

Try to stop listening to others tell you what you should be or what you should want. Listen to yourself. You’re the one who knows what makes you happy, what makes you fulfilled, and what makes you content with life. Not anyone else.

It could be difficult to disregard other people’s opinions about who you are and your life choices, especially if you’ve lived most of your life adhering to other people’s preferences.

But if they truly care about you and your well-being, they’ll support your decisions as long as they’re healthy and reasonable. What matters is that you’re happy and well.

7. Perfection does not exist

Here’s another tired cliche: nobody’s perfect. You have things you are good at and things you aren’t. You can’t be good at everything and that’s a boring fact.

Perfection may sound amazing in theory. But if you live it, life loses meaning. There’s nothing left to learn and there’s no way to grow because you can do it all already. Rather than chase perfection, maybe try focusing on progress instead.

Related: The Problem with Perfection

8. Focus on the progress you’ve made

As long as you did the best you could, try not to beat yourself up over it not being perfect or ideal. Focus on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go.

We often strive for perfection and success, so whenever we fall short, we feel less than. However, being willing to work towards your goals is a success in itself, regardless of how many times you fall or how many mistakes you make along the way. That’s part of the journey.

Being willing to pick yourself back up and try again or keep going IS a success in itself. So rather than beat yourself up for making mistakes, failing, or not doing as well as you hoped, try to celebrate yourself for at least trying, because that itself is difficult to do.

Be glad that you came as far as you have. Remind yourself that things take time and it’s okay to go at your own pace.

9. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small

Celebrate Your Successes | Hopeful Panda

Rather than beat yourself up over not being where you want to be or not doing as great as you want to, try to focus on what you did already.

You don’t have to go crazy and throw an all-out party for every little thing you achieve. But celebrate your wins whenever you come across one, no matter how small.

Reward yourself with a treat, a short break, a simple pat on the back, or even a little affirmation to yourself like “Good job!”, I did it!” or “Yay!”

Every goal is made up of smaller goals, which are made up of even smaller goals. Celebrate each and every goal you achieve, no matter how small, because it means you’re just closer to achieving your ultimate goal.

10. You are good enough to try

Everything you’ve ever achieved or accomplished came from taking that first chance and trying. So go ahead and try. You may not be good enough at a specific task or in a specific area. But you’re at least good enough to give it a shot.

We’re all bound to fail or make mistakes. But we can at least try. And again, being willing to try is a success in itself. It is also a talent and quality.

Don’t let your anxiety, fear, or worries hold you back from wanting to go for something. Don’t let the fear of imperfection, mistakes, or failures keep you from even giving it a chance. And if you fail or if it’s just not for you, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. At least you can say you tried.

11. Your flaws do not define you

It can be difficult to feel like you’re good enough when you’re so aware of your flaws and imperfections. But try not to let your flaws or imperfections define you.

Our brains are wired to focus on the negative. Negative events or emotions are more intense to us, so we remember them more. We could get a hundred compliments a day. But our minds would dwell on the one minor criticism instead. I’m guilty of this and it’s something I’m working on.

We tend to focus on our flaws that are usually barely noticeable to other people, yet we magnify them to the point that we let them define us.

If you feel insecure about something – either because someone pointed it out or you noticed it while comparing yourself to someone supposedly “better” – try to realize that it’s just one teensy-weensy part of you. It does not define who you are as a whole.

Everyone has flaws. And I mean everyone, even the most seemingly perfect people. It’s up to you to accept your flaws and yourself. Try to focus on the good things you have instead.

12. There are good things about you

As much as we tend to focus on our flaws, weaknesses, and imperfections, deep down we know that there are good things about us. It could be hard to acknowledge when we’re so worried about the parts that aren’t so pretty. But when you look, you’ll find them.

If you’re having trouble seeing these good things, ask your loved ones. Some people think you’re great. They don’t see you the way you see yourself.

Society often focuses on how you can improve your weaknesses with things like personal development books and self-improvement strategies.

While it is perfectly fine to do that, do it because your “weakness” is prohibiting you from living a healthy, happy life. Don’t do it because you feel like you have to be “good enough” or perfect or because you think you need fixing.

Improve yourself on reasonable terms.

It’s okay to continue to work on yourself and be the best version of yourself. But it’s also important to recognize and celebrate the good parts of yourself.

13. Your thoughts are not reality

You can be your own worst enemy, especially when you let your doubts and insecurities get the better of you. Your mind can be a very convincing liar. So it’s important to remember that just because you’re thinking something doesn’t mean it’s real.

Realize that “not good enough” is your belief. Your thoughts don’t define who you are unless you let them change how you act or feel about yourself.

“I’m not good enough” or any other negative, demeaning language you tell yourself are statements you’ve convinced yourself to be truths.

There is the idea of “fake it till you make it”. So try that out. Try to tell yourself that you are good enough. You’ll feel like a fraud at first or maybe for a while. But the more you practice, the more comfortable it’ll become.

14. Think back to when you were “good enough”

This may be harder for some people. But try to think back to a time or even a short moment when you did feel good enough. Or think about a time when you were proud of yourself for something you did or achieved.

Try to think back on how you were feeling at the time: What happened? What led to what happened? How did you play a role in making it happen? How did you feel emotionally and physically?

Hopefully, this little exercise can help get your mind out of the negative spiral and into a more positive one.

15. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself

One can argue that an inner critic can push you to do better. That’s usually toxic parents’ defense of “tough love”. But oftentimes, the critic only ends up doing the opposite.

Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t help you succeed. It actually sets you up for failure. Constantly thinking of yourself as a failure will make you too scared to pursue anything because “What’s the point? I’m going to fail anyway”. So you give up before you even try.

Telling yourself that you’re worthless or unlovable won’t make you any more worthy or lovable. On the contrary, when you tell yourself this, you’re bound to act a certain way that makes you harder to love. It’s hard being with someone who hates themselves.

I didn’t fully comprehend this until I experienced someone I care about speaking so negatively about themselves. I finally realized how heartbreaking and uncomfortable it is on the receiving end of it. So I told myself, I’ve got to stop with the self-hate because I’m not just hurting myself, I’m hurting people I care about.

Thinking you’re a failure or thinking you’re unworthy is the very obstacle getting in the way of your success. You end up in this cycle where what you tell yourself creates the results that reinforce what you’re telling yourself.

Allow yourself the freedom to feel scared, unsure, and uncomfortable. But also allow yourself to believe that you can succeed and that you ARE worthy and lovable.

16. Be kind to yourself

Be Kind to Yourself | Hopeful Panda

I would say “love yourself”, but that’s hard. So as a way to work towards self-love, try to at least treat yourself with care and kindness, especially during times when you feel unlovable or unworthy.

You are doing the best you can. Try not to beat yourself up for not succeeding on a certain task or for not reaching a certain goal. You can still get there. Take your time and go at your own pace. Be patient with yourself. Practice self-compassion and self-care.

Also, remember that you should never let how you feel about yourself stop you from accepting kindness, love, and compassion from others. It can be difficult, especially when you’re feeling down, but love and support is probably the best thing you can have during times like that.

Support can immensely help how you’re feeling. It reminds you that you are cared for and loved, and unlike yourself, they wouldn’t see you any differently because of your struggles.

17. Forgive yourself

I’m not usually one to say forgive and forget. But when it comes to yourself, I think you should.

Most of us are haunted by our old mistakes and regrets. Like me, it probably keeps you up at night sometimes. But you probably beat yourself up enough that you should try to forgive yourself for whatever you did, especially if whoever’s involved has already forgiven you or doesn’t even remember it.

This is still one of my biggest struggles, but try to let go of the bitterness and resentment towards yourself or your situation. Try to remember that everyone makes mistakes. Most people just don’t advertise them.

Try to reframe the situation and see your failures and mistakes as learning opportunities instead. They helped you learn what didn’t work so you can learn what would.

18. Reframe your perspective

Obviously, there are things in life that are out of our control that sometimes make us feel helpless and powerless. And when that happens, it can be triggering and before we know it, we’re the helpless child at the hands of our abusers again. But still, you have more power than you think.

You can’t always change things, but you can change the way you look at them and how you react and act towards them.

Learn how your thought processes work and find a way to manage and work through them. Nothing is really set in stone except for the past. But even then, you can change the way you perceive it. So even the past is kind of ever-changing based on how you’re acting, thinking, or feeling right now.

You can reframe your perspective by changing your mistakes and failures into learning opportunities. And try not to let your scars hold you hostage or make you live your life in fear. Instead, learn to see your scars as symbols of your strength and resilience.

19. No one can predict the future

Nothing is set in stone, especially not the future. You can change your future even if it may not feel like it.

Maybe you think you’ll end up alone, unhappy, or whatever else your abuser likely lied to you about. But you don’t really know that because it hasn’t happened yet.

Back then, I genuinely believed no one would ever love me. My mother really had me believe that I’d be forever alone, depressed, and fat. While forever isn’t something anyone can determine, so far, it’s looking like we were both wrong.

If I continued to believe that I was unlovable or that the future was pointless, then I wouldn’t do anything to try to change it. Or I would’ve kept pushing away opportunities that could improve life. My beliefs would’ve dictated my actions, making them a reality, thus becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Of course, I’m very lucky that I met my husband who jumpstarted my healing journey and self-acceptance. And I’ll be forever grateful for that.

But I had to learn to trust and let him in and work on the relationship to get to where it is now. And I have to continuously put in the effort to better my mental and physical health, which brings us to the last point.

20. Ask yourself, “Are there changes I need to make?”

Are There Changes You Need to Make |When You Think You're Not Good Enough | Hopeful Panda

Although this isn’t exactly a reminder, it is a question you should remember to ask yourself when feeling like you’re not good enough is impairing your life and happiness. Perhaps there are some changes you can and maybe need to make in your life to help you feel better.

Try to be aware of what’s triggering you to feel like you’re not good enough. See whether it’s something you can change.

If it’s external, like someone pressuring or criticizing you, think about how you can limit or cut contact. If that’s not an option, learn how to guard yourself against their toxicity. Or if you struggle with a physical aspect of yourself like your weight or health, see what concrete steps you can take to improve it.

And if it’s internal like negative self-talk or low self-esteem, try to practice self-compassion and positive yet realistic self-talk. This is more difficult to change than external triggers. But through hard work, you can retrain your brain to think of yourself in a better light.

Again, you have more power than you think! You have the ability to make a positive difference in your life. I’m not saying it’ll be easy (at all) but again, it IS possible. It may be too overwhelming all at once, so prioritize your goals, take baby steps, and go at your own pace.


Things to Remember When "I'm Not Good Enough" Comes Up | Hopeful Panda

Conclusion

Remember that just because you think you’re not good enough doesn’t mean it’s true. Remind yourself of all the good things you are and how your flaws, mistakes, weaknesses, or failures don’t define you. Tell yourself that you are enough and you are worthy even if it may not feel like it sometimes.

I’m constantly trying to remind myself of the things on this list. But it is still unbelievably easy to fall victim to your own negative thinking. In the end, try to surround yourself with supportive people and do things that make you feel better about yourself.

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Hi there, I’m Estee. Having grown up with an abusive mother, I know how isolating, frustrating, and hopeless everything could feel – back then as a child and even now as an adult.

I am always trying to better understand and manage the effects of the abuse I experienced. And this journey I’m on inspired me to create Hopeful Panda. Learn more here.

A lot of time and effort is put into this blog. If you enjoy my content or find it helpful, please consider making a donation or becoming a member. Your support helps me continue providing free content for all. Thank you!


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