Do you ever feel like you’re not enough? You may have a spouse, children, and the house with the white picket fence that people dream of, but you still feel inadequate.
In fact, that nagging feeling of inadequacy eats away at you and tells you that you’re missing something. But what?
Finding the Root of Your Inadequate Feelings
When was the first time when you felt like you weren’t good enough? Can you remember the day when it all began? It was a bully that made them feel singled out and different, but for others, it was growing up in a home with abuse.
Did you have some life-changing circumstances that altered your perception of yourself? Changes can make you both scared and overwhelmed. Things like getting a new job, going to a new school, or losing a friend, can shake you to your core.
These feelings of inadequacy can often start with some significant changes in your life, and they can stick around for the long haul. You weren’t born with these feelings, and it’s your life experiences that have caused them to develop. However, you need to know that there’s nothing wrong with you, and it’s just your insecurities speaking negative things into your mind.
You’ve moved on from that time in your life, but the feelings are buried deep inside you. The further you suppress them, the more apt you are to have issues with your emotions. See, while you may bury them, your body still remembers the trauma, abuse, or incident that changed your view and feelings of yourself.
Inadequacy Often Begins In Childhood Trauma
In 2014, Bessel van der Kolk M.D. wrote a fascinating book entitled The Body Keeps The Score. He used his years of studies to demonstrate why children who’ve been abused often become adults with complex issues and feelings of inadequacy. He theorizes that the body keeps track of the trauma, even if the mind blocks it.
Assume a child was abused when she was three years old. She would have no way to recall the events that happened to her as her age and maturity level wouldn’t permit it. However, when the child becomes six years old and starts school, her mother begins to see signs indicating if abuse has occurred.
How can a child whose been in a loving home begin to display knowledge of intimate acts? Her mind has suppressed the issues and doesn’t really understand it, but her body recalls every ounce of that trauma she experienced. She will, no doubt, be affected all her life because of an event that happened at three years of age.
An Environment That Wasn’t Enough
Adults know emotions and how trauma can affect the brain. Sadly, you’re aware that feeling inadequate is just a byproduct of the situation you were in that made you feel deficient.
The key is that you know deep down you’re enough, but you don’t feel strong enough within yourself to overcome these feelings. You must transform these old beliefs and tackle the root cause. However, to do this, you must expose the parts of your suffering, and then you can work on healing them.
She must go back to when she was three years old for the little girl who was abused. She must return to the state of the broken child. It sounds corny since she’s obviously unable to recall much from that time, but she needs to get back to that place in time where the trauma altered her.
Using her mental energy, she needs to visualize what the three-year-old part of her looks like. Going as specific as what she might be wearing or where she is during this time might be helpful. See, you can have memories as young as 3.5 years old, according to a study conducted by the American Psychological Association.
Healing the Past
It will take time and practice, but under the direction of a counselor, you can learn to go back and unravel the events that altered you. The woman (or man) must offer compassion to the broken child inside of themself. They need to tell the little child that things are okay and it’s okay to talk about the issues and heal from them.
The feelings of being inadequate can also be a defense mechanism against more powerful emotions that are angered at those who hurt her. These emotions are neither right nor wrong, but they must be handled. Perhaps, this person harbors feelings of anger or resentment towards their mother as she did not keep a close eye on things.
Since the parent did not closely monitor the situation, it allowed her innocence to be taken away. How many times have you said there is a hole in your heart or feel an emptiness? If you’re feeling inadequate, then these might be words you use to describe your feelings.
Your emotions are also physical sensations that you must manage, and you know how being not enough feels. No matter what good things come your way, you feel like the gaping hole in your soul allows them to flow right out.
To fix this issue, you need to patch the void. By mending this space, you will learn to hold on to the good things that happen to you. Additionally, it would help if you remembered to validate the things you’ve accomplished in life, as it feels good and boosts your esteem. Here are some things you could authenticate as achievements:
- A successful marriage/relationship
- Having a career, you love
- Raising wonderful children
- A roof over your head
- Reliable transportation
- Having family and friends who love you
- Being a thoughtful and respectful person
You must train yourself to build the capacity with you to allow those positive experiences to penetrate. It will not happen overnight, but you can slowly make yourself notice sensations like love and even joy.
Daily Affirmations and Being Proactive Towards Recovery
Getting over hurts that make you feel inadequate isn’t going to be a quick process. However, if you chisel away at the root a little each day, you will soon feel better than ever. It would help if you reminded yourself repeatedly that the feeling of not being enough is something that you’ve learned and is not true.
You must reconnect with the part of you that is hurt and show yourself compassion. Don’t expect miracles, as it took many years to develop these inadequate feelings, and it’s going to take time to alter your thinking. Thankfully, here are some things you can do to speed up the healing process:
•The Power Pose
One thing that will help you feel more confident is learning to do the power pose. If you do this at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it can help to boost your confidence. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, did a powerful Ted Talk on this stance, and it helped her.
When you stand in confidence for a few minutes, you should also say to yourself that you’re strong and able to overcome whatever has come your way.
Box breathing is another excellent way to cope, and it’s an excellent way to calm your central nervous system. Start by inhaling deeply to the count of five, and then hold it for the count of five, followed by releasing it slowly through your mouth to the count of five.
You can try holding longer if you can, but it’s also okay to do a lower number if your lungs can’t hold for such a long period.
•Hit the Gym
A great way to get your adrenaline flowing and those feel-good hormones surging is a vigorous workout. Exercise is just as effective at treating anxiety and depression as some treatments. However, it’s also the sense of empowerment that it gives you that helps with your feelings of inadequacy.
•Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
One of the worst things that you can do to yourself is to compare yourself to other people. There is only one of you in this world, and your experiences have molded you into the person you are today. You only know what the individual you compare yourself to allows you to see, and there are always things they hide from the world.
To achieve healing, you must first become aware of the things that cause you to feel inadequate. Once you’re aware of them, you can understand how and why they forced you to have these feelings. You must learn to name the time, validate the experience, and process the emotions it caused.
By doing this, you’re taking away the power the situation holds over you. Once you work through the buried anger towards the situation and people involved, you can move on and leave the struggle behind.
Isn’t it time you lay this burden down and restore your self-esteem and feelings of pride within yourself? Today is a good day for a change, and the future looks bright for you.