How do I cope with "never being good enough?"

I'm always told I'm not good enough or trying hard enough. I put 100% in to every thing. I'm worn out, I've worked on all of my family relationships, I'm doing great in school, I'm kind to those in need and otherwise. I stick to my religious beliefs and leave room for mistakes and learn from others so I don't have to make as many and the ones I do I learn from.

Somehow it's still not good enough and nothing I do works. Nothing has changed, and I feel hopeless. Any suggestions or ideas?

Amber Madden, MA, LPCA
Amber Madden, MA, LPCA
Food Addiction & Obesity Specialist

Hello, and let me say first, what a great question! 

There are so many people putting forth their 100% everyday and often times, do not get the credit they deserve. Without being able to fully understand where you're question is coming from, I think there are a couple of different ways to look at this question.

First, I think it's important for us to consider the message being sent by those in your life stating that you're "not good enough." Is that ACTUALLY what they said, or is this just what you heard? Sometimes, because of our own self-doubts and fears, we skew and misinterpret the messages we receive from others. Again, listen to the message being sent and attempt to remain objective. Is the message being sent coming from a place of love or concern? If so, have an honest and open communication with that individual about what your concerns are regarding the amount of energy and time you're spending on being "good enough." Explore with them how you feel you'r already giving your best.

If the person is unwilling to work at understanding this concern you have, then it may be time to explore the relationship. Some relationships we engage in can be toxic, especially if the other person is toxic. It may be they have their own "stuff" going on and they feel the need to constantly put others down to make themselves feel better. If you're in the direct path of this individual, then it serves to reason you will probably be in the direct fire, as well. Explore whether or not you want this relationship to continue in your life. If it's a relationship that MUST continue, then work on what you will do to distance yourself from their toxicity or their problems. Until they're willing to work on these issues for themselves, then it may be necessary to find an exit strategy, such as leaving the room or simply refusing to engage in the conversation. 

Another perspective of this question is exploring the reason why it's important for YOU to satisfy the expectations of these other individuals? NO ONE will ever be 100% "good enough" for EVERYONE. Every single person has their own set of expectations in themselves and expectations in others. It would be impossible to satisfy all of those expectations for every single person in our lives. 

The question becomes, what is it WITHIN you that feels the need to meet these expectations? There is most likely a part of you, yourself, as an individual that feels "less than" and feels as if you, yourself, are not good enough. It then becomes impossible to every feel "good enough" for others, because it's really YOU you're trying to feel good enough for. If you already feel as if you're doing everything you can do to be at your best version of yourself, then really work on LETTING GO of the rest. No one is perfect, and striving for perfection in our lives only creates more anxiety and stress. Find a middle ground in which you are happy with your accomplishments and your daily goals, and learn to let go of what's left. After all, tomorrow is a new day and you can work on more of your goals tomorrow!

I recommend doing this by finding a mantra, a statement or phrase you can repeat to yourself anytime you start to feel that sense of stress and pressure from striving for perfection. The mantra can remind you to let go of this expectation you have for yourself or that others have for you so you can also let go of the stress and anxiety surrounding the expectation. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes that perhaps you can use as your mantra, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. " - Eleanor Roosevelt. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Vivian D. Echevarria Guzman, MSC, LPC, NCC
Bilingual Licensed Professional Counselor

It sounds like you are aware of your positive traits but you are struggling with someone who does not acknowledge nor celebrate your efforts or achievements.   It seems like that is affecting your inner voice, which allows you to accept yourself for who you are.

My suggestion is to explore that relationship and decide if that person’s opinion should determine how you feel about yourself.   If this is an important relationship, you could communicate to this person how the lack of positive feedback is affecting you.  Then, work on spending more time with those who value you, and can give you praise, encouragement, and constructive criticism.  Also, explore your religious beliefs, and what is they say about who you are as a person.  Finally, explore with a Counselor your inner voice and try to figure out if the negative message is settling in and harming your self-esteem.   Through therapy, you could learn to self-compassion and acceptance wich will help your self esteem.

¿Cómo manejo el sentirme que “no soy suficiente bueno”?

Siempre me dicen que no soy suficientemente bueno o no trato lo suficiente.  Yo pongo el 100% en todo.  Estoy agotado, he trabajado en todas mis relaciones, estoy muy bien en la escuela, trato bien a las personas que lo necesitan.  Me aferro a mis creencias religiosas y dejo espacio para los errores, y aprendo de otros para no tener que cometer los mismos.  Aun así no soy suficiente y nada de lo que hago funciona, me siento desesperanzado.  ¿Alguna idea o sugerencia?

Al parecer estas consiente de tus características positivas, pero estás teniendo  dificultad con alguien que no reconoce tus esfuerzos, ni logros, y eso está afectando esa voz interior que te permite aceptar quien eres.

Mi sugerencia es que explores esa relación y analices si la opinión de esta persona va a determinar cómo te valoras a ti mismo.  Si es una relación valiosa, puedes comunicarle a la persona en cuestión como te afecta la falta de comentarios y opiniones positivas.   Luego enfócate en pasar más tiempo con personas que te valoran, te dan halagos, te motivan y te aconsejan.  También explora que dice tu religión sobre quién eres como persona y cuál es tu valor.  Y por último, explora con tu Consejero si ese mensaje negativo esta afectando tu autoestima.  A través de la terapia puedes aprender tecnicas auto compasión y aceptación que ayudaran a fortalecerte.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. La información provista es para propósito general basado en información mínima, no constituye aviso medico. Esta información tampoco constituye una comunicación directa con un consejero o terapista y no crea una relación entre cliente y terapeuta o desarrolla ningún privilegio. Si tiene pensamientos suicidas o está en crisis puede llamar al 911 o visitar su sala de emergencias mas cercana.
Dr. Rachelle Vaughan
Dr. Rachelle Vaughan
Christian Counselor

The feeling of never feeling good enough usually stems from our early relationship with our parents or significant role models who made us to feel we were never good enough to meet their standards. In the healing process, you'll need to work on discovering the root source of where these thoughts and feelings come from and then learn to accept yourself just as you are unconditionally. I'd be pleased to help you in this process. I provide online private counseling through proventherapy.com.

Dr. Rachelle Vaughan

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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