February 19, 2021
Whether you are a student facing a big exam or project, a parent juggling work and kids, or an older adult caring for loved one, as responsibilities pile up, it's easy to feel overwhelmed—especially in a pandemic world. It's easy to doubt that we can keep up with everything, and do it well.
Doubt Can Be Contagious
Have you ever noticed that when your mind starts to doubt your abilities in one area, other doubts easily creep in? I'll never be able to do well on this exam leads to I don't know why I thought I could handle this major which leads to I'm not as smart as everyone else which leads to I don't belong here.
It's like sliding down and down a slippery chute that ends in a pit lined with one terrible, shame-inducing thought: I'm not good enough.
And that thought really hurts. It's the worst. It's not true, but it can feel true in the moment that it blossoms, down in that pit.
“I’m Not Good Enough” Is Not About Personal Shortcomings
It might help to remember that "I'm not good enough" is something learned. It's not objectively true; it's something we picked up from childhood experiences, and from social and cultural messages. "I'm not good enough" is not about personal shortcomings; it's about a failure of our environment.
Treat Yourself Like a Friend
It might also help to send the part of yourself that is feeling inadequate kindness and compassion. What would you say to a close friend, younger sibling, or even a beloved pet who is feeling this way, that they are not enough? Take a few deep breaths to calm your upset feelings, close your eyes, and try offering yourself those same comforting words.
You really are enough! Exactly the way you are, right now, in this challenging time and place, doing your very best with what you've got. It's enough.