Help Me: When You’re Feeling I’m Not Good Enough

Updated October 15, 2018

Reviewer Tiffany Howard, LPC, LCADC

There are many times in life when we may feel as if we are not good enough for someone. Our self-esteem has taken a hit, and our confidence is rattled. While this is perfectly normal in certain situations, it is important to be cautious if you find yourself thinking "I'm not good enough" more often than not.

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Should this begin to occur, it will be extremely important to take immediate action to not only rebuild your self-confidence but also to ensure that you do not continue to feel this way, as it is not healthy. It can make you become inappropriately attached to someone or reliant on them. It is as if this person needs to provide you with the constant reassurance that you are in fact "good enough" to be in their presence.

You Are Enough

First and foremost, it is important to establish that you are enough. You are not defined by your value to any other person on the face of this Earth besides yourself. So, if you find yourself thinking "I'm not good enough for him" or "I'm not good enough for her," you are incorrect. Sometimes two people are just not a good fit for each other in a relationship, but that does not mean in any way, shape or form that one person is better than the other. Two humans are created equally and, especially in a relationship, need to be treated as such.

When you begin to feel as if you are not good enough, whether that means not good enough of a parent, spouse, friend, child, etc., then your self-confidence slowly plummets. It is hard to feel like a confident and capable person if you feel as though you do not meet up with someone else's standards of yourself.

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Why Do I Feel This Way?

There are many reasons that someone may feel as though they are not good enough for someone else. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Low self-esteem. If someone already suffers from low self-esteem and a poor self-image, it is easy for them to feel as if they do not meet the standards to be in a relationship with someone else. If they feel as if they do not match what they view as the "perfect" partner, parent, friend, and so forth, they begin to feel useless and hopeless. They may feel as if it doesn't matter to this other person if they are around.
  • Someone may feel as if they are not enough due to the other person blatantly making them feel as such. This could be caused by an abusive relationship, either physical or emotional, or throughout their development as a child. If a child is constantly told that they are doing well enough or if they feel as though they are not living up to their parents' expectations, it is easy for them to feel as though they are not good enough. As this affects self-esteem, this can leave them susceptible to getting into a relationship with another person who can manipulate their thoughts and feelings about themselves. Then, unfortunately, the cycle will continue.
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  • Anxiety and Depression. Someone may feel as though they are not good enough due to an underlying mental health diagnosis, such as anxiety or depression. Most often, you will find that people who suffer from anxiety often question or second guess how they interact with people. So, they will analyze their last conversation with anyone in a valued relationship. If they feel as though they said something they shouldn't have, this can also affect their self-esteem, and they may beat themselves up over their actions (even if they did nothing wrong!). Therefore, this could lead to eventual depression and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness.
  • It is possible that someone who feels this way may suffer from a Self-Defeating Personality Disorder. This is that they have a pattern of demonstrating behaviors of a victim and often do not allow themselves to view the positive, even if it is an activity they enjoy. They may appear to be self-sabotaging. For example, if they are in a serious and committed relationship, they may begin to say that they do not feel as if they are good enough for that other person to hear that they in fact are. This is not to minimize what the person truly feels. However, this is important to address in counseling and to ensure that the person does not begin to manipulate the situation, as well.

As explained above, this is not a comprehensive list of all things that can cause someone to feel as if they are not good enough, but they are some clear indicators.

Will It Get Better?

As with many things in life, this does not need to be a permanent issue. While it is very difficult to re-build broken or damaged self-esteem, it is not impossible. It is important that the person find someone that they know and trust to help them along with this process. They need to be in a safe place to take what they view as risks, such as approaching their partner differently. Their partner, or whoever is on the other end of this troublesome relationship, need to be cognizant of how the other person feels and want to help with building this self-esteem. Some may find it frustrating, at times, to need to reassure someone that "yes, you are good enough."

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With knowledge, consistency, and support, it most certainly can get better. Some ideas for ways to approach the other person about how you may be feeling are:

  • Tell them honestly how you feel. Explain that you feel as if you are not good enough for them and what may be making you feel this way. If you cannot pinpoint why you feel this way, own that. Honesty is the best course of action. Be sure to speak with your partner, or whomever you feel this way towards, in a non-judgmental and non-accusatory way. If this is a relationship that you'd like to preserve, you want to ensure that you work together to repair this, rather than point fingers to blame.
  • What could you hear that would make you feel differently? Do you feel as though if the other person approaches you in a certain way or doesn't say certain things to you, that it would make you feel differently? If your parent tells you how terrible you are at something, is that beneficial? Or does it make you feel as if you are not good enough, so why bother? Explain to the other person that they could get their point across using different wording that does not attack your self-esteem.
  • Write it down. If you already have very low self-esteem and feel as if you're not good enough, you may not feel comfortable approaching the culprit. There are ways around this. Writing them a letter will allow you time to sit and think about your feelings and get them all on paper for them to read, rather than stumbling over your words while struggling with your self-confidence.
  • There is always the option of attending counseling with this other person. Many therapists can provide family counseling, either in-person or virtually with a licensed online therapist, such as at BetterHelp. With a therapist present to be a neutral person, you can have peace of mind that someone else is helping to facilitate this conversation. It is a safe place to express your thoughts and to have a private conversation. The therapist will also ensure that the discussion stays on task and remains appropriate so that the relationship is not further damaged.

Moving Forward

As mentioned above, for shattered self-esteem and a low self-image, it would be highly beneficial to see a licensed therapist, either in-person or online here at BetterHelp. The therapy can begin individually to decipher maybe why you are feeling this way. Your therapist will help you with every step described in this article, from identifying your triggers to coaching you through a conversation with that other person.

It is important to work through these feelings, attempt to repair and rebuild that relationship and then move forward. If these feelings and thoughts are not appropriately addressed, they can both damage a relationship beyond repair and continue the cycle with your own children. Your children need a strong and assertive parent to demonstrate how to be in an appropriate relationship and how to handle hardships. They will look to you on how to communicate concerns and resolve issues in a relationship.

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