Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.
Truth be told, you can’t berate yourself into a better version of yourself. And even though I know this, I sometimes still fall victim to my own negative thinking. Sometimes I’m downright rude to myself. I make a mistake, or fall short of my own expectations, and instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, I beat myself up about it.
I’m sure you can relate. We’ve all been there. We all have bad days and moments of self-doubt.
Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside. If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or timeframe, we assume we’re just “not good enough.”
So what can we do about it?
Here’s how I handle it: Every time I catch myself thinking I’m not good enough, I immediately write down an opposing thought that debunks my negativity. I’ve been doing this for the past several years and it’s made a tremendous difference in my life. I challenge you to do the same.
If you need a little extra inspiration, here are some things I’ve come up with – 20 good reminders when you’re feeling “not good enough”:
- Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you.– YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. Forget what everyone else is doing and achieving. Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life.
- Where you are right now is a necessary step.– Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be or want to be. But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.
- Everything is coming together… maybe not immediately, but gradually.– When times are tough, remind yourself that no pain comes without a purpose. Move on from what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you. Pain is part of growing. Remember that there are two kinds of pain: pain that hurts and pain that changes you. When you roll with life, instead of resisting it, both kinds help you grow.
- It is your resistance to “what is” that causes your suffering.– Remember, happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with “what is,” rather than wishing for and worrying about “what is not.” “What is” is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be. The rest is just you, arguing with life. Think about that for a minute. This means your suffering only ever occurs when you resist how things are. You cannot control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens. In your response is your power.
- Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.– Choose to be miserable and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be miserable. Choose to be peaceful and you’ll find plenty of reasons to be at peace. Think about it. Are you skilled at making yourself miserable? With those same skills you can make yourself motivated, effective and fulfilled. Do so.
- You are always good enough to try, and that’s what’s important in the end.– Everything you achieve comes from something you attempt. Make the attempt. Trust me, twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. Give yourself a chance.
- There’s always something small you can do.– There is absolutely nothing about your present situation that prevents you from moving forward, one tiny step at a time. Remember, vision without action is just a daydream; vision must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, you must step up the stairs. And all you have to do is take one step at a time. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take that step.
- Failures are really just lessons that need to be learned.– No day is ever wasted when you live it with purpose and presence. Value and enjoy the journey, even when there are detours along the way.
- Yesterday’s impossibilities may be possible today. – Experience is the hardest kind of teacher; it gives you the test first and the lesson afterward. But this is really a blessing. It means you’re growing stronger and more capable with every passing day. So don’t you dare give up on today because of the way things looked yesterday. Don’t even think about it.
- What “might happen” can only stop you if you let it.– Rather than worrying about what might happen, move forward and use your energy and intelligence to deal with what does actually happen.
- The quality of your vision drives the quality of your life.– It’s up to you how you visualize things and what you focus on. Forget what you don’t like. Focus on what excites you. If you see a possibility, explore it. If you have a dream, live it. Those who are passionate and excited about what they’re doing have an advantage that is nearly impossible to conquer. Be one of these people. (Read Mindset.)
- You don’t need to get everyone’s approval first.– Stop listening to what the world says you should want. Start listening to who you are. Truth be told, there are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them.
- What you’re capable of achieving is greatly based on how much you want it.– When it means enough to you, then you can do it. When you are willing and committed and persistent, you will get yourself there, every time. Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural outcome of consistently applying your focused effort to what you want. The fatigue might be there sometimes, but you must understand that putting it aside is the single most important factor in succeeding.
- Your best bet is to give yourself no other choice.– It’s amazing what you can do when you have no other choice. In fact, achievement consists mostly of giving yourself no other choice. You are more than good enough; you just have to own it – you have to own everything you are and everything you’re up against. If you believe your troubles are too powerful, then you’ll never allow yourself to rise above them. Stop fretting. Quit worrying. Don’t complain. You know what you must do. So do it.
- You have to work hard on yourself too.– Self-respect, self-love, self-worth… there’s a reason they all start with “self.” You can’t receive them from anyone else. Earn the respect of others by having the audacity to respect yourself. Dare to love yourself as if you were a rainbow with pots of gold at both ends. It’s your responsibility, above all, to see your own value. And this responsibility to yourself means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and deciding for you; it means learning to use your own brains and intuition to make things happen – hence, grappling with hard work. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- You are stronger than whatever is troubling you.– Use each setback, each disappointment as a cue to push on ahead with more determination than ever before. When something bad happens, you can either let it define you, let it destroy you or let it strengthen you. The choice is yours. So pump yourself up! You are a lot stronger than you think you are. You may not be where you want to be yet, but look how far you’ve come. Celebrate the fact that you’re not where you used to be.
- For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.– Appreciate what you have today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. No regrets, just lessons. No worries, just acceptance. No expectations, just gratitude. Life is too short. The story of your life has many chapters. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end. So stop re-reading the bad one already, and turn the page.
- You have made the best of some tough situations.– Smiling doesn’t always mean you’re happy with everything. Sometimes it just means you’re strong and smart enough to accept it and make the best of it.
- Your scars are symbols of your strength.– Don’t ever be ashamed of the scars life has left you with. A scar means the hurt is over and the wound is closed. It means you conquered the pain, learned a lesson, grew stronger, and moved forward. A scar is the tattoo of a triumph. So don’t allow your scars to hold you hostage. Don’t allow them to make you live your life in fear. You can’t make the scars in your life disappear, but you can change the way you see them. You can start seeing your scars as a sign of strength and not pain.
- You are still here trying.– If you have no other testimony right now, you have this one: “I’m still here trying.” Be positive, patient and persistent. The more you feel like quitting, the more there is to be gained by continuing to do all three. Because the strongest people aren’t the people who always win, but the people who don’t give up when they lose.
The wisest, most loving, and well rounded people you have ever met are likely those who have known misery, known defeat, known the heartbreak of losing something or someone they loved, and have found their way out of the depths of their own despair. These people have experienced many ups and downs, and have gained an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, understanding and a deep loving wisdom. People like this aren’t born; they develop slowly over the course of time.
And you’re getting there.