Self

10 Tiny Things To Do If You Never Feel 'Good Enough' In Relationships

Photo: Pavel Danilyuk | Pexels
Woman loving herself first

If you're a man or woman who's bought into our culture's pervasive, self-harming programming, causing your inner critic to repeatedly echo the words, "I'm not good enough," it's well past time for you to wake up from that nightmare of negative, self-destructive thinking and focus on learning how to love yourself and practice self-care instead.

In her powerful book A Woman’s Worth, Marianne Williamson writes, "In our natural state, we are glorious beings. In the world of illusion, we are lost and imprisoned, slaves … Our jailer is a three-headed monster; one head our past, one our insecurity, and one our popular culture." You’ve been brainwashed to go from powerful to powerless, but you don't have to remain stuck in that place.

quote and image Marianne Wlliamson

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You may feel ashamed, as though you're somehow inadequate or bad, and you're likely full of fear, so you keep looking to others to tell you who to be and what to do, compromising yourself and your needs.

Our culture and your past relationships have hypnotized you to believe that you’re not good enough.

It's time to stop letting these self-harming thoughts make you feel emotionally and psychologically oppressed. It’s time for a paradigm shift. It’s time to peel away the layers of false self and discover your true self. The poet Rumi said, "You are more valuable than both heaven and earth. What else can I say? You don’t know your worth. Do not sell yourself at a ridiculous price."

quote by Rumi

When you don’t feel good about yourself, you feel like you are being watched and judged, which increases your sense of not feeling good about who you are. This becomes a vicious cycle in which you are constantly undervalued and shamed by yourself and others. As an emotion, shame reflects you believe yourself to be worthless, damaged, and no good. And when you feel shame regularly, you begin to behave the way you think others expect you to.

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Here are 10 tiny things to do if you never feel 'good enough' in relationships.

1. Connect rather than compare.

Comparing yourself to others — whether it’s a top model or your co-worker — is a dead-end. When you compare yourself, you feel undervalued and less than others. To connect with others, it's imperative that you first know your strengths and positive qualities. Take some time to take a good look at your characteristics and accomplishments and make a list to fully embrace all of who you are.

Connecting with others can come from something as simple as a smile. Be kind without being submissive. Conversation is the touchstone of connection. You can get to know more about yourself through talking openly with others. The experience of intimacy comes about from conversations.

Intimacy comes from the Latin word "intimus," which means innermost. For a relationship to be intimate, there needs to be a sharing and disclosing of your innermost thoughts and feelings. Don’t agree to avoid conflict and be accepted in the relationship. You can agree to disagree. Everyone has a right to their perspective and opinion.

2. Have a dialogue with your inner critic.

Your inner critic is made up of the negative self-talk that you heard from childhood and have internalized. Some common judgments you hear from your inner critic might include:

  • "Don’t do that, or people won’t like you and will be upset with you."
  • "You need to work harder."
  • "You’re not smart enough."
  • "You’re not lovable."

It's time to have a dialogue with your inner critic, and no power struggle is necessary. Remember that your inner critic thinks it’s protecting you by keeping you safe and out of trouble, and its good intentions have gone awry. Retrain your inner critic so it shifts into a coach that can challenge you without putting you down. Remember, if you don’t think you’re enough, you will deprive yourself of opportunities because you don’t think you’re worthy. When you hear yourself making these negative judgments, catch yourself and change it up to a supportive and positive voice instead.

3. Choose self-empowering language.

When you tell yourself that you "should," "ought," or "have to" do, be, or feel something, you are oppressing yourself. Instead, choose to do what you want to do. It’s much more empowering, and you feel the freedom choice gives you.

4. Break the habit of idealizing your relationships.

If things are going wrong and you feel like a failure, try shifting your perspective to see the whole picture. Get a reality check about what each of your responsibilities is. Consider how you might rewrite the rules so you stand up for yourself in your relationship. Don’t let yourself be held back in a relationship that invalidates who you are. And don't let yourself be held back in a relationship that minimizes what you’re capable of. Find a community — and a partner — that will support you for who you are.

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5. Stop over-identifying with situations.

You are more than your mistakes, income, and body type. For example, if you fail a test, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. If you have a challenging time finding a job, it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. So don't let these perceived roadblocks weigh on your feelings of self-worth.

6. Be authentic.

In his book, How To Raise Your Self-Esteem, Nathaniel Branden tells us, "The lies most devastating to our self-esteem are not so much the lies we tell as the lies we live. We live a lie when we misrepresent the reality of our experience or the truth of our being."

quote by Nathaniel Branden

Branden confronts us, stating when you choose to be a person you’re not, you do it because you think the real you is unacceptable. He also offers some questions to help you explore the challenges of being authentic and realizing we’re enough. In one exercise, he recommends writing between six to 10 endings for several statements regarding being open and honest. Here are a few examples:

  • “The hard thing about being honest with myself about what I’m feeling is ___."
  • "The hard thing about being honest with others about my feelings is ___."
  • "If I strived to be true and accurate in my communications ___."

If you want an intimate connection with someone, being open and honest about your thoughts and feelings is necessary. Being yourself allows other people to know and appreciate who you truly are. If you withhold your feelings, your relationship cannot be close. Your hesitation at opening up creates a wall between you. Challenge yourself to say, "I need to talk about something." Remember who you are and express it to the world.

7. Practice being present.

Being in the present and giving your full attention to yourself and others creates an optimum environment for your relationship to deepen. Be responsive, not reactive. Allow yourself to receive. A relationship is never all about one person and getting their approval. Let your relationships be about you, too. A close relationship with someone who truly cares about you strengthens your healthy sense of self and self-value.

8. Identify your wants and needs.

Needs are vital to us, whereas wants are preferences and not as important as needs. Conflict arises when two people want different things. If you don’t feel good enough, you may not value yourself enough to see your wants as important. You may be confused and think that one of your needs is just an unimportant want. Then, you may dismiss your need as not important enough. So you won’t ask for what you need and feel threatened to speak up for yourself because you fear the other will leave you.

   

   

9. Love and accept yourself.

Unconditional love means you love yourself no matter what. It means you have unconditional worth. Love yourself without judgment. You are enough. You don’t have to be Super Woman and prove yourself to earn love from yourself or anyone else. You are not loved for what you do. You are loved for who you are. Having good personal boundaries is an effective way of loving and taking care of yourself. Stop seeking validation and approval from others. Be gentle with yourself.

10. Practice self-care.

When you feel good about who you are and feel worthy, you naturally take better care of yourself. Self-nurturing is the biggest part of self-care. Take a close look at how you’re living. Are you taking time for the things that bring you joy? Are you eating and moving and feeling healthy and energetic? Are you sleeping enough? If not, it's time to make some serious life changes. Finally, repeat the following statement out loud: "I am enough. I have enough. I am worthy." Honor yourself and own your power.

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Mary Guay is a certified professional coach and a certified story coach, who works with individuals and small groups to create connections and community.

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This article was originally published at Mary Guay Life Coach Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.