Self-Doubt and Overthinking Or Why am I Not Good Enough

Self-Doubt and Overthinking Or Why am I Not Good Enough

Everyone fails or falls short sometimes, and everyone feels inadequate or deficient.  The key is knowing how to handle these feelings and learning how to minimize their effects.  We have a proven strategy to conquer self-doubt and overthinking.

When we pose the question, why am I not good enough?  We’ve just programmed the mind to think we are inferior.  We need to learn how to prevent going this far down the rabbit trail because it’s easier to change the course of thinking the sooner you realize you are headed toward unhealthy thinking.

Thankfully, these issues don’t require two different remedies.  It just takes more work the farther down the rabbit hole you go.  Tell yourself right now you can do this!

Why Am I Not Good Enough?

Negative emotions can come from either internal or external triggers.  A common experience is to be self-critical when we try something and fail to meet the goal.  It hurts.  Sometimes, the emotional turmoil is so intense the pain becomes physical.  Our feelings take over our awareness.  We are focused on failure.  Everyone has these feelings.  (1)

To focus inward isn’t a bad thing.  We need to know which of the two roads to take.  Many people are programmed to take only one road, the first road of self-doubt and overthinking, instead of the second road of self-nurturing and self-love.  The second road is much better.

Sometimes, those around you will see what’s going on with your feelings and try to offer advice, like stop being negative.  This kind of advice doesn’t help; it only magnifies your emotions.  You could feel angry that others see your emotional weakness.  You could feel embarrassed because others see you are upset.

“A person raised in a healthy family is equipped to live a confident and independent life; someone from an unhealthy family is filled with fear and self-doubt. He has difficulty with the prospect of life without someone else. The devaluing messages of control and manipulation create dependency so those who most need to leave their family of origin are the least equipped to do so.” — Christina Enevoldsen

The other common situation is when you are alone, and your inner critic takes over.  Now, you can re-experience the pain of any past, present, or potential failure.  When we have feelings of inadequacy, they prevent us from trying new things, taking calculated risks, or moving forward with plans.

So, we have two sources of negative information: internal and external.  We must learn a healthy coping strategy to keep us from slipping into unhealthy thinking patterns.

Conquer Self-Doubt and Overthinking!

We need to conquer the mantra: why am I not good enough?  It’s not impossible.  We can’t change the stimulus, but we can change our internal response.  Life has a way of giving us plenty of opportunities to use this technique.  The key is to use it as soon as you realize your self-worth is being challenged.  (2) Some people have more reasons for their negative feelings than others.  However, the person who can learn to handle these situations can take themselves out of the victim’s mindset.

1) Reframe Blaming Statements

We can’t change reality, but we can control how we react—the way to do this is by reframing the question.  We start by simply adding the word yet to blaming statements.  I’m not yet where I want to be.  I’m not there yet.  I may not be good enough yet, but I’ll get there.  This takes away the definitive negative self-judgment.

“The easiest thing to do, whenever you fail, is to put yourself down by blaming your lack of ability for your misfortunes.” —  Washington Irving

Self-doubt and overthinking are the mantras of our inner critic.  We can’t shut off the inner critic.  So, we need to find a way to have it work for us instead of against us.  Does that sound like a good idea?  Yes, it is.  When we remove blaming statements from the arsenal of our inner critic, we turn its power to judge into encouragement and motivation.

When we reframe negative self-talk into positive language, we silence self-doubt and overthinking.  Here’s an example.

In the sport of gymnastics, some movements can be both physically and mentally challenging.  I recall my experience learning to do a flyaway dismount from the high bar.  It looks simple enough.  All you do is let go.  But there are a lot of things that can go wrong, which starts you overthinking: why am I not good enough to do this trick?

Instead of staying focused, you worry about letting go too soon and shooting out flat on your back.  Or you could let go too late, in which case you come back into the high bar.  If you start thinking of the negative consequences, fear kicks in, and you fail somehow.  The only way to do the trick is to think of the positive outcome, what it would feel like to do the move correctly.  You conquer your fear by visualizing what it’s like to succeed.

2) Turn Negativity into Gratitude

If you drop something, you can be sure it will fall; that’s gravity at work.  So make sure it falls on something soft when you drop something, then it won’t break.  This is the technique we use in negative situations with heavy emotional gravity.  These are the big things: losing a loved one, loss of a job, loss of health.

These are heavy emotional situations that need to be dealt with appropriately.  If you stay stuck with negative emotions for too long, it can spiral into depression and other harmful thoughts.  If you can’t shake the negative thoughts on your own, then seek professional help.

One technique that works well is to focus your attention on gratitude and forgiveness.  Even if this doesn’t work long-term, it can give you short-term relief.  So, if you’ve lost a loved one, think of all the good times you shared.  If you lost your job, consider what you’ve learned and the positive things you can take forward.

It helps if you write a list.  When you write, it helps to slow down your hyperactive mind.

Forgiving someone who has caused you physical or emotional harm helps release you from carrying the burden of their actions.  It doesn’t keep your inner critic from bringing it back up, so forgiveness and gratitude are things you need to do more than once if you are going to break the chain of negative thinking.

3) Find Survivor Partners

Sometimes, talking about your situation with other people who have had similar experiences can help you understand that you are not alone in dealing with the problem.  It doesn’t make the problem disappear, but camaraderie goes a long way to healing the wounds.

So, start with the goal of moving away from the victim’s role.  You want to be a survivor, but don’t stop there.  Surviving is a place to rest, not live out your life.  You want to find your way to thriving and enjoying life.

4) Use a Spiritual Journal

If you started writing things to be grateful for, here’s a good place to keep track.  Many people start journaling with a dream journal—the first tool of the serious spiritual explorer in their journals.  We recommend the use of a paper-based journal.  You’ll probably have several.  They are your best coach because they record what you think and feel.  We have several good reference tools to help you get the most out of this essential learning and self-improvement device.

5) Meditate

Many people can learn or already know the basic two-step meditation technique that can calm their minds immediately.  But we forget it so easily when we are involved in some emotional battle.  So, don’t just learn how to mediate; practice it every day.

“It’s in the silence that I’m most able to hear the tiny voices that tell me I’m not good enough, smart enough, or cool enough. I try to hear them for what they are: my own creations.  Sitting with them, letting them speak, hearing them out, and giving them back the silence that I’m now sitting in has shown me that, quite often, they shut up.” —  Eric Lange

It’s amazing how much more clarity we have if we only meditate for two minutes.  Meditation is like the reset button on your computer.  It fixes a lot of problems just by being shut down for a few minutes.  All the negative stuff gets cleared away, and then it can operate more efficiently, just like your mind.

Summation

These five techniques, or strategies, are the remedies for many problems plaguing society.  You can learn many of them from reading about them here in other articles on this website.

Reframing the internal dialogue is about breaking old thinking patterns’ chains.  Leveraging gratitude is a simple way to provide immediate perspective.  Partnering with others and sharing your personal story connects us with the community and opens the heart.  Writing and journaling techniques help us reveal the thought patterns we need to change, and meditation grounds us.

References

(1) When You Never Feel Good Enough

(2) Emotion-Focused Coping Techniques and Exercises