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  • Brooke Aymes

10 Signs That We Do Not Feel Good Enough

We develop core beliefs about ourselves and about the world during our childhood. If we experienced adverse childhood experiences (ACES) during that time, than we are at risk of developing false/negative beliefs about ourselves and about the world around us.

Adverse childhood experiences could be anything from experiencing childhood trauma and neglect to our parents separating. As a child, we can perceive these experiences happening as a result of ourselves rather than happening objectively. For example, if our parent consistently does not show up for us at school or sporting events, we might believe that it is a result of us not being good enough rather than something to do with the parent. This perception leads to developing false and/or negative beliefs about ourselves.

We may live with these negative beliefs in our adulthood without ever realizing it. These beliefs most likely interfere with our careers and our relationships. Here are ten ways to tell if we are living with a core belief of not feeling good enough —


Often times we will continue to seek perfectionism in order to prove to ourselves that we are in fact good enough. We set unachievable goals for ourselves, like trying to complete a chaotic to-do list in a short period of time or maintaining a spotless home at all times. We are the person that seemingly always has it all together on the outside. However, on the inside our mind is constantly running with the endless things that need to get done.

Trying to live up to unrealistic expectations will always set us up to fail. Some days we might be able to complete all of the things and feel good about it, however most days life will show up and we will not be able to complete all of the things perfectly. When this happens, we are left feeling like a failure, we have validated our belief that we are not good enough and have increased negative self talk and increased negative feelings about ourself.

A woman in a grey suit having perfectionist behaviors due to not feeling good enough

Productive Anxiety

We experience anxiety about our productiveness. We measure our self worth based on how productive we have been. If we are productive, than we are good enough. If we have used all of our time in the most efficient way possible, than we are good enough. Similar to perfectionism, this sets us up for failure because our minds and bodies are naturally not capable of being productive at all times. Our minds and bodies will eventually demand rest.

People Pleasing Tendencies — Difficulty saying no

When we struggle with feeling good enough, our greatest fear is that others will also notice that we are not good enough. We will overcompensate in our relationships to prevent others from seeing what we see. We have difficulty saying no in our relationships. This might look like, always saying yes to working more hours or continuing to work outside of our paid hours to reach deadlines and complete projects. This might look like saying yes to all social functions even when we are feeling over-extended and exhausted out of fear of what others might think.

Girl in a grey sweater buying presents at Christmas to people please others

Most times we are consistently making our lives unmanageable to appease others. If we can make everyone around us happy, than we are good enough. Again, this is an impossible mission and when it backfires we are still left feeling not good enough.

Lack of Boundaries

Boundaries protect our own peace. In order to have boundaries and to implement boundaries we have to have some self awareness. For example, when we spend time with a family member we have awareness within ourselves to notice that we feel increased anxiety. To continue to protect our own mental health and to continue to preserve that special relationship, we implement boundaries. That boundary might look like only spending time with that family member when we are feeling like we are in a good head space.

Women in a tan sweater staying at the office because of a lack of boundaries

When we feel not good enough— we might have the self awareness to know that the relationship is negatively impacting our mental health and/or quality of life, however we might be unable to implement boundaries out of fear of what our family member will think of us or out of fear of conflict that might arise.

Fear of Judgement

Our minds are often cluttered with anxious thoughts about what others are thinking about us. When we are in social settings we are second guessing what we are saying and are often replaying the tape at a later time wondering if there was anything that we said wrong.

Because of fear of judgement, we must appear perfect so that others assume that we are perfect and that we have it all together. If they see that we are not perfect, than they will also see that we are not good enough and most likely abandon us.

Fear of Failure

Failing is our worst fear because if we fail that justifies the belief that we are not good enough. Failing could be as simple as not completing the to-do list for the day to having to close down our business. We will continue to run ourselves into the ground to ensure that we are not failing.

Trouble Asking for Help

Often times we will feel like a burden when asking others for help this makes asking for help extremely difficult. We have no problem listening to others, being in service to others and do not feel as though others are a burden, however we feel as though we would be a burden on others if we asked for the same help.

Woman with anxiety going for a run to quiet negative self talk

Negative Self Talk

Our minds are constantly speaking negative thoughts to ourself. This can be most easily identified by “should statements.” Most likely when we are using should statements we are judging or criticizing ourselves in our heads. When we are resting on the couch and our mind says, “You should be cleaning the house or you should be finishing that work project,” we are judging ourselves for resting and sitting on the couch is no longer relaxing.

Negative Social Comparisons

We might compare ourselves to others and think negatively about ourselves as a result. Social media is a huge catalyst in comparing ourselves to others. We might see other peoples beautiful lives through the lens of a camera — their beautiful vacations, engagements, job promotions and think that what we are accomplishing or working on is not good enough.

Difficulty Accepting Compliments

Compliments are super uncomfortable for us. We feel socially awkward when receiving them and feel unsure how to respond. We usually end up saying something negatively about ourselves in response.


Nj Addiction therapist Brooke Aymes climbing Mt. Tammany at the Delaware Water Gap as a form of self care

Hey, I'm Brooke --I'm a licensed anxiety and addiction therapist serving individuals, adolescents and couples in the states of New Jersey, Delaware and Florida. My experience brings both a personal and professional perspective to the work that I do with my clients. If you are interested in learning more about the therapy process and would like to schedule a free consultation, I would love to chat with you!

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