We all have an inner critic – that little voice in our heads that points out what we can do better. Sometimes it’s helpful, and we make wiser choices because of it.
Other times, though, our inner critic goes too far. We start doubting our abilities, comparing ourselves to other people, and avoiding opportunities for fear of failure.
If you’re dealing with this and you’re wondering what to do when you feel like you’re not good enough, take heart. There are some strategies you can try right now that will help you get your sense of value and purpose back.
What to do when you feel like you’re not good enough
There are countless reasons why we might fall into self-doubt or low self-esteem. There are lots of factors, internal and external, that affect the way we view ourselves. Depending on what’s causing your sense of value to plummet, one of these strategies might help you:
Never underestimate the power of support from others! Surround yourself with encouraging voices that uplift and inspire you. A great place to find this kind of support system is in a Group. Your Group will come around you, support you, and remind you that you matter to God. (Remember, God isn’t disappointed in you. He already knows how you’re feeling!)
You may also find it helpful to share your feelings with a pastor or counselor who can provide guidance and empathy. Talking about your struggles can often lead to a fresh perspective and help you navigate negative emotions. (If you need help finding someone to talk to, let us know! We’d love to help.)
Shut down your inner critic
Your inner critic can be a double-edged sword. While it can motivate you to improve, it can also lead to excessive self-doubt, leaving you feeling like you’re not good enough.
To regain control over your thoughts, you need to stop negative self-talk. When you say things like “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never measure up,” over time you’ll start to believe them more and more. Speak kindly to yourself and be gentle with your flaws.
If you find it challenging to identify your positive traits, consider seeking input from someone you trust. Sometimes, an outsider's perspective can reveal the qualities we fail to see in ourselves.
Quit comparing yourself
Theodore Roosevelt once wisely said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Constantly measuring yourself against others will only magnify your insecurities.
Each individual is on a unique path, and our journeys are all different. Comparing yourself to others is a losing game where we always end up falling short. There will always be someone who appears to be better-looking, more patient with their kids, or more advanced in their career.
If you struggle with feeling less-than compared to others, try setting the barometer for your life against God’s truth. Romans 12:2 cautions us against copying the behaviors and patterns of the world we live in. How would your perception of yourself change if you compared yourself to what God says about you instead of what the world says you should be?
Check your environment and set boundaries
Sometimes, feelings of inadequacy result from the unrealistic expectations others place on us. It's crucial to take an honest look at your environment and the people you surround yourself with.
If certain individuals or situations chip away at your self-esteem, it may be time to distance yourself from them. Setting healthy boundaries is crucial for maintaining a positive self-image and ensuring that you’re not constantly weighed down by external pressures.
Go in the strength you have
When you feel like you’re not good enough, you may be tempted to “fake it ‘til you make it.” While it sounds helpful, this mindset can lead to imposter syndrome. This will only make your feelings of inadequacy worse!
In the book of Judges, we see the story of Gideon. He was called by God to fight the Midianites, but Nehemiah was hardly prepared for the task. God gives Gideon powerful advice that we can take to heart today: “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14).
God doesn’t need us to pretend to have it all together. He just needs us to follow his lead.
Focus on progress over perfection
God never asks us to be perfect. In fact, he knew we couldn’t be. That’s why he sent Jesus to take on the punishment for our sins and mistakes.
In return, we can stop striving to measure up and receive God’s grace. Check out what God tells us about this grace in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
What a relief that we don’t have to try to fake strength, ability, or perfection! We’re not good enough – and that’s okay! Instead, we can aim for growth in our relationship with God and others, and in the way we live our lives.
Feeling like you're not good enough doesn't have to define who you are. By shutting down your inner critic, letting go of comparison, setting healthy boundaries, acknowledging your achievements, focusing on progress, and seeking support, you can break free from the chains of self-doubt and embrace your true worth.
If you’re looking for more guidance and direction, check out some of these helpful resources:
How to Break the Cycle of Anxiety Under Pressure
What is Your Identity in Christ?
What to Do When You Feel Lost in Life
Remix Your Negative Thoughts: a 10-day Bible Reading Plan
LCBC stands for Lives Changed By Christ. We are one church in multiple locations across Pennsylvania. Find the location closest to you or join us for Church Online. We can’t wait to connect with you!