Have you ever felt shame and thought, I am just not good enough?
Not smart enough. Capable enough. Fit enough. Doing enough?
Does the thought of other people thinking you’re also not good enough make your stomach churn?
Welcome to the club, ‘not being enough’ is one of the most common beliefs shared amongst all humans, including us ladies! The Centre for Clinical Interventions, reminds us that “negative core beliefs reflect the negative, broad, and generalised judgements you have made about yourself, based on some negative experiences you might have had during your earlier years” ¹
I am here to suggest that, I think it is our fear of not being enough, in front of others, that is really what may be holding us back.
Well, when you believe you are not good enough at something, there is a sense of shame wrapped around it. Shame that you are not enough. Grounded theory researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection” ²
We are very good at hiding shame. It may show up as:
- Playing down your strengths/talents, so others have lower expectations of you, and you can’t ‘let them down’, all in the effort to save being embarrassed.
- Taking on one too many tasks – because doing more MUST be better and show others you are worthy of your job/money/partner/family.
- People pleasing – swallowing what you may want to do so others will like you more. Complaining and playing the victim – making others feel sorry for you for doing things you may not want to be doing in the first place. The list continues. The research in shame refers to these as ‘shame screens’, we all have them to varying degrees. All of these feelings of not ‘enoughness’ are based in fear. Notice the one common word in each list item?
To truly succeed and feel fulfilled, we need to move on from being afraid of not being good enough, in front of others.
Shame grows in the shade. Bringing light to it, diminishes its power.
Here are some ideas for journaling or thought exercises for you:
- Become aware of how shame feels. How does it feel in your body? What triggered it? Who triggered it? When did those feelings start to grow? Why are you ashamed of that feeling?
- Spell it out. Put pen to paper and spell out those fears. Try telling someone one of your triggers/fears, essentially allow your story to create change.
- Jot down any negative core beliefs. What is making it hard for you to think about yourself kindly? Do you want to continue that thought pattern? Do you not think you deserve better?
We can overcome shame. It takes time and some effort. As shame dwindles, confidence grows. Becoming confident at anything, writing content, learning to surf, speaking up in meetings, developing marketing strategies as well as overcoming shame, takes courage.
- Remind yourself of where/when you have already displayed courage. That time you asked for that pay rise, applied for a job ‘beyond’ your current role, asked for some ‘you’ time.
- Pick a new skill to develop. Choose something fun, outside of your day job and embrace being a goof and learning step by step. It’s takes courage to put away your ego and be a beginner, it is a wonderful life-long mindset too.
- Set a timer or make a promise. Courage cannot be built without action. We move forward when we are not paralysed with fear. So, decide what you want to do, set a timer or better yet, tell someone else that you are going to try it and report back after you have done it.
It is this courage that will help propel you from fear to bravery. From fear to fulfilment.
So, close your eyes, take a deep breath, swallow any ‘not good enough’ thoughts and do it