Everyone has this little voice in their head which never seems to shut up. You may call it your inner voice, intuition, Jiminy Cricket, a hallucination, George or whatever, but it’s there and it gives a running commentary on everything that you do, think, and say. That inner voice is an opinionated bastard and can be meaner than that 8th-grade girl that turned all your friends against you in middle school. That inner voice is so mean, if you were to say the things it says to you out loud to someone else, you’d be the bully that no one wanted to be around.
That voice is the one that calls you a loser when you mess up a presentation at work. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re too old to Zumba or too young to make a difference. It’s the mean kid that tells you that your knees are too ugly to wear shorts or you’re too stupid to understand quantum theory or how to work the PlayStation control.
These things we tell ourselves, they stem from our childhood. When we are born, we have a clean slate of oblivion. We think about nothing but food, playing and pooping and we are fearless. Then as we begin growing up, we start experiencing life and we start letting fear creep in. As we do, we start storing rules internally to protect us from scary things in the world. And then we carry these set of beliefs into adulthood.
If we aren’t careful and aware, this inner voice will take charge and guide all of our decisions in an effort to protect us from perceived danger. These unconscious beliefs can paralyze us and hold us back, keeping us in a prison of fear. These are limiting beliefs. Everyone has them and many people know they have them, but sometimes, it is the most difficult thing to see and identify a limiting belief, even when it’s right in front of your face.
[RELATED POST: When YOU’RE The Toxic Person In Your Life…(And How To Change It)]
Recently, it hit me that my biggest limiting belief is that I am not good enough. It is a belief that I can track down to when I was very young and no matter how many people tell me that I am good enough, smart enough and gosh darn it people like me, my inner voice can combat it with a pile of evidence that shows otherwise.
- As a child of immigrant parents from an Asian family, it was the expectation that I get good grades. When I brought home straight A’s, I was asked why they weren’t straight A pluses. My grades were never good enough.
- In the third grade, my cursive wasn’t displayed on the cursive board because my writing wasn’t good enough.
- When I auditioned for a school musical and didn’t get the part, it was because I wasn’t good enough.
- Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, nothing I did was ever good enough.
- All the jobs I applied for but never got a call for was because I wasn’t good enough to be considered.
- I wasn’t a good enough wife which is why my husband cheated on me.
- Blah, blah, the list could go on forever…
As I type this, I can think of dozens more not good enoughs that have held me back and debilitated me in the last 40 years. This one little belief has kept me from accomplishing so many things. Ironically, I’ve always been pretty good at most things I set my mind to. From school to singing to writing to photography, I’ve grasped on quickly and shown some aptitude in. But even though I am pretty good at many things, I’m not good enough in any of them. I can carry a tune, but not good enough for a solo. I can give a good speech at Toastmasters, but it won’t win any contests. And on and on.
My mom’s psychic told her many years ago that I always get the silver star in everything because I prevent myself from getting the gold star. I didn’t get wtf she was talking about back then, but now it all makes perfect sense.
Yes, I know that everyone fears not being good enough, but that doesn’t make it less powerful and debilitating. Now that I am aware of this limiting belief, the next step is to reprogram that little voice in my head that tells me how incompetent I am. It’s not easy work. Even as I write this, that inner voice is telling me that this post isn’t good enough, my words aren’t good enough, and who am I to write this post right now. Flipping the script on ol’ Jiminy takes quite a bit of energy (and Google searching), but I am determined not to let it hold me back any longer. Plus, I want that gold star, dammit!
I love this little video from Marie Forleo about what she does when she feels like she’s not good enough.
Ironically, I am worried that this blog post isn’t good enough to publish. Which means, I am just going to hit publish and see what happens. So, thanks for sharing, Biaatch. I got this.
What limiting beliefs are holding you back?
Books I’m Reading Right Now
- 365 Ways to Raise Your Frequency by Melissa Alvarez
- Parenting Your Eighth Grader by Kristin Ivy & Reggie Joiner
- Who Says You Can’t? You Do by Daniel Chidiac
8 thoughts on “‘I’m Not Good Enough’ and Other Limiting Beliefs That Hold Us Back”
Love this! ❤️ I defintely struggle with never feeling like I’m “good enough”. Glad to know I’m not the only one
Thank you, Pat! Time to change that limiting belief with me 🙂
Thank you for sharing your blog with us. I can relate totally relate to this! My mom and her Chinese friends would constantly compare their kids with one another and brag about how well they do in school, playing musical instrument, or what ever award they received. That voice inside my head would replay over and over again how I messed up this or that. Not good to have all that pressure when you’re a teenager trying to figure how to fit in socially, comparing yourself to others, and not being sure what the future holds. I remember being devastated for weeks when I wasn’t chosen as the best student in my high school for senior year. I was pretty sure I had the highest GPA and was involved in more extra curricular activities than the person who won. What a humbling experience. I think the best life lesson that I’ve learned is not to be afraid to try and fail. It is OK to fail, as long as you learn from your mistakes and continue to do better.
Thanks for your words of wisdom, Gloria! Yes, Asian parents can be brutal when it comes to their kids’ achievement.
I went through the first 17 years of my life with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD. My mother’s favorite way to motivate me was to tell me I could have that toy I desperately wanted if I brought home straight A’s. With ADHD, I was never able to do it.
I never fit in with the other kids. I was bullied from kindergarten through graduation.
Even after diagnosis and treatment, I still got fired from most of the dozens of jobs I’ve had.
Now in my 40s, I have a software company, and I’ve started a blog that I want to monetize. Nothing brings up money issues like leaving the “security” of the world of employment to strike it out on your own. It’s been tough.
Although I haven’t been completely broke, the terror around not having steady income has brought up so much childhood crap. I think I’m finally drilling down to my root limiting belief. “People won’t want to give me money because I’m horribly flawed and not good enough. They don’t like me or want me because I’m flawed, so I should just keep to myself so no one notices me.” I blame both the bullying and my mother dangling rewards over my head that I wasn’t “good enough” to reach.
I’m working on all this with EFT tapping and therapy. Reading this post really hit me in the feels. It actually made me cry. If you asked me, I’d say it’s perfect.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. You’ve been on quite a journey and I love hearing that you have come through it stronger, and crushing your goals in spite of your fears and trauma. You’re amazing and 1000% good enough.