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  • Writer's pictureSarah M.

Why Do I Feel So Inadequate?

An approach to healing.

Do you ever struggle with feeling inadequate? Maybe you have a good life and feel lucky for all the things you have. Maybe you are in a loving relationship, have a good job, even own a home and have healthy kids. Whatever it is that's on your list that you would consider a good life, you still might be questioning everything.

Because despite all your good fortune, you might not be able to shake the nagging feeling that you aren't enough. "I should be more successful. I should make more money. I should be where my boss is. I should have a graduate degree. I should have a bigger house. I should have more friends. I should have a loving partner. I should have this or that".

Your mind is full of these “shoulds,” and there could be a million little reasons why you feel this way. Maybe you had a super successful parent or sibling that you can’t stop comparing yourself to. Maybe social media makes you feel like shit.

It totally depends on your own life and your unique experiences. But whatever these experiences are, they’ve clearly stuck with you. They’ve impacted you so much that what you have, what you’ve done, and who you are still isn’t enough.

I'm so sorry that you feel this way. And I understand what it feels like to always want to do more and be better, and at the end of the day still feel like it isn’t enough or worthy of celebration. So, take a deep breath and let’s get to talking about inadequacy.

Feeling inadequate can often come from childhood experiences. They shape us and impact how we view ourselves as we step into adulthood. Like I mentioned, this might come from having someone influential in your life who seemed to achieve literally anything they set their mind to. Or maybe you had someone in your life telling or showing you that you weren't enough.

As we get older, we become exposed to things in our lives that make this feeling of inadequacy pop up over and over again. We criticize our bodies and compare ourselves to others, we get comments on how we parent and what we choose to eat. We even get criticized by using filters or not using them. The list is endless.

Feeling Inadequate Shows Up Mentally

When we feel inadequate, it can bring up a lot of different emotions and mental habits with it. We start to doubt our abilities, our identity, and so much more.

Feeling Inadequate Shows Up Physically

You might not think that feeling inadequate can show up physically, but it can. Your body is more perceptive to these types of things than you might think.

Cope And Transform

The process of change starts with awareness and then moves forward by making small changes to your habits and personal beliefs, and lastly, continues throughout the rest of your life as you build and maintain those changes. For people who have never had strong self-esteem, this can be especially difficult. Fortunately, developing stronger self-esteem and coping with feelings of inadequacy is possible.

1. Start Talking To Yourself Positively: How you speak to yourself makes a major difference in how you feel about yourself.

2. Set Positive Reminders All Around You: What you surround yourself with is what you end up feeling.

3. Be Around People Who Are Confident And Who Make You Feel Confident Too: You tend to mirror people you hang around with.

4. Challenge Your Negative Self-Thoughts And Beliefs: It’s important to treat negative thoughts for what they are, internal bullies.

5. Avoid Comparison: You are not anyone else and no one out there is you.

6. Appreciate The Things You Do Love About Yourself: Trying to force yourself to love things about you that you may not truly love can do more harm than good.

7. Engage In More Activities You Are Good At: When you do things you are good at, it can help you feel more confident in our abilities and talent.

8. Set Small, Achievable Goals: When you try to tackle too much and fail in the process, it can make you feel as though your feelings of inadequacy are justified.

9. Improve Your Current Lifestyle: Things like exercise, diet, and other lifestyle choices can contribute to overall better mental and physical health.

Remember during this process that is okay to ask for help. The tips above are great places to start, but sometimes you may need more help in incorporating them into you life or finding your value.

The most important thing to remember when you are figuring out how to cope with feeling inadequate, you are in control of your narrative. No matter what you have been through in the past, you are the writer of your own story.

Things that impacted you in the past have no hold over you now. Once you understand why you feel inadequate, you can work towards dealing with those root causes and building yourself up from there.

Take some time to consider what may be the underlying reasons behind your feeling of inadequacy, remembering that you are ultimately in control of how you feel and perceive yourself. Use this as the launching pad toward becoming the confident person that you are looking to be.


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