Am I good enough?
Most of us agonise about how we come across to others. Some of us find ourselves in an endless loop of ‘comparison anxiety’. Rationally we know it’s not helpful to our self-esteem, and yet we can’t stop ourselves from going there.
Why do we gaze at ourselves through such a critical lens? And set ourselves ideals which are difficult to live up to. The answer is partly due to how self-esteem and self-worth are developed. According to social scientists, we build self-worth by evaluating ourselves according to how we think others see us. We also compare ourselves to others in order to get a benchmark of our own position amongst our peer group. This means our perceived self-worth is heavily reliant on other people’s judgement of us. A judgement process that is unhelpfully perpetuated by social media; as the number of ‘Instagram Likes’ start to equate to self-worth and self-esteem, for an increasing number of us.
But how can we free ourselves from the tyranny of the “am I good enough” mantra?
Firstly, think about whether or not you have an accurate view of how you think other people view you. Is ‘perception bias’ creeping in; for instance, how much of your self-perception is shaped by your inner critical voice?
For example, people with high self-esteem focus on growth and improvement, whereas people with low self-esteem focus on not making mistakes.
Secondly, think about how much actual evidence there is for your internalised critical view of yourself? Is it really a fair and true reflection of all of you? For instance, there is probably more ‘right’ with you, than ‘wrong’ with you.
Thirdly, what makes other people’s judgement or opinions the right one? Stop deferring to other people’s judgements, and start believing it’s your opinion of yourself which matters the most.
Although it is motivating to set goals and have aspirations, constantly comparing yourself to someone or something, might be doing more harm than good. You’re probably undermining your self-esteem, rather than helping it to flourish.
Remember no one’s perfect and beating yourself up about not being perfect isn’t going help. Focus instead on all the things you do well and learn to give yourself a break and treat yourself with the same self-compassion you bestow on friends and family.
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About Lorraine Green
Lorraine is a therapist with practices based in London and Brighton. She has worked as a counsellor for several mental health charities and has experience of a wide range of mental health issues.