10 In Thoughts & Observations

Managing the Bane of “Not Good Enough”

I hate the phrase, “I’m not good enough.” I hear it in my head all the damned time and it makes me bonky.

Sometimes it’s dead-on accurate. Sometimes my writing needs a whole lot of scrub-a-dub-dub or a heartless head-on with a set of Ginsus. Sometimes I’m not engaged enough with my family and friends and need a good, swift kick in the ass to get my head back in the game.

Other times it’s just brutal self-mutilation of my self-esteem; an internal bashing of my skills or actions driven by nothing more than a deep-seated need for approval.

The trick is figuring out when to listen.

This is when my trusty victims friends and family come in. I fill my life with people I admire and can trust—people who not only get me, but appreciate my quirkiness and aren’t out to transform me into someone….well….unquirky. I call/beg/stalk these patient folks, get their feedback, and try to listen. (My self-doubt is really loud, so trying to listen is harder than one might think.)

My other go-to tool is perspective. I (try) to take a step back and look at the piece of work/situation from a holistic view. Again, not always the easiest task to maneuver because my self-doubt tends to be something of a neodymium magnet in addition to screeching at high decibels, but it’s a mental muscle I’m determined to develop.

What about you? Do you struggle with feeling good enough? Or do you have some other emotional ball of slime you try to tame with mental chopsticks? How do you cope?

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  • Reply
    Linda Trout
    July 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Like you, I stalk my friends. I cry on their shoulders, let them pat me on the head before they kick me in the rear and tell me to “get back to work!”

    As I write this, I’m ready to pull the covers over my head to deal with my own round self-doubt and depression. But I’ve found the BEST way to get over my doldrums is to simply WRITE. Even if no one else thinks my writing is good, if I feel good about a scene (or even a paragraph), then it brightens my whole day and I can deal with all the other garbage in my life.

    Don’t let self-doubt bite you in the butt. You’re good. You’re writing is good. Reel in your type A personality just a ‘tad’ and you’ll be fine. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 25, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Yes! I think a lot of us struggle with it.

    A couple of years ago I was taking a shower (all the best thoughts come to me there, or at least they used to) and I was beating myself up over the head. AGAIN. and it hit me, I’m wasting energy. My mental convo was not going to change what I did or did not do, or what I thought I should do/not do, and so from there on, I’ve just blanked it out, although, some days are better than others for keeping my brain in check. 🙂

    • Reply
      July 25, 2013 at 11:50 am

      The shower and my convertible are the two best places for ideas!

  • Reply
    Maggie Amada
    July 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I think we all struggle with feeling not good enough at one time or another no matter how good we are.

    Maybe the writers of the past have it right: We need to create an internal voice that says the exact opposite (an angel) and then the angel and devil argue in our heads, putting forth arguments for and against being good enough.

    So… I guess I advocate talking voices in our heads (not like that’s crazy or anything). :O)

    • Reply
      July 25, 2013 at 11:49 am

      See? This is why I love writers! They get the whole, “voices in the head” thing without trying to give me meds.

  • Reply
    Marianna Heusler
    July 25, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Someone once wrote and I am so misquoting, “The truly talented are riddled with self-doubt. Confidence is given to the less gifted as a consolation prize.”

    • Reply
      July 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      Holy cow, Marianna! That’s awesome! I see a new sticky note about to be added to my computer!

    • Reply
      Mary Ann Clarke Scott
      July 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      Love this! I’m stealing it for a sticky note, too!

      I agree that all writer’s (and other artists too) struggle with this problem of low self esteem and self doubt and criticism. I certainly do. My particular cross to bear is that I’m from a family of neurotic analytical-critical people who think nit-picking is being helpful. So my big challenge is resisting this force and finding others who understand that what I need is positivity, emotional support and acceptance. That’s why I come here! 🙂

  • Reply
    CJ Burright
    July 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    When doubts creep, I give myself a little (or jumbo-size, depending) mental karate chop to the head to never compare myself to others. We’re all on different paths going at different speeds, and while weird, there’s only one of me. And that’s always good enough, no matter what anyone else thinks. So there.

  • Reply
    July 25, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    I admit it. I’m a lesser ALL THE TIME. Every critique. Every submission. Every time I write and let anyone else read it, I know I’m not as good as. BUT the only thing I can think of to stop being a lesser is to stop writing, and the one thing I hate more than being a lesser is the thought of not writing at all.
    Thanks for bringing us lessers into the light.

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