How to Overcome Feeling Inadequate

By Dr. Perry, PhD

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~C.G. Jung

1. Acknowledge your feelings
Before we can overcome feelings of inadequacy, we need to acknowledge that we feel this way. Do you feel like you are not enough? Do you feel like you can’t do anything right? If you feel this way, it’s ok. Just accept it. We can easily stay stuck in our denial. But, if we choose to ignore how we truly feel, we can never dismantle and reconstruct these feelings. Take a moment to explore the area in your life you feel is lacking.

2. Identify the source
Feeling inadequate often stems from negative messages we receive from other people. During childhood, we are especially vulnerable to adopting negative core beliefs. A negative core belief might be, “I am not worthy of love,” or “I will never be good enough.” Without receiving unconditional positive regard, we are likely to view our self-worth as conditional. If we value ourselves conditionally, we will never find peace in who we are. We must always consider the cause. Who convinced you that you are not enough, being who you are?

3. Embrace your imperfection
Perfection is an illusion. No one is perfect. It is easy to get caught up in the idea that perfection is attainable. Television, magazines and the internet are just a few mediums that promote and exalt perfection. Many of us want to be better versions of ourselves. We must be careful that our desire to be better does not translate into wanting to be perfect.

4. Accept you are not your failures
In the words of Morihei Ueshiba, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.” It is important to view failure as an opportunity for growth. We cannot win at everything. And, if we take our losses personally, we inevitably will feel inadequate. Remember, we make mistakes to learn.

5. See beauty in vulnerability
You are enough, just the way you are. By accepting who we are, we can identify the areas in our lives that actually could use some work. And, just because there is room for improvement does not mean there is something wrong with us. Our beauty is in our potential. We all have the potential for growth. That is what makes us human.

I hope you found this helpful. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation to work with me on your mental health please click here.

Dr. Perry
“We specialize in a solution-focused approach to psychotherapy, specifically treating depression, anxiety, relationship issues and narcissistic abuse.”
Verified by Psychology Today

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84 responses to How to Overcome Feeling Inadequate

  1. We have to make new beliefs If we suffer from old beliefs blocking are life, we know we are worthy, we know we are capable of many things, a positive attitude in everything we do.We can do and be what ever we choose.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Singledust says:

    Always appreciate your words of wisdom and enlightenment on the small yet significant points in our lives. So true that we are shaped from young to develop feelings of inadequacies and usually it’s an important adult figure that’s the negative influence.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. giggin1 says:

    I used to be sooo stressed out trying to be flawless. Then I got cancer. What shame that it took such a severe kick in the ass to slow me down. Better late than never though. I’m slowly but surely falling in love with me 😊

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Pepper says:

    Eric~ Wonderfully written! Every bit of this is spot on and something I try to convey to my AP Psych students who are in the midst of discovering who they are and where they ‘fit in’ in this world. #2-hits home. Thank you 🙂 Pepper

    Liked by 3 people

  5. thecottonreel says:

    What a great space you have developed to share some interesting & thought provoking ideas & theories … it’s like a workout for the mind!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great write! You mention in some of your other articles that getting off social media even for a little while can help boost personal morale. Not constantly worrying if people will “like” or “follow” you. How we are perceived by strangers shouldn’t make or break us.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Sparkyjen says:

    #5 really hits home. We are beautiful as humans just the way we are. The fear of appearing vulnerable haunts the lives of many, and I wish more people could give themselves permission to see the strength in all that they are, achilles’ and all.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Ealachan says:

    ‘In the words of Morihei Ueshiba, “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”’

    This is exactly what I have taken to reminding myself of when I catch myself in a pattern of beating myself up over mistakes I’ve made. If you succeed without making any mistakes at all then you probably better go out and buy some lottery tickets because you’ve definitely got luck on your side! 😉

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Hendrik Duvenhage says:

    Congratulations on your post, I must admit I have popped in and read a good number of your postings I just want to tell you how good you are at describing the stuff your at – I must admit I find it insightful to read your blogging. Keep up the good work. Hendrik Duvenhage

    Liked by 4 people

  10. vishalrose says:

    Number 1 hooked me in because it was what I struggled with for years. It wasn’t until I voiced the fact I actually had feelings of inadequacy was I able to begin the road to healing my own self-doubt.

    Just as I thought you had me with the first point as the most powerful, though, you hit me with the uppercut that was number 4. I have plagued myself with stories about the cause of what was “wrong” with me and what I can change about myself to solve them but there wasn’t a damn thing so I kept running around in negative circles until I finally opened the door and pushed me through to a better state.

    Such a great read, thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Can I share this? Came back to read it again today. Needed the reminder. Better yet, are they any copy right infringements to tattooing this on my arm for quick reference? LOL

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Ben Dover says:

    Sometimes I have fleeting moments of adequacy. But for the most part, it’s total inadequacy. My hope is that dealing with my Codependency and depression will help me work on this.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Beauty in vulnerability. I love that. We are each of us beautifully imperfect. We must cherish our quirks and weaknesses, they are what make us who we are. How dull if we were all perfect replicas of one another.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. sargondorsai says:

    Such a wonderful message. I love number 5. Just because you aren’t perfect doesn’t mean there is something wrong. There will always be room for improvement.

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Jasmin says:

    That was EXACTLY what I needed to read – right here, right now, after two rotten days at work. Thank you! My goodness, wow. Tomorrow will be a new day. Phew!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Great points.
    Acceptance sure is a good place to start.
    Being compassionate with ourselves for how we feel is also important.

    Did you read Tara Brach’s “Radical Acceptance” book?
    In it she talks about how to get over the ‘Trance of Unworthiness’

    Thanks for sharing your insights.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Excellent post Doc. Feeling insignificant or worthless is the first step towards anxiety and depression. It’s easy to lose confidence but highly challenging to regain it. Thanks for your tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you for sharing this Dr. Perry! It’s been a while since I’ve been feeling this which often leads me to being stressed and out of focus especially at work.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Create Space says:

    I often write about this and tell people they are enough as they are yet I struggle to accept my own limitations…now I know why…”The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.” ~C.G. Jung…insightful post Dr.Perry, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. […] 4. Explore the cause Have you explored where the intrusive thoughts are coming from? During childhood, it is especially common to adopt certain beliefs about ourselves, based on what others have told us. We unknowingly carry these thoughts into adulthood, not realizing their harmful effects (See my post: Overcoming Feeling Inadequate). […]

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