Sometimes when I’m at my lowest I feel like I will never be able to achieve anything in my in life. I feel worthless, insecure and like there is no point in even trying my best. I even felt like that while writing this article. These feelings nestle in my body and give me a sinking sensation in my stomach, weighing me down. These feeling comes from the thought: “I am not good enough”. Although it sometimes feels like it, I am not the only one who has this thought. In 2016, a youtuber named Nathan Zedd uploaded a video entitled: “You’re not good enough”. In his video he explains that the thought of not being the best stops him from making videos and being creative and has stopped him from taking other opportunities in the past. His video exemplifies how crippling it can be to suffer from self-doubt and insecurity. However, he also motivates people to work past these feelings and to just make things regardless of their doubt. Because this message resonated with many people who watched it, myself included, Nathan received a lot of support and praise. He decided to give something back and released his own merchandise, namely t-shirts with the slogan: “Good Enough”. They sold out almost immediately and still do every time he releases a new batch. The fact that these shirts sells so well shows that people really need and like to have a small affirmation that they are worthwhile. Perhaps you do not identify with the thoughts and feelings I described above. If you do, however, I will try to give you some more tips to build your confidence and to be kind to yourself.
One thing that goes hand in hand with self-doubt is fear of failure: “I’m not good enough, so I will fail.” This can be an especially prominent thought when you are a student and you are graded regularly on things like exams and essays. This can lead to the idea that your worth is tied to your grade. A 10 means that you did excellent and made no mistakes, a 7 or a 6 means that you are average at best and anything below a 5.5 means that you did not meet the expected demands. When you are applauded for getting grades that lean more towards the 10 and are shunned for having a grade nearing a 5.5, going below can feel like the worst thing in the world. But what you do not hear often enough in this society that it is okay to fail or to get average results. There is no need to feel ashamed for not being the best. You are getting by, and that is enough.
The next thing I am going to discuss is very scary: admitting to yourself and to others that you feel insecure. In fear of seeming weak it is very easy to keep your insecurities to yourself and to burrow through them alone. However, it is freeing to admit to your friends and family that you are struggling. When people know that you are having a hard time, they can reach out to you and help you. You will feel stronger and more empowered when you know there are people around you who have your back. I personally experienced this when I was going through a hard time in the summer and went over to my mother’s house to have lunch. We got talking and I ended up admitting to her that I was having a hard time. In the end, we had a heartfelt conversation which only solidified our bond even more. The person you confide in does not even have to be someone close to you, it can be one of your teachers, your boss or maybe a classmate you sit next to everyday, as long as you feel safe with them.
My last pro-tip is that it is very important to be kind to yourself. Being kind to yourself varies from person to person and is dependent on your habits. For me personally, it means allowing myself a mental break when I am overwhelmed, positively rewarding myself when I overcome an obstacle and doing things in advance when I can. Taking a break is not to be confused with binging a series on Netflix, scrolling endlessly on your phone or doing anything else than your assigned tasks. This is one of my personal pitfalls. Whenever I feel stressed or when I feel I cannot do it, I procrastinate my task until the very last moment. Take for example writing articles; I feel like I know what I want to say and I am confident it is something interesting, but when I start writing I do not know how to express myself eloquently. Here, taking a break means taking a step back and reassuring myself of my abilities, rewarding myself means being proud of myself that I am trying and doing the writing in advance means that I do not have to stress about it for very long.
As a last disclaimer I would like to say that if you experience feeling down, insecure and demotivated a lot there is nothing wrong with going to therapy and talking about your thoughts and feelings with a professional. I say this because I still struggle with the things I discussed in this article myself. I am not an expert, just someone who is trying to be better. If you want to improve yourself I also recommend watching Nathan’s video and keep on trying. It is okay if you do not succeed at first, there is no shame in reaching out to other people and there is nothing selfish about practising self-love. You are worthy, you are good enough.