“Not good enough?” Change the way you think.

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It starts early in life.   That “not good enough” feeling.  You don’t have to take a screwdriver to your brain to change that “not good enough” self talk. But it’s time to change the way you think.

At a recent workshop I raised my hand above my head and began to lower it towards the floor.  “Stop me when I reach the height you first remember feeling a strong negative sense of not being good enough.”  For most in attendance the height I was told to stop correlated with a child of 8 years old.  You too perhaps.   You’re not alone.

So how to change a belief that is universal and hard-wired into our brains?   The good news is we can change our brain, no matter how old, reduce negative self-talk and become more productive, happier and healthier.

1. Challenge that sense of unworthiness by asking, “not good enough for what?” And “what’s the evidence?”  Here’s a good time to check the facts, without judgement.   Beliefs aren’t necessarily facts.  

2. Check in with your body.  Learn to pay attention to where your body carries the tension that accompanies the “not good enough” feeling.  Then soften it.  You can purposefully decrease the tension in your body.

3. Increase brain connection by decreasing inflammation.   Strengthening the neural connections between the reward and motivation center of your brain with the prefrontal cortex that deals with your sense of self is vitally important.   Inflammation gets in the way.  Good sleep, a healthy diet of real, not processed food, any exercise that moves your body, and meditation are 4 regular activities that can decrease systemic inflammation improving the health of your body and your brain.

4. Identify your values. You are “good enough” when you are living your life according to your values, not someone else’s judgement.  Do you know your character strengths?  Complete this survey from values in action to discover yours.

5. Reframe your story.   Remember the “not good enough” believe is just a story.  You might as well begin it with “once upon a time.”  Tell yourself another story.  Reframe it based on your values, then live it.  Choose which version you want to integrate into your essence.

6. Meditate.  Find a teacher to help you get started, or restarted.  Learn to see yourself through a prism of compassion and nonjudgement.  Gain awareness of when that negative voice starts shouting at you and then soften your body, your heart and your mind.  If not now, when?