I AM ENOUGH: Achieving Confidence

At Achieve Family Therapy, we seek to help our clients gain confidence in feeling and thinking “I AM ENOUGH.” There appears to be a growing epidemic of feelings of inadequacy that stem from a variety of sources that may include societal pressures to compete, comparisons to others, personal experiences, traumas, relationship distress or internal beliefs. Most of our clients will relate to feelings of not being “enough” which contributes to a variety of responses that range from total avoidance to perfectionistic people-pleasing.

Though some cultures promote collectivism, where the needs and goals of the group or community are prioritized over those of the individual our western culture is based in individualism. Generally, this means independence and self-expression are valued. Being competitive is encouraged as a means of accomplishing goals and achieving success. People are celebrated for their personal achievements and individual uniqueness. This lends itself to a person seeking to meet societal expectations that often impose unrealistic expectations or standards. With the increase of social media use, the feelings of inadequacy can soar to new heights when there is a lack of likes or a perceived disconnect from where the individual feels they are and where society paints the ideal picture.

With these high, yet unrealistic expectations in hand the person is now primed to compare themselves to all the other unique posts, blogs, tweets or stories they hear about often measuring themselves in one or two areas that are usually their weakest points and comparing themselves to another person’s strengths or imagined strengths. Most social media gives but a fragment, only an aspect of a person’s life that appears as a more perfect life, in contrast to the actual drama of life with all its complexities and flaws.

How we view ourselves often begins from our early childhood experiences and how we form attachments to our parents. We may have had critical parents who noticed more of what we were doing wrong and less of what we were doing right. This creates habits for our brain and teaches it where to focus and what to pay attention too.  Bullying in school or being rejected by peers often contributes to a decrease in a child’s confidence. Though it is normal to experience failure, children with exposure to emotional abuse will internalize these failures as character flaws rather than being a normal part of growing and developing.

None of us escape this life experience without having the opportunity to get negative feedback from others. As difficult as it is to accept this feedback, the inner voices are often more influential where our own inner critic may constantly criticize or focus in on a perceived character flaw and maximize it while also discounting or minimizing any strengths.

It is important to realize that these feelings are common and can be addressed effectively with tools like:

  1. Mindfulness: This involves intentionally directing one’s awareness to the present experience, cultivating an attitude of openness, curiosity, and acceptance towards whatever is happening in the moment. Learning to observe without judgement.
  2. Self-compassion: This includes the practice of mindfulness, self-kindness and common humanity. When incorporating these techniques individuals experience increased mental health in the reduction of self-critical thoughts, increased resilience when facing challenges, fostering a greater sense of self-worth and improving relationships with the oneself and others.
  3. Self-Care: This includes intentional choices that promote physical, mental and emotional well-being. Rearranging priorities so that an individual is taking the time to attend to their needs, nurture themselves and intentionally choose activities that foster health and happiness.
  4. Challenging Thinking Errors: Thinking errors are common and have been associated with increased anxiety and depression. The most common include All-or-Nothing Thinking, Overgeneralization, Mental Filer, Discounting the Positive, Jumping to Conclusions, Magnifying or Minimizing, Emotional Reasoning, Should Statements, Labeling, Personalization, Control Fallacies and Comparisons. Taking time to practice mindful observance of these thinking errors and challenging and correcting them lead to more accurate perceptions of reality and improved mental health.
  5. Therapy: Learning to practice these tools and implement them on your own can be difficult at times especially when there has been trauma or relationship distress. Having a safe place to practice and learn these tools is very beneficial for some people. Have questions or want to start therapy. Please click the button below.

 

 

Through intentional practice and time, healthier habits can be formed that lead to a healthier sense of self-worth. The good news is with awareness and effort it is possible to combat the old tapes of “I am not enough” and achieve your goal of inner confidence. Looking for more ways to grow your confidence explore Harnessing the Power of Interdependence.

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