Have you ever been in a room with people who know more than you? Or with people who are more accomplished than you are? And you felt that you were lacking in some way? You might have been feeling symptoms of what I like to call “NGES” — Not Good Enough Syndrome. When we’re surrounded by others who have more than we do, we tend to compare ourselves, and start to feel less than. In these moments, it’s important that we learn to reframe how we see ourselves in comparison to our surroundings. You can be in a room where people know more than you do, or are further ahead in their careers than you are, but that doesn’t take away from who you are, and what you have. We need to start reprogramming the very human feeling that who we are is not enough.
I don’t believe in the concept of original sin, but I believe in the concept of original human condition. The minute we are born and we take our first breath, this conditioning enters us that says “I’m not good enough.” It’s hidden in our unconscious. As a child, you might not experience it as intensely because you’re still living in the freedom of your childhood innocence and you’re so connected to your spirit. At some point, we start to question who we are, what we’ll become, and how we’ll find our footing in the world. And unfortunately, there’s no one around singing to you, “Que sera, sera.”
Depending on the “life cards” you’ve been dealt with, some are blessed with an upbringing that injects them with positive reinforcement, and some are challenged with the opposite — with negative affirmations. We all have teachers and parents that influence us. And unfortunately, the majority of people are not encouraged positively. We are often told we have to try harder, not to rock the boat, or to speak up — and we are compared to others. This reinforces our insecurities that we’re not good enough. Then, we withdraw our precious creative energy, stop trusting ourselves, and we cloak ourselves in negative self-perception. This ends up with us living in a world of scarcity. And we think, if we achieved more or had more, we would feel that we are enough. But when we think that way, our bucket becomes a bottomless pit with a leak at the bottom. No matter how much money we make or how many milestones we hit, we never feel the sense of fullness within ourselves.
Personally, I was brought up with parents who so encouraged me to be fully myself, and loved me for me, but my talents were different than my sister’s, who was an honors student. I always excelled in the arts, dancing, and acting. They never compared us to each other. I ended up going to a prestigious acting school in London, and when I graduated and went to Hollywood to pursue my acting career, but I faced a series of rejections. Somehow, everyone always said, “You’re so talented, but we don’t know what to do with you.” I started to feel that there was something wrong with me, but I had to shift my mindset. I had to backtrack and find my core, my sense of self, and find out what I wanted to do with me when Hollywood didn’t know what to do with me, and thus started the process of my healing. (If you want to read more of my story, I wrote about it explicitly in Unbinding the Heart.)
NGES is very common, and it manifests in several ways. For example, you work long hours, and you let go of the important things for your well-being, like your sleep, your nutrition, and your physical self-care. You have a constant feeling that you’re missing out on social events that you’re not invited to. When you’re not surrounded by people, you feel disconnected and lonely. What you’re really missing is the connection with yourself. You’re quick to compare yourself to people on Instagram and feel that others are living better lives than you are. Basically, you’re robbed of your joy and your internal happiness. If you feel any of these things, it’s time to look inward and start reversing the lies you’ve been telling yourself. Over time, you’ll start carving time for yourself to do the things that nurture you, because you’ll feel deserving of doing what you love.
These symptoms hold you back from your potential, and it’s up to us to shift our mindset. Here are three daily steps you can take to start feeling full in who you are:
1. Track when you first started feeling that you’re not enough
Was it an internal dialogue? A comparison to someone else? An impact from a parent or sibling or teacher or friend? Something you read in a magazine or saw online? What made you think you’re less than? Get a journal (I personally believe pen to paper unlocks the unconscious, unless you prefer the computer!) and write down all of those feelings — even the ones that surprise you.
2. Take a few minutes for self-care each day
Take a few minutes to meditate (whatever that means for you!) and shift your mindset so that you can be empowered to take on your day. You can start by listening to this meditation from my audio version of Wake Up to the Joy of You, which can help you feel more confident in yourself and be bold. And you can download all 33 of my meditations, all with different positive messages.
3. Adopt a daily mantra
Each day for 30 days, give yourself a positive affirmation that you write down first thing in the morning, to remind yourself that you are more than enough. For example, here’s one of my favorites: “I release the need to do more, be more, have more, in order to feel enough.” It’s about programming the unconscious, to get you to anchor the feeling that you are worthy and deserving.
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