A perpetual state of not being good enough drives much of our day to day striving. We feel like we have to work harder, earn more, and look better.
The feeling of being unworthy alienates us from others by making us feel like we don’t deserve their love. Not getting the love and attention that we naturally need causes us to drift further into unworthiness creating a vicious cycle.
People try to embrace many practices, including meditation, to run away from the feeling of inadequacy. But running away only temporarily relieves those feelings.
Western society makes us feel unworthy from the day we are born. Our parents want us to be healthy and successful. They push on us these standards in good faith, but they end up making us feel like we can never measure up to their expectations.
The idea of having something wrong with us if further perpetuated by the ingrained notion of original sin. We believe that we have to fix something about ourselves before we become worthy of happiness.
We create many techniques for dealing with these damaging feelings:
- We keep finding new self improvement projects.
- We hold back from our full potential, because we believe, as Homer Simpson said “Trying is the first step to failure.”
- We withdraw from experiencing the moment we have because everything that happens sets off our worries.
- We keep endlessly busy while pushing away the people that genuinely care for us.
- We become our own biggest critic because we believe that if we catch our mistakes first others won’t get the chance to hurt us.
- We blame others to absolve ourselves from the responsibility for our own actions.
All these strategies treat ourselves as separate from the world, and make us believe that only we have these problems.
The first step to overcoming these feeling of inadequacy is noticing when we feel dissatisfied, and remembering that we are not alone in how we feel.