This is continuing the conversation in the series “Ten Reasons NOT to Have What You Want”.
Sometimes you may not say the words out loud but your actions, or maybe more appropriately, your lack of action is because you are thinking, “I’m not good enough.”
Or maybe it is a variation like, “I’m not ready yet.” Or “I’ll wait until I have more experience.” Or “Mine isn’t as good as hers (or his).”
If you are a perfectionist, these are reoccurring reflexive thoughts that often stop you in your tracks.
It could be that you somehow got this message when you were young and you’ve carried it with you for years.
This reason is also very closely related to I Don’t Deserve It.
It doesn’t matter why you have that message running through your head as much as it does what are you going to do about it?
Here are a few ways to challenge that thought.
Question if it is true.
Is it REALLY true? Have other people given you compliments that you shrug off and tell them all the things that are wrong with your creation?
Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that critics raved about and you didn’t like it at all? What is good enough or even great is a matter of opinion.
Have you ever heard someone sing from the church choir or community theatre that blew your socks off? Someone else might be selling millions of records who isn’t necessarily more talented.
Change Your Automatic Thinking
Another way of thinking of changing this thought pattern is that it is simply a habit that you have unintentionally developed so your ego is protected. If you don’t put yourself out there or share your work or your gifts, you can’t fail.
This has been a revelation to me. If you are aware of a habit, you can change it.
Build Your Confidence Muscles
You may need to take some small steps to build your confidence muscles. I remember reading a story about a writer who challenged herself to get 20 or 30 rejection letters. She knew the more rejection letters she received, the more likely someone was going to accept her story. She gave herself a reward for every 5 rejections she received. Maybe you can set your own challenge.
Don’t Try So Hard
One of my favorite stories is from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s book What We Ache For is an experiment in a pottery class. One half of the class was told they just needed to make one really great pot, and the other class the only objective was to make several, and not worry about the outcome. You can read more about it in this post on Creative Failures.
This is similar to not trying so hard and not taking yourself so seriously. You may be missing out on allowing yourself to enjoy the process if your expectations are always so high.
Remember when you were a kid and you would sing at the top of your lungs even though you were off key or proudly show your Mom and Dad your latest crayon masterpiece?
That little kid is still there, waiting for you to let them out to play.