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Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy

In a world that often seems to celebrate perfection and success, it's all too easy to fall prey to feelings of inadequacy. These emotions can stem from a variety of sources, such as past trauma, societal pressures, social media imagery, or personal struggles like losing a job, domestic violence, substance abuse, and addiction.

A woman standing looking in a different direction with a sad expression.

However, the journey toward self-acceptance and empowerment is within reach, and it begins with a holistic approach to healing and a commitment to change how you experience your life.

Here are 5 holistic tools for you to begin changing how you view and value yourself. The best part is, they're free and you can begin right now.

1. Self-Compassion: The first step towards overcoming inadequacy is cultivating self-compassion. Or as my bestie calls it, “writing your own self-love story.” Acknowledge that everyone has their struggles and imperfections, despite what they may show on The Book, The Gram, or Snap. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend who is going through a hard time. By doing so, you create a safe space and a nurturing environment for your self-growth.

2. Mindfulness and Meditation: Mindfulness helps you stay present and observe your thoughts without judgment. There is an old saying that if you are thinking about your past you are living in yesterday. If you are thinking about the future, you are living in tomorrow. Only when you focus on today are you truly living in the moment.

After all, we have no control over what’s been done or what may happen, but we can control how we are engaging in this moment. Investing time in regular meditation practices can calm the mind, reduce anxiety, and provide clarity. As you become more attuned to your thoughts, you can challenge negative self-perceptions (I’ll share some strategies in an upcoming issue) and work towards a healthier mindset.

3. Seek Support: In general people understand the benefits of support groups as it relates to things like substance abuse, weight loss, and grief, but they seldom think about it as an option for coping with personal feelings or overcoming personal experiences like domestic violence for example. Just as an addict can benefit from a support group, reaching out for help to overcome personal and emotional challenges can be equally transformative.

Surround yourself with a network of friends, family, or professionals who uplift and encourage you. Sharing your struggles and accomplishments with a supportive community can help dissolve feelings of isolation and remind you of all the amazing things that exist about you that you cannot see for yourself. My mentor used to remind me that it’s hard to see the beauty of the picture if you are inside the frame. Sometimes you need to see yourself from someone else’s vantage point.

4. Creative Expression: Engaging in creative activities can foster a sense of achievement and boost self-esteem. Whether it's painting, writing, or playing a musical instrument, creative expression provides an outlet to release emotions and gain a fresh perspective on your abilities.

I recommend all my clients either practice journaling or try something as simple as coloring. Think about coloring a picture as a child, and the sense of pride and accomplishment you felt looking at your completed work. Guess what, you will still feel that as an adult. Few things compare to the pride of being able to look, feel, hear, or touch your own creation.

5. Healthy Lifestyle: Physical well-being is closely tied to mental health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep contribute to a positive self-image and increased self-worth. When you prioritize your health, you're sending a powerful message that you value yourself.

Some of my best feelings have come after completing a workout or going to bed knowing that I’ve eaten clean all day, drank all my water and crushed my self-love goals.

Here’s the deal though, the long-term impacts of feeling inadequate are profound, and for many, this pattern of thinking can become a very slippery slope leading to a dark place mentally and emotionally.

Continuous feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness can lead to a downward spiral, exacerbating existing challenges or creating new ones by forcing you to look for an outlet. It can result in things like physical abuse, addiction, heightened anxiety, or depression. These feelings can trap individuals in cycles of self-destructive behavior, hindering their ability to break free from these harmful patterns.

However, the path toward healing offers a brighter future. By actively practicing self-love, seeking help, and engaging in holistic remedies, you can begin to dismantle the negative beliefs that have held you back. Overcoming inadequacy is not an overnight process, but every small step you take empowers you to change your narrative. As you begin to embrace your worth and work towards a healthier self-perception, you'll find the strength to rise above your past and build a more fulfilling life. Remember, you are worthy of love, respect, and happiness.

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