They feel Inadequate

Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

The emotion of inadequacy will show up in our life if we feel we are “too much” or “not enough” of something. As opposed to many other emotions, the sense of inadequacy is not innate. We acquire this emotion through our life experiences and other types of emotions. We must always remember that the feeling that we are not “good enough,” whatever the reason, is not necessarily objective even if it feels like an absolute truth to us. It’s a subjective interpretation and a learned response that often finds its roots in our past experiences. It is the ultimate illustration of the saying “We are our own worst enemy.”

What is the feeling of inadequacy telling your young person?

Inadequacy could be telling them that they are comparing themselves to others in a way that may be subjective, and most of the time, completely distorted. It could also be telling them that someone in their life is making them feel inadequate by making hurtful or demeaning comments about them. The problem in this case is that the moment your young person buys into those comments, they are giving their personal power away to whoever made them, and that should always be avoided. Their personal power belongs in one place only, and that is in their own hands.

Suggestions for your young person on how to manage inadequacy?
  • Help them become fully aware of the situations when they feel inadequate. Explore the situations and have them ask themselves “Am I being truly objective in my interpretation of this situation?”
  • Encourage them to spend plenty of time with positive, uplifting, and encouraging people. They should try and distance themselves from people who bring them down.
  • Motivate them to devote themselves to activities they love and enjoy. Such activities will keep their mind occupied and focused on something that makes them feel good about themselves.
  • Remind them of their strengths by asking them to make a list of them. It may seem difficult for them at first, but don’t let them give up after just a few minutes. Stick to it until they have listed at least five strengths. They will be surprised how, by the time they get to the fifth strength, many more will come to them a lot more easily than they may have thought.