Written by Violaine Guéritault, Ph.D.

What is it?

The emotion of inadequacy will show up in your life if you feel you are “too much” or “not enough” of something. As opposed to many other emotions, the sense of inadequacy is not innate. You acquire it through your life experiences and other types of emotions.

Always remember that the feeling that you are not “good enough,” whatever the reason, is not necessarily objective even if it feels like an absolute truth to you. It’s a subjective interpretation and a learned response that often finds its roots in your past experiences. It is the ultimate illustration of the saying “you are your own worst enemy.”

What is it telling you?

It is telling you that you are comparing yourself to others in a way that may be subjective, and, most of the time, completely distorted. It can also be telling you that someone in your life is making you feel inadequate by making hurtful or demeaning comments about you. The problem, in this case, is that the moment you buy into those comments, you are giving your personal power away to them, and that should always be avoided. Your personal power belongs in one place only and that is in your own hands.

How to manage it?
  • Become fully aware of the situation when you feel inadequate. Explore it and ask yourself, “Am I being truly objective in my interpretation of this situation?”
  • Spend plenty of time with positive, uplifting, and encouraging people. Distance yourself from people who bring you down.
  • Devote yourself to activities you love and enjoy. Such activities will keep your mind occupied and focused on something that makes you feel good about yourself.
  • Remind yourself of your strengths by making a list of them. It may seem difficult at first, but don’t give up after just a few minutes. Stick to it until you’ve listed at least 5 strengths. You’ll be surprised how, by the time you get to the 5th one, the 6th and the 7th one, and so on, will come to you a lot more easily than you may have thought they would.