Something I like to think about is how every experience we have in life is inherently neutral.
I mean, consider the concept for a minute.
A breakup rips one person’s heart out of their chest, but relieves another. A job inspires and thrills one person, but bores and repulses their coworkers. A person, a place, or a scenario fascinates and enthralls us but tires and drains someone else.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
One man’s heaven is another man’s hell.
And by this logic, most of the opinions we hold about ourselves are inherently neutral as well.
We think we’re hideous but someone else out there thinks we’re gorgeous. We think we’re dull but someone else out there finds us fascinating.
We think we are constantly and unendingly inferior: We’re not smart enough or pretty enough or brave enough to go for what we want – and yet someone out there thinks the opposite of us.
Because the truth is, any opinion we hold about ourselves is nothing more than an internal script – one repeated to ourselves so many times that we’ve started mistaking it for fact.
Saying ‘I’m not good enough’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we tell it to ourselves this enough times, it becomes our immediate reaction to everything.
We don’t go for that job because we tell ourselves we won’t get it. We don’t ask out that person because we tell ourselves that they couldn’t like us. We don’t give ourselves the chance to even try for success because we’re too busy writing ourselves off to ever get started.
And therefore, we rob ourselves of the very chance we need to prove ourselves wrong.
We never start that job or date that person or go for that pipe dream, because we’ve denied ourselves permission to reach for them. We perpetuate the idea that we’re losers, we’re failures, we’re alone – because we never give ourselves the chance not to be.
We keep feeding into the story that we’re inferior, until that story becomes our reality.
And so how do we break this hapless cycle?
It may be simpler than it seems.
We cannot retrain our brains overnight. We cannot undo years of telling ourselves ‘I’m not good enough’ with a simple bout of positive thinking.
But we can consciously, deliberately begin to challenge those self-defeating thoughts.
We can ask ourselves, ‘Why not me?’ every time a lofty idea crosses our mind.
Why does someone else deserve this but I don’t?
Why are there less qualified or less intelligent or less attractive people out there doing the things that I keep telling myself I’m too green or stupid or ugly to do?
Why do they get permission to go for their dreams but I don’t?
Is it because I’m not giving myself permission? Am I the one standing in my way?
And the more we begin to ask ourselves these questions, the more conscious we become of the ways in which we do hold ourselves back.
We can spend forever telling ourselves we’re not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not lucky enough or privileged enough, to try for what we really want.
And at the end of the day, whether we decide we’re worthy or not, we’ll be right.
Because worthiness is an entirely subjective concept.
And the only one who ultimately decides upon what you’re worthy enough to go for, is you.