Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice

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Instead of going down the beaten path of self-blame and self-punishment for not being “good enough”, we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

We live in a world where the theme of unworthiness shows up in all areas in life. As kids, we proudly show off our high marks and perfect behaviors knowing they will earn us praises and approval from adults, and as adults, we constantly judge and punish ourselves for our lack of wealth, success, relationships and others’ good opinions of us. In my healing and coaching practice, the most common story that is told over and over is the one of “I’m not good enough.”

That was the story of my life as well, for over 3 decades. Having grown up in an Asian culture in the 80’s where being an overachiever was encouraged, the accepted, even celebrated method to motivate children was to subject them to harsh criticism and belittling (ie. “who do you think you are”, “you are nothing until you prove your worth so you can be something”, etc.) As a result, I not only internalized the disempowering belief that “I am not good enough” but I also made sure it dominated and manifested in every area of my life — without fail.

As powerful as this or any belief can be, it is only a belief, and we can choose to liberate ourselves from it – simply because it isn’t who we are. If you are constantly battling with a similar story, I invite you to read and practice the following steps to take your power back from that self-limiting belief.

Signs, Signs Everywhere

The first sign is always what we call a negative feeling. Our feelings are intelligent communications from our bodies to indicate to us whether a belief is in or out of alignment with who we are. How we feel at any moment is filtered by our thoughts and our thoughts derive from our existing beliefs. When our beliefs are no longer serving us, our feelings – being the language of the soul in a very literal fashion will give us a little (or large) kick to raise an alert. When I am in a coaching session, whenever a story comes up that is out of alignment, I always ask my clients how it makes them feel. The answer is always along the line of “it makes me feel crappy.”

The signs can range from physical ailments such as lack of energy or tension in various parts of the body to mental and emotional symptoms such as procrastination, depression and anxiety; or they can be a combination of conditions from all levels including feeling a tight knot of anxiety in the stomach that is often accompanied by digestive issues.

Our beliefs also have clever ways to disguise themselves as positive as well as socially approved motivations and behaviors.

Perfectionism is one of them. For the longest time I unconsciously chose to tell the story of “I am a perfectionist” which allowed me to get away from the harsh voice of “I am not good enough.” Yet time and time again when I ruthlessly put myself down for every little perceived failure, I finally realized my perfectionism was only a sugar coated version of “I suck.”

Another common disguise is altruism, or people pleasing behavior. We convince ourselves it is noble of us to place others’ needs before ours as well as compromise our own happiness because it earns us praises such as compassionate, kind and selfless.

Some of us have the tendency to give ourselves up or lose ourselves completely in relationships. Our society has a very powerful reinforcement system when it comes to encouraging selfless behavior without addressing the fundamental notion that our first relationship is always the relationship with ourselves. Without loving, cherishing and respecting ourselves, there is no relationship with others. When we do not know how to value ourselves and make the highest choices for ourselves, how can we honor others as loving, deserving and worthy?

There is certainly nothing wrong with giving our best in circumstances and relationships. However, it is helpful to always do a little honest self-inquiry and ask ourselves how each decision makes us feel. And if it does not feel uplifting, what belief is underneath that decision?

When we practice consciously acknowledging our old patterns every by listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us, we are stepping out of the unconscious and reactive way of living so we can compose a response that allows us to freely create based on who we want to be rather than recreate past scenarios of who we were told to be.

Instead of going down that old beaten path that leads to nothing but a stinking swamp, aka the self-blame and self-punishment for not being worthy, we can choose again and create a new path. The more we can catch ourselves on auto pilot, the more we can rewire our brains to think and behave differently.

Decisions, Decisions

Read more here: Self Criticism? How to Overcome Your Inner “I’m Not Good Enough” Voice


We all need to learn to love and respect ourselves.

What does that mean? For starters it means to respect what you’re going through and have the courtesy to meet yourself with understanding.

When I learn to understand myself, I understand you, and out of that understanding comes love. If love is the missing factor, there is a lack of affection or warmth in relationships.

“Sit. Feast on your life.”

You may have heard the saying, learning to love others begins with learning to love yourself“.

When you find an intriguing echo between seemingly disconnected aspects of your life experiences, you find a unity that begins to reveal who you really are.  If you look – with a kind, compassionate heart – you can’t help but love your story – yourself. And when you learn to love yourself, you learn to cultivate a more spacious, nonjudgmental mind. 


Ideas for Finding “Self”

  1. Meditation is a sort of stopping. It’s being present in the now, and doesn’t necessarily “take time”.

Practicing mindfulness is actually living your life as if it really mattered from moment to moment. The real practice is life itself. Paying attention to your senses (such as hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting), puts you in touch with a whole different dimension than thinking.

But as soon as we put those sensations into words, however, we move from being present to thinking. That’s okay. You can flow back and forth. The feeling is hard to describe, but you will sense the difference. Write about your experience.

2. Relationship Energy – Notice that you are either moving towards or moving away – in your relationships.

This can be a moment by moment thing. Practice paying attention to each movement – away? Or towards? i.e., when I think about (something negative about you) , I am moving my energy away from you.

 3. Peaceful, Reflective State of Mind

Being in a reflective state of mind helps you keep in check what kinds of feelings you’re having. With emotions:  identify, process, and release. i.e., I’m feeling nervous (identify), because this situation reminds me of when I was picked on in junior high.. but I am NOT in junior high (process), and I can handle this (release).

4, Write Your Story

Write your story as if it’s a novel, 3rd person. Write it so your “reader” can understand the character (you!). Make it understandable.. universal. i.e., “When Jane was 4, her mother sent her to live with her “dad” – a person she had no memory of at all. It was like her mother was throwing her away…”

Take the time to acknowlege who you are!


More Posts




Life is About Recycling!


The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart.

To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
~ Pema Chödrön ~

… The lessons will keep coming until you get the message.


“…There is so much beauty in the world.

Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my life…” (from the film American Beauty)

… Ahhh! The message! :D

4 Steps to Creating Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Relationships

4 Steps To Creating Healthy, Happy & Fulfilling Relationships


March 26, 2014

Sometimes the people you love the most can also hurt you the most – your parents, a brother or sister, a close friend or a boyfriend/girlfriend. It doesn’t matter what you do, they continue to say things that put you down. Mistakes are OK every now and then, as long as they learn from them. It only becomes a problem if the hurtful things are so frequent that the happiness is being sucked out of you & you’re feeling bad more often then good when you’re with them. I want to share a thing (or in this case 4 things) that will help you create more healthy, fulfilling relationships.

1. Know you have a choice. The great thing with friends is that you can choose them. If your friends put you down more often than lift you up, it will make you miserable. You can change this by letting them know. They may not realize that the things they are doing are making you feel so bad, if they stop then that’s awesome! If they don’t, then it could be time to find new friends. I slowly built the courage & spent less time with the friends who would put me down, I took small steps, I’d say no to things that I’d normally do with them, I started doing things with people who were much kinder to me. I became so much happier.

2. Speak up. Family is important, you can’t choose your family but you can choose to spend less time with them if they put you down. If you dread being around someone you’re close to in your family because of the hurtful things they say, try talking to them and telling them how you feel. If the response isn’t what you were hoping & they aren’t willing to change then accept this and keep your distance. It doesn’t mean you never speak to them again, it just means you have to put yourself first. Looking after yourself is THE most important thing. You’ve tired to talk to them so remind yourself you’ve done your best. Instead of seeing them so regularly just because they’re family, you can choose to see them as much as you can manage. It’s ok to do this.

3. Let go of the fear. Fear will come up when making these changes. You care for these people so worrying what they will think or if you will hurt them is natural. There will be uncomfortable feelings in the beginning, they are only temporary. The person will eventually accept your choice. Remind yourself that you are doing what’s best for you & that’s what really matters. Take small steps.

4. Be open to new relationships. We worry we won’t find fulfilling relationships so we stay stuck in unhealthy ones. I was one of these people. I gained the strength to change, what a life-changing affect it has had on me. I learnt that healthy relationships do exist. You have a choice. This is you’re precious life. Don’t waste it with who people who bring you down. You deserve the best, I’ve written another post on this here. Take a small step today by spending more time with the people who believe in you & appreciate you. Keep taking small steps & eventually you’ll be surrounded with great people who make you feel that you, too, can become great.


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