Have you ever wondered where the internalized message of ”I’m not good enough” comes from? Do you feel you give your best, work hard, try-hard, but can’t give yourself enough credit? Are you constantly beating yourself up and thinking that somehow you should do more, do more, be better, and you don’t measure up in your own kind?
Understanding emotionally and freeing yourself from old negative messages is a journey of recovery which takes some serious work. When we make changes. We need to take a cognitive leap of understanding first and it takes our emotional being to catch up so that our head and gut are saying the same thing.
But how does the message of I’m not good enough get internalized? Where does this come from? Think about small children and how impressionable they are, how they soak up life, and trying to learn and understand the world around them. And, the most important thing to them is gaining love and affection from anyone around them. They do not yet have a worldly or experienced understanding of human behavior or why people behave in a certain way. They’re main goal is to be loved, and this is what every child deserves.
Some examples are dysfunctional families like the alcoholic family. A child does not understand why the alcoholic parent is sometimes there for them and sometimes not, depending on the substance usage. In a narcissistic family, the child doesn’t narcissistic understand that the narcissistic parents not capable of empathy or real love. In abusive families with domestic violence, the child does not understand why parents are acting in horrible ways and not seeming to tune into how that affects children. So given that the child’s goal is to be loved and cared for, the child begins to try to fix the parent’s problems so they can achieve their goal. They don’t do this consciously, of course, it can begin at a very young age. Only if I was a better kid, this would not be happening, only if I could do better in school, my mother or father wouldn’t treat me this way. Maybe she could see or hear me, she would be happier. Maybe If I stayed out of Daddy way he wouldn’t drink so much. Kids want peace, love, and harmony in their lives and need to thrive emotionally. If it’s not there, they will try to fix it by trying to be a better and better kid, or they can act the opposite and act out to get their parents to focus on them. They are learning and internalized that no matter what they do they cannot fix their parent’s problems. They are kids, and of course, this is not going to fix their problems. Many times parents blame their children or project onto their children the bad feelings the parent is feeling at that time.
Children know no differently how their parents treat them. They can think It must be my fault if my parent is mean to me, or can’t love me. I must be unlovable. Do the child ends up carrying the emotional baggage of the family and takes on the burden. If only I could do more.
Just because a child grows up and leaves it doesn’t mean that the internalized message goes away. So the negative message of I couldn’t fix it, so I’m not good enough remains strong. I’m going to leave and give my parents peace tonight but they didn’t even notice I was gone, that didn’t work, I’m not good enough. The negative messages can not be undone. Adults have to use the technique of self- affirmations by telling themselves, that they are okay. Sometimes this form takes uncovering the deeper trauma investing inside the brain and then releasing it.
For some people, this is hard because everyone wants to believe and for others to believe that we came from caring nurturing families. It is normal to deny and rationalize in our heads. It’s easier to make up the perfect family than to stand in the courage of your money truth and expand resolve our own trauma.
When we accept the way our lives were and work on fixing ourselves rather than put up a smokescreen we can start healing and realize our parent’s ways we’re not our problems to fix. We are good enough.
God’s grace is sufficient for you, that you can be children of God, what love God has lavished on us. And that is who we are.