Feelings of inadequacy are pretty standard. We all go through those moments when we feel like we just can’t measure up. When such feelings are a passing matter, they are no big deal. But when they linger unattended, they can lead to potentially destructive thoughts and behaviors.
The professionals at Rye, New York’s Relationships & More recommend individual counseling or relationship therapy when feelings of inadequacy hang around for an inordinate amount of time. They say ignoring such feelings can lead to resentment, anger, and other negative emotions.
Time Only Makes Things Harder
It has been said that time heals all wounds. That is not necessarily true. Certain types of emotional wounds are capable of festering over time to the point that overcoming them becomes nearly impossible. Such can be the case with feelings of inadequacy.
If you feel like you can never match up to someone else’s expectations, ignoring the feelings doesn’t fix the problem. It simply buries them deeper and deeper. Then, instead of time healing the wound, it just makes it harder for you to eventually overcome.
Why We Feel Inadequate
Therapists are trained to help their clients uncover the reasons behind their feelings of inadequacy. When you know why you feel like you cannot measure up, you can start implementing strategies to overcome those feelings.
Physical and emotional abuse at the hands of another person is one cause of lingering feelings of inadequacy. People who are manipulated and controlled by others have no other choice but to feel inadequate.
Another trigger for feelings of inadequacy is an overly critical environment. Kids whose parents are highly critical of them are very prone to feeling like they cannot measure up. Likewise for adults who work for managers who are highly critical.
Identifying external causes of feeling inadequate isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s also not the hardest thing in the world. It is much more difficult to recognize when such feelings are self-inflicted. Believe it or not, some people feel inadequate despite no external circumstance contributing to those feelings.
It’s hard to explain this sort of scenario to a person in the throes of personal inadequacy. Pointing out that feelings are self-inflicted only adds to the perception of not being able to measure up. Therefore, therapists need to do a delicate dance in hopes of leading the person to the right conclusion without coming out and saying it.
It goes without saying that self-inflicted inadequacy is the most difficult to overcome. But it is not impossible. When a skilled therapist and a willing patient are on the same page and ready to tackle hard issues, even the worst case of self-inflicted inadequacy can be overcome.
Comfortable In Your Own Skin
What does it look like when feelings of inadequacy are ultimately overcome? You end up being comfortable in your own skin. You are comfortable with who you are as a person, how you live your life, and what you think and feel. It is actually quite liberating.
No longer suffering from feelings of inadequacy offers the freedom to try new things and potentially fail. It offers the opportunity to learn from your failures to become a better person. You are free to measure up to your own standards as you see fit. And where you believe you need improvement you don’t have to depend on someone else’s approval to work toward it.
Feelings of inadequacy are common. We all experience them from time to time. But if they are allowed to linger without being addressed, the same feelings can be harmful. That is why they should not be ignored.