What to do when you never feel good enough

Published on Oct 17, 2023

Young woman lying in a hammock reading a book on the beach

As a life coach and therapist, I often hear my female clients share their experiences of ‘not feeling good enough’. Whether it be in their work, their different roles in life or reaching their goals. I think we’re experiencing an epidemic of low self-esteem. Why? Because we’re playing the comparison game.

When I was growing up, I compared myself to the girls at my school, around 20-30 of them. Today we have the entire internet – with the millions of people we encounter on social media every single day – to compare ourselves with. How can we break the cycle of insecurity and low self-esteem and always thinking ‘I’m not good enough’?

People pleasing is killing us

I listened to a podcast the other day with a professor who said, ‘Heart attacks and strokes in the 40-50 age range have been decreasing among men but increasing among women. He added, ‘for me, it’s unclear what the reason is’, and left me chewing on that.

I’m by no means an expert in heart diseases, but from my experience working with hundreds of women for almost a decade, I have a theory.

From an early age we women hear we need to be good girls, don’t make a fuss, don’t disappoint, look good and perform well. People-pleasing becomes our second nature. We do everything we can for people to like us and receive praise and pats on the back. And when we don’t, then we try even harder.

And harder.

And harder.

And harder.

We tell ourselves, ‘I’m not smart, skilled, capable, talented, attractive or thin enough’ and we start playing the comparison game.

We study, work, get another degree, climb the ladder, work, give birth, bring up children, work, spend time improving our looks, work, and we’re wondering why we’re so tired. Women take on, not only physical responsibility, but also the emotional load, more than men. No wonder a lot of women at some point in their lives are close to burnout!

If we’re haunted by the belief that we’re ‘only good enough’ when we’re productive, constantly busy and successful human beings, our mental health will suffer. Our hearts will eventually suffer.

Give yourself rest

Are you someone who is constantly stressing about not doing enough? Thinking there’s always more you need to do? Feeling anxious because there is never an end to your to-do list?

You force yourself to keep going even if your intuition tells you that what you’re doing is not good for you, ignoring the physical signals that you need rest.

In the book Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, they call it “Human Giver Syndrome”. It means that no matter what you are going through or how tired you are, you prefer to take care of others first.

We give it our all at work, with our partner, our children and our friends. We give a smile to everyone around while that voice inside screams ‘I NEED TO REST’! Read my blog ‘Give yourself permission to rest: 7 ways to quiet your thoughts’, to learn how I fell into the productivity trap during lockdown, and read some practical tips on how to nourish your nervous system.

The comparison game

Wherever you look you will find someone who is more ‘enough’ than you are. Someone is prettier, cooler, more successful, thinner, happier, smarter or has a nicer home than you have. At least on the outside.

You never see the hundreds of images they edited away. You never see their despair trying to meet deadlines or putting small kids to bed while they can hardly keep their eyes open.

You don’t see the dark circles under their eyes.

All the women out there struggle too, and no matter how perfect their lives look, most of them are affected by the ‘I’m not good enough’ epidemic.

My personal story

Are you playing the comparison game?

It starts very early.

My daughter came home from school telling me that one of her best friends has cooler clothes, more experience, bigger breasts and is more popular than her.

Telling her how beautiful she is doesn’t help because at the age of 11 most kids care more about what their peers think than what their parents think. Of course I still have a chance to boost her self-confidence, BUT she’s now out there in the world playing the comparison game, and my team is very small!

A few years ago I made a difficult decision: My daughter won’t get a smartphone before she turns 12. Not easy in a world where kids start to get them as early as 7. I want to give her the chance to build her confidence as much as possible before she needs to tackle the “internet playground”.

I give her access to books and films starring girls and women who show courage and can be young role models she can look up to in difficult times. Once, when she was involved in a body shaming incident at school, we watched the documentary Miss Americana about Taylor Swift.

‘If you are lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change’. – Taylor Swift

Baby steps to self-empowerment

How to stop telling yourself ‘I’m not good enough’ when that’s what you’ve always done?

Low self-esteem often stems from very deep-rooted issues. This topic is very complex. It’s not a quick fix that can be solved easily with a few nice affirmations. BUT you need to start somewhere. I decided not to share a list of things to do or say in this blog, I’m just going to give you five words:


This is the most empowering thing I say to myself these days. Even when it doesn’t feel true. It brings me back to my centre. It shuts out all the noise.

I was reminded of these five words by Danielle Laporte, one of my inspirational people who lands in my inbox from time to time. She helped me realise the power of saying these words to myself daily.

Maybe it will work for you too?

Too simple? Well, yes, it’s simple and won’t tackle all of your issues around not feeling good enough. But it’s a start. If you want to gain more awareness about how the ‘I’m not good enough’ epidemic impacts your life and learn more ways to move forward, check out my coaching programmes. But for now, just say it:

I’m doing my best.




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I’m Katarina

Welcome to my blog, where I share real-life stories and offer valuable and practical tips for how to achieve fulfillment without burning out.

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Learn how to break free from overthinking to feel healthy, happy and confident – the easy waywith my free guided journal.

Learn how to break free from overthinking to feel healthy, happy and confident – the easy way – with my free guided journal.