How Not Feeling Good Enough Depletes Your Adrenals

There’s enough evidence that what we think affects both how we feel and also what we choose to do. Yet, underneath what we know we think, there’s a whole underwater iceberg of things that we are also thinking. And not just thinking, emotions are equally important.

While you may feel you have a pretty healthy sense of self-esteem, there may be other kinds of attitudes lurking deep within, some of them affecting adrenal health.

For the A-types among us, ask yourself: what motivates me to learn and grow? Is it the pleasure of learning and growing in and of themselves? Or is there perhaps another element too, a sense of needing to improve myself, needing to get to the next level, not being able to be truly content with where I’m at right now?

These can all be manifestations of a deep sense of “I am not good enough”. For anyone dealing with depression, or obvious self-esteem issues, this belief may come not as a surprise, but rather as a “yes, I know I think that about myself.” Yet for those of us who are always on the look-out for ways to make things better, we might not be aware of how we could be using a belief like that as a motivator to be successful in some way.

And so, while chronically trying to improve yourself can bring success and a powerful work ethic, there are other long-term effects too, which can seriously tax the adrenals.

One of the effects is the inability to truly relax. When you have a subconscious, powerful programme running that says that you are not good enough as you are, then letting yourself relax, letting yourself simply ‘be’, will be hard, and probably not feel very good. You might be able to relax for a short while only, or notice that relaxation always comes with a chronic kind of vague tension, like you can’t let go fully. Either way, there will be a deep and powerful resistance to simply letting yourself be.

Another impact that a belief programme like this has is that it will be hard to slow down. Each and every opportunity you get to “do something” will be tempting. You can do things to boost your career, to be a better person, to help other people. Once you’re committed to the idea of changing yourself, there’s an ever increasing list of things you might do. In addition, there will never be a sense of having made it, because regardless of what you do, the “I am not good enough” programme will continue to run in your subconscious.

Not feeling good enough also leads to taking too much responsibility. In most situations, it’s possible to blame yourself for not doing more, not trying harder, not being nicer etc. Most situations are complex at best, and hence, with the conviction that you are not good enough as you are, it’s just a small step to assume that it is and was up to you to do better somehow, regardless of who else is involved, and regardless of how those other people behave.

Not feeling good enough also acts like a narcissist and blamer magnet. Your attitude suits people who prefer to make other people responsible for their issues. You take the blame, they dish it out. Rationally, there is no way out of this mess because, theoretically you always could have done better somehow, for sure. Spending a lot of time with blamers is stressful to say the least. Again, taxing on the adrenals.

Hence, not feeling good enough can easily lead to a lifestyle in which you do too much and rest too little. Yet, even if you do have an awareness of that, it may still feel impossible to change. Not feeling good enough is an awful feeling and when you slow down, it will rear it’s ugly head fur sure. Hence, many of us decide instead to keep running, until we run down our adrenals.

Mostly though, it will be the inner self-talk, the self-criticism (whether conscious or not) that will wreak the most havoc. Once the “I am not good enough” programme is securely in place, you will automatically attack yourself and blame yourself for not being good enough. It doesn’t much matter how many positive affirmations you say, or how much you know that you are loved and appreciated. Your adrenals are in constant fight or flight mode, in a self-perpetuating loop that is long-term.

At one point, your adrenals simply give out.

Once the adrenals are fatigued, the sense of not feeling good enough will only intensify. Not only that, it will seem to be caused by the adrenal fatigue (which it is not). Since you can’t do the things you used to, it will seem logical to blame your body for your feelings of insufficiency. If only you could get your health back, then you could do all the things you want to do and feel better about yourself! But is that really true? Did you truly feel good about yourself when you were still running around? Or, did the running around keep the hope alive that one day, all that you’d accomplished would lead to feeling truly good about yourself?

To get there requires removing the inner belief programmes that keep you in constant fight or flight mode. These often run deep, and are mixed in and mixed up with all kinds of other belief systems, and even viruses, parasites etc. The deep and dark, unvisited crevices of our subconscious, literally create a safe haven for all kinds of germs. (Oh hello there squigly germ thingy, you want to attack me? No problem, I’m attacking myself already! Join the club!)

Paradoxically, what is needed is a confrontation with the sense of not being good enough. In other words, you need to meet those beliefs and emotions. You need to follow your motivation to be over-active down to its root. Why is it so important to be so active? And why is that important? And that?

Only when you meet the deep sense of not feeling good enough, only when you know that it’s in there, and that it’s been with you for a long time, only then can you use techniques for letting it go. The letting go then can be really easy. The hard part is going against the current of your own automated response patterns, and instead, observe what happens when you don’t comply. Observe what happens when you don’t try harder, don’t do more, don’t strive to be a better person. What is it that comes bubbling up?

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1 Andreas January 12, 2014

Great blog. So much insight. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

2 Michelle February 5, 2014

This post resonates a lot with me – I can remember feeling this way since I was a toddler. As you have said, very sensitive people definitely need a creative outlet. I find it hard to have a creative outlet because I cannot get past not being good enough (at whatever I have tried – writing, playing music, drawing). Any suggestions?

3 Caroline van Kimmenade February 6, 2014

yes, recognize that the not being good enough is a “thing” that you carry, not your truth. Make art about it. Do EFT on it, anything except buying into it. It’s o.k. for it to show up when doing art, expect it to, then put your attention on your reasons for making art itself – what feels good about it. It’s like meditating on the breath: distractions will show up, it’s o.k., just get back to the breath. When making art, not feeling good enough will show up, that’s o.k., see it as the distraction that it is, and put your attention back on your art. There is no specific kind of art that will circumvent this issue. I haven’t met an artist yet who always feel confident about themselves and what they do. A good book about this is “The Van Gogh Blues”. Insecurity and doubt are part of the artmaking process.

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