This week’s blog post comes from Alexandra Taylor, Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist and founder of Aegle Mind, perfectly timed as we finally get to the end of January and wonder where life will take us next…
With January comes all the hype for being a new you, the best version of you, PERFECT! And inevitably, what follows is feeling like you’re a failure, not good enough, hopeless.
Already I have seen or spoken to people who are beating themselves up because they have broken their well intended New Year’s resolutions to quit smoking or go to eat less chocolate. This reaffirmed my belief that we should all learn to create and live by intentions as opposed to setting rigid resolutions. But it also reminded me that throughout so much of our lives we feel like we are not good enough to be where we are, or doing what we want to do.
I was absolutely terrified to take the plunge into uncertainty and start my own business – still am now, even though I am 100% fully committed to it, for better or for worse. Everyday there are moments, sometimes days, where I convince myself, despite all the evidence contradicting it, that I am not good enough. Not original enough, not creative enough, not productive enough, not savvy enough – just not enough.
Perhaps this sounds familiar to you?
My biggest fear is that I’m not good enough. I have this voice in my head that I’ve been battling for years that says, ‘You’re not really talented enough. You don’t really deserve this.’
I’ve shared this self-doubt, this sense of being an imposter, a fraud to some of my friends and they just laugh at me in amazement, showing me how much I have achieved. But then again, I am always surprised to listen to their own fears and uncertainties when I can so clearly see their blossoming success.
This need to be PERFECT is becoming ever so apparent in our professional and personal lives. It breakdowns our relationships by a constant need to please others, and it damages our own confidence and self love.
So Why Do We Feel Like This?
Well honestly, it’s hard not to! We are constantly surrounded by media telling us how we should be and should look. A quick scroll through Instagram is sure to show you that all of your friends are having more fun, earning more money and spending all their time with their equally perfect boyfriend. And moving away from friends you are then simply bombarded with unrealistic, beautifully shaped, flawless skinned women who are living a life you couldn’t even dream up.
When you find yourself sucked into this comparison hole, it’s so important to remember to take a step back and ask yourself how true those posts are. Because having done one hideously awkward photoshoot I can safely say that the amount of time and effort for just one useable photo is not fun 🙂 The more conscious you are of the root of your fear, the easier it becomes to work through it.
What is Perfect Anyway?
There are, unfortunately, always going to be women who compete against women to be the very best and don’t forget to tell you all about your failings. Like how they have a green juice everyday for breakfast or that their son has been made a school prefect.
But the important thing to recognise is that we all have our own unique definitions of success. Mine is not the same as my sister’s, my boyfriend or my friends’. It’s what keeps life interesting. But it is all too easy to quickly glance at someone else’s life, see the glitz and glamour of it, and quickly forget what is important to you.
Attempting to live the life of someone else so that you appear ‘perfect’ is just exhausting, and not to mention demoralising for your soul. There is no such thing as ‘perfect’, it is an unattainable goal – so don’t spend your whole life searching for it. Because, you’re pretty great just the way you are right now 🙂
It’s not vanity to feel you have a right to be beautiful. Women are taught to feel we’re not good enough, that we must live up to someone else’s standards. But my aim is to cherish myself as I am.
You’re always going to be confronted by someone who is doing something a little bit better, but just by knowing your values and understanding your definition of a successful life, you can move past it and begin to appreciate the ways in which you do rock! For you, simply having one green juice a week may be super successful!
So What Can You Do?
1. Begin each day with a positive affirmation
The easy mistake to fall into with positive affirmation is to follow vague, non specific words, such as ‘I am enough”.
But what is ‘enough’? Just like ‘perfection’ there is no universal definition of enough. My sense of enough will be totally different to your idea of being ‘enough’. Perhaps being enough is just a perpetual and never ending list. The idea of ‘enough’ has no boundaries and it can change from one moment to the next. You may say to yourself that when I earn X amount of money I will be enough, but then find yourself reaching that amount, still not feeling enough and increasing the figure. Something which was important to your sense of being enough in your 20’s may not hold true to you in your late 40’s.
So instead of repeating generic affirmations such as ‘I am enough’, try creating personal intentions which resonate with you such as “I am the architect of my life; I build its foundation and choose its contents’ or ‘Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I have been give.’
2. A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved
We all know this saying, but few of us heed its advice. Whether this is talking to your partner, your mum or your friend, by opening up you let go of the burden and hold that your fear takes on you. Finding those connections where you feel completely safe, without any fear of judgement or comparison is so important to building up your self confidence.
Your self love and self worth will increase just by surrounding yourself with people who allow you to be you, exactly as you come, moment by moment.
3. Find your tribe
Nearly six months ago, whilst I was temping on Reception, FATE played her cards beautifully and introduced me to Siobhan, founder of ToGetHer Further, a wonderful women’s group. The group is home to a huge variety of Superwomen from all walks of life. Whenever I have moments of self-doubt, fear, panic I share it with the group to gratefully receive an overwhelmingly large response, recommending books, podcasts, seminars, or even a good old fashioned chat over a cup of tea.
There’s always someone who has been in a similar place, offering that ‘me too’ which can be such a blessing to hear, to show you that you’re not alone. We mostly struggle from the same insecurities and fears, so you may find that your honestly shared experience profoundly helps someone else’s struggle. There are loads of these support groups around, but when you find your one, it feels like you have an army of gurus behind your back.
4. Remember you don’t have to have it all together
No one, and I mean NO ONE, has life sorted. We’re all navigating through life the best way we know how. Everyone has parts in which they feel like they’re not good enough, even if you can’t see it. And the beauty you see in them is no different to the gift they see in you!
Once you start to view yourself and everyone else in this light, you’ll stop feeling like you have to compare yourself to others and your fear of not being good enough will begin to subside.
5. Enjoy trial and error
Life is meant to be enjoyed. It is meant for learning and making mistakes. No one is perfect, nor should you aspire to be. Whenever something goes wrong, take a step back and think on what you have learnt from the experience. We can take away something useful and constructive from everything we do.
And don’t forget to congratulate yourself for the things you did do well. When I come away from something which I felt was an awful experience, I reflect and make a list of all the things that I learnt from it as well as considering all the things that went well, or that I was proud of – perhaps it was just putting myself out there, but that can still be some huge feat.
For each mistake and failing you feel you have made, you have achieved so much more. Remember that. If it helps, write your successes down on a piece of paper, adding to it when you need, and re reading it in those moments when you feel down or hopeless.
Don’t let yourself, or anyone else, dull your sparkle – because you’re brilliant just the way you are 🙂
You can learn more about Alexandra and connect with further through Instagram or via her website. She also gives *free* guided meditation classes at For the Core on Monday evenings, so pop along and enjoy her soothing sessions by registering through the Facebook invite.