What If I Don’t Feel Like I’m Good Enough?

What If I Don't Feel Good Enough?

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At times, some teens might feel that they are not doing well enough when they compare themselves to other kids. Let me tell you that these feelings are pretty common. So how can you deal with them?
Picture of Eva Elizabeth Rea

Eva Elizabeth Rea

Psychologist & Author

At times, some teens might feel that they are not doing well enough when they compare themselves to other kids. Let me tell you that these feelings are pretty common. So how can you deal with them?

Know That You Aren’t The Only One Struggling

You Are Not Alone

First of all, do not assume that everybody else is doing well while you are struggling. Some have learned to mask their feelings or put on a brave face. All humans – teenagers and grown-ups – struggle with their emotions from time to time.

Remind yourself that in your teenage years, your body is going through hormonal changes that can make you feel out of sorts. If you check Youtube or Spotify, you will find a number of songs titled “Sweet sixteen”. The reality is that often, it’s not sweet sixteen, but horrible sixteen.

Be Kind To Yourself

Be Kind To Yourself

Try to be your own best friend and don’t be so hard on yourself. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. So, in the first place, notice the things that you do well. If you want to improve, that’s fine, but do it from a position of self-acceptance. It’s easier to change when you accept yourself.

Try to understand yourself, rather than criticize. Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend. When a friend goes through a difficult time, that’s when they need you. If you have a dog, learn from your pet how to relate to yourself. Your dog loves unconditionally, just because you are you. Also, remind yourself that at times, it’s OK not to be OK. Also, tell yourself that the unhappy feelings will pass.

Be Mindful of Your Thoughts

Be Mindful

Observe your thoughts and check how much pressure you put on yourself. When you tell yourself that you should have done things differently, it means that what you have done wasn’t good enough. Remember that you don’t have to be perfect – no one is perfect. If there were perfect people, they would have been quite boring because you could anticipate the next perfect move – and that’s hardly exciting.

How you feel about yourself can have all kinds of different causes. One of them could be from the high expectations from your parents to do things perfectly. Your parents have good intentions, but this is a tall order that might be very difficult or impossible to achieve.

Try to think in terms of “not too much” and “not too little”. When you are anxious about your exams, it can prevent you from remembering what you have learned. When you are relaxed, it’s easier to remember the material that you have learned. So, again, try to do things well enough, rather than perfectly.

Turn Unhappy Thoughts Into Pleasent Memories

Happy thoughts

At times, our minds can take us to all kinds of unhappy places and create a chain of unhappy memories. The good news here is that our minds can also create a chain of good memories. When your mind wanders into an unhappy place, do not fight your thoughts, but switch your attention to something different. Engage in an enjoyable activity such as exercising, talking with a friend, or spending time with your family.

After the enjoyable activity, connect with a good memory and try to create a happy chain. Sometimes, it can be helpful to write down a good memory and place it in a “happy box”. When the need arises, you can open this box and connect with all your good memories. It’s like a bank account that you can draw from whenever you want to do so. So now, you have choices, you can either stay with an unhappy memory or connect with a good memory.

Talk To Somebody About Your Feelings

Talk About Your Feelings

Share your feelings with someone. If you can, talk to your parents or chat with a good friend whom you can trust. Alternatively, contact an organization or therapist that helps teens. If these two options are not viable, then externalize your feelings by writing them down. You can also show your feelings through drawing or painting. Some really cool books and paintings were created when people were unhappy. So, feeling unhappy from time to time, is not always bad.


  1. Do not compare yourself to others – you don’t know how they feel on the inside.

  2. Hormonal changes in the body can make teens feel miserable.

  3. Be your own best friend – support yourself rather than criticize yourself.

  4. Observe your thoughts and don’t let your mind take you to unhappy places. Distract yourself from unhappy thoughts with an enjoyable activity and afterward create a box of happy memories.

  5. Tell someone how you feel. If that’s difficult, then write your feelings down.

About The Author

Picture of Eva Elizabeth Rea

Eva Elizabeth Rea

Eva Elizabeth Rea, B.Sc. M.Sc. Dip. Psych. Dip. Hyp. Dip. Couns. CPsychol. AFBPsS, is a psychologist with lots of experience working in a private practice and in the NHS in London, United Kingdom. She also provides external supervision to South West London & St George’s Mental Health Trust and to individual practitioners.

Her specialist field is psychological trauma. She researched the legacy of emotional abuse in childhood for her Master's degree dissertation. What she loves doing best is helping kids and grown-ups transform unhappy experiences into a drive to realise their potential.

She is also an author of the book Willow Ashwood and the Dragons. This novel can help teens and young adults realise their potential and to improve their relationships.

Follow Eva's Blog & Twitter!

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