There is a time in everyone’s life when they may feel different and experience a feeling of inadequacy that makes them question who they are and whether they really belong with their peers. At the moment this happens most people start comparing themselves to those around them which often results in more pregnant feelings of inadequacy, setting the course for an unhealthy relationship with themselves and a distorted perspective on life. And then comes the question: what is wrong with me? The answer is nothing. Despite what you may think comparing yourself to others might tell you about yourself, know that you are perfectly normal and on the path to fulfill your potential and be the best version of yourself that you can be.
Most people experience feelings of inadequacy throughout their life and, at the moment this happens, they start questioning their life, their choices, their achievements and, ultimately, their happiness. To a certain point, reevaluating your life is perfectly normal because you want to understand what makes you who you are, what makes you happy and fulfilled and do more of what makes you whole. When used for good, this is an exemplary tool for personal growth, boosting confidence and validating the choices you’ve made so far that help you be a better you.
But sometimes, reevaluating your life can take a negative aspect and turn into criticizing who you are and what you’ve achieved so far. You essentially turn yourself into your worst critic and enemy and risk undermining your efforts to better yourself as well as sabotage your happiness. It may be because you are a highly sensitive person who empathizes with others, a result of outside interference or even a symptom of a mental disorder like anxiety or depression. In any case, know that this is by no means your fault and there is absolutely nothing wrong with you because you are worthy of love and respect, whatever others, your anxiety or your depression might lead you to believe.
1) You are lying to yourself. These feelings of inadequacy many people experience often mean you are just starting to know yourself and realizing what you actually want in life. But the truth can be hard to accept, even when it’s innocuous. Refusing to accept who you really are and what you want out of life, your career or relationships, refusing to let go of what no longer works for you even though you’ve seen what you want and need in life can trigger a massive internal conflict.
And as long as you resist you will feel inadequate, blame yourself for the resulting unhappiness and ask yourself if there is something wrong with you. As soon as you embrace who you are you will put yourself on the path to fulfill your full potential and create the happiness you deserve which will leave no room for self- doubt.
2) Mental illness is causing you to isolate yourself. Nobody is to blame for having a mental disorder. It isn’t a fault, nor a reason to be ashamed of. But mental illness has an isolating effect because it makes you feel different from everybody else and plants in your mind the idea that you are somehow less deserving for not being just like everyone else.
This happens with anxiety when your fears make it seem like others are better than you for facing theirs when you can’t even function with yours. It happens with depression when it causes you to stop feeling happiness or anything at all, distancing you from those that can. It happens with obsessive-compulsive disorders that make you feel different.
Mental illness causes you to ask yourself: what is wrong with me? Why am I like this, why can’t I stop being like this, why can’t I be like them? What you have to keep repeating to yourself is that it is not your fault, there is nothing wrong with you as a person and that you will overcome everything. Hold on to your faith, reach out, accept help and refuse to comply with the isolation the disease is pushing you into. Anxiety, depression and other mental disorders can be treated successfully.
3) You are being manipulated. So many times self-doubt is something others create. Toxic people are the most destructive element for kind, sensitive, empathetic, generous individuals who strive to better themselves and bring good into the world. Toxic people employ subtle tactics to undermine your confidence, reduce your self-worth, belittle your hard work and put a stop to personal growth in order to make you more malleable and profit off of you, feed on your self-doubt and unhappiness. Having such people in your life will make you miserable and think so low of yourself that you actually come to believe there may be something wrong with you.
Anyone can be a toxic person. A friend who’s constantly criticizing you supposedly because they are your friend and are bound by the sacred rules of friendship to practice extreme honesty towards you. A parent who is always comparing you to other people’s children and their achievements which makes you feel less worthy, discourages and prevents you from enjoying your successes or following your dream. A partner who is constantly complaining and trying to change who you are, supposedly for you own good and for the good of your relationship. A peer who is mocking and isolating you because they fear you light will shine brighter.
Any close one who is manipulating instead of supporting you, judging instead of accepting you or putting you down instead of raising you up is a toxic person. All of these people can make you feel inadequate when there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. And their work is so insidious that you might not even realize they are undermining you. If you feel someone in your life is keeping you from growing in any way, sabotaging your happiness, then know that there is something wrong with them, not you.
4) You are going through a grand moment of personal growth. So many people ask themselves what is wrong with them as they face difficult moments in their life. Teenagers and young adults are most likely to experience feelings of inadequacy because they have the most personal growing to do. Choosing a path in life, finding out who you are and what makes you happy, facing hardship to achieve your goals, reevaluating your expectations out of life, redefining yourself are stages of personal growth. You are starting to learn about yourself and it’s not uncommon to find out you are different than your peers, have changed, are unhappy with how things are and want something else. You may not know what you want at all, just that you don’t want what you have or thought made you happy anymore.
Such realizations can come as a shock which is why many people refuse to acknowledge them and perpetuate their unhappiness, struggling with being different. Until you are honest and accept yourself for who you are, you will think there is something wrong with you. But there isn’t. Whatever you may want out of life and irrespective of the fact that your desires and goals might shift towards something else at one point or another, you are exactly who you are supposed to be and going through exactly what you should be in order to grow and become more yourself.