Healing the “Not Good Enough”

I often work with clients who have struggled with chronic feelings of insecurity and low-self worth.  These issues are exceptionally common, and can fuel other emotional issues like chronic anxiety, addiction, depression, eating disorders, sleep disorders, and patterns of tumultuous relationships.  I’ve developed a 4-phase process that aims to not just recognize and cope with these deeper feelings, but to resolve and heal them.  This process borrows theory and methodology from Internal Family Systems (IFS), Somatic Experiencing (SE), and other mindfulness models to address these patterns at the root and provide fundamental personal change.  Please note, this is a fairly intensive process and is meant to be practiced with the support of regular psychotherapy.

The phases build on one another, each cultivating self-awareness and introspective skills that support the phases that follow.  Every phase helps in some way, though the potential for change and transformation becomes more significant as later phases are engaged.  It’s a natural part of the process to revisit earlier phases at times.

The meditations included below are meant to be practiced as a part of this treatment process.  For more general mindfulness meditations, see the books and audio section.

Phase 1 – Mapping it out

Summary and worksheet can be found here.  In this first phase of the treatment process, we establish a “birds-eye view” perspective of what the not good enough is and how it manifests in observable thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Phase 2 – Making contact

A full description (including worksheet) of this phase is here.  Once the pattern is recognized more clearly, we begin to notice how it is felt and experienced, particularly in the body through feelings and emotions.  We learn to see it as a “part” of us that we carry around the clock, regardless of how active it may be at any given time.  Becoming experientially aware of our not good enough unlocks new opportunities for personal healing and reconciliation in subsequent phases.

Phase 3 – Awareness and self-acceptance

See here for the full description and worksheet of phase 3.  Here, basic mindfulness meditation is learned and applied, particularly with the aim of building a working relationship with this part of us we have historically been antagonistic or averse toward.  The meditations in phase 3 focus on relating to our not good enough with a spirit of interest, receptivity, non-judgment, and personal acceptance.  If you are new to mindfulness, feel free to explore the more general and introductory mindfulness meditations before trying meditations specific to this phase.

Mindful self-investigation

Healing the Not Good Enough Phase 3.  The content of this meditation in particular focuses on identifying the “not good enough” feeling and exploring the emotional expression of this pattern in the body.

Spatial acceptance

Healing the Not Good Enough Phase 3.  In this meditation, we focus on experientially accepting or opening up to our emotional experience of this pattern.

Phase 4 – Self-compassion

The description and worksheet of this phase.    Although practices of self-compassion have the highest potential for personal transformation (particularly with the not good enough), they are also generally quite challenging.  Most benefit from a period of practice with more general meditation before moving to this phase, and it is not uncommon to revisit earlier meditations (such as those in phase 3) periodically.

Titrating self-compassion

Healing the Not Good Enough Phase 4.  We practice using our connection with a benefactor or other positive figure in our life to cultivate qualities of loving-kindness, and we “titrate” these qualities into our felt experience of the not good enough.

The wounded inner child

Healing the Not Good Enough Phase 4.  Cultivating an image of a wounded inner-child, we learn to see our not good enough as something both needing and deserving of love.

Metta (lovingkindness) phrases

Healing the Not Good Enough Phase 4.  A meditation on the not good enough using the general structure from the traditional Buddhist meditation on Metta (loving-kindness).  Primarily using phrases to connect with positive regard, we cultivate a quality of unconditional kindness, eventually bringing this spirit into contact with our own not good enough.