I Feel So Unworthy

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day. She was in her thirties and depressed about her perceived lack of achievements in life, love and career. What had brought this on? Well, she had run into another lady who seemed to be better than her in every single department… and, was younger than her.

“This girl, everyone loves her. She’s smarter than me, prettier than me, and she seems to know everything about our job even though she’s younger than me.”

The more my friend talked about this younger lady and the effect of meeting her, the more I recognised the terrible feeling of being worthless that we all feel sometimes.

beautiful woman

Sometimes, you just feel like everyone is … better … than you!

Women or Men?

It seems that many people think that these particularly dangerous thoughts are the tormentors of womankind. After all, women constantly compare themselves and have those helpful advertising campaigns with Photoshopped hotties to aspire to.

But, I believe men are just as prone to feelings of worthlessness as well. They live in a goal-orientated and competitive world. And sometimes you don’t do well against the competition!

It’s a difficult world at times for all of us. We all are our own worst critics. We all wish we could do better. But sometimes our self-criticism goes too far and can result in depression, or worse, self harm, or even worse, suicide.

How can we stop feeling unworthy?

Our lack of self esteem is a conscious thought process. A logical firing of particular neurons in the brain that force us to certain conclusions. The best we can do is to try to not reach certain conclusions, to be self-critical without being too harsh, to be positive about ourselves. It ain’t always that easy! But we owe it to ourselves to try!

Through meditation we learn to be more economical with our thoughts, in the same way that yoga and t’ai chi can teach us to be economical with our bodies. You don’t need to tense up your neck muscles when stressed: it increases blood pressure, expends unnecessary energy and increases tension. So we learn to relax and let wonderful natural energy flow through us.

It’s the same with our thoughts. We learn not to spend our time thinking about stuff that doesn’t really concern us. The best example of this is not think about the past or the future – 99% of the time it’s not necessary: we know what happened in the past and we can’t change it; we don’t know what’ll happen in the future so there’s no point thinking about it.

Similarly, we don’t really know what anyone else is thinking or feeling because we aren’t them. We only really know about ourselves. They may tell us they’re happy, they may look happy, but we also know that experiences are deceptive. It also isn’t any of our business. We simply shouldn’t think about other people at all – only in terms of how we can help them.

So what about my friend?

I tried to explain that she had a choice about whether to think about this girl or not. I encouraged her to challenge her beliefs about whether she was really as unworthy as she thought she was. I pointed to several examples of my friend’s achievements that made her extremely worthy in my eyes!

What you can do

Be kind to yourself! You wouldn’t eat food that was badly made or tasted disgusting, so don’t put ugly, foul thoughts in your head!

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  1. Most of the time I am not comparing myself to anyone except myself. I often find if I do make comparisons, I can either feel like your friend – not as good as someone, which is a most unpleasant feeling or – better than someone, which is border arrogant. As you stated, “We only really know about ourselves. ” And then, some of us don’t know ourselves.

    Thanks for a valuable post.

    • Rob Cubbon says:

      Thank you for your thoughts, Patricia. Oh, how we all like to compare ourselves favorably to others! I certainly do that and then scold myself for being so smug … and presumptuous!

  2. My name is Terry I live in a small town who has a great support system for people who suffer from Mental Illness. Such has Depression and Bi Polar to only name a few. I suffer
    from Depression and I also have two other diseases. That I have to acknowledge every-
    day. If I don’t share them with someone else I could end up right where I was 31 years ago. And that was sleeping in churches and under bridges and In hospitals closets and cars. What I am trying to say is I am an alcoholic a drug addict. That was when I living if you call
    it living it a big city. Call Minneapolis,Minnesota. I went to a meeting a couple times an one of the guys nudge on the shoulder and said I think Terry would be a good sponsor.
    I thought they finally except me into their circle. But I was wrong the young woman who I
    thought was a friend went to the circle and told them that I had made sexual comments to her. I have with my partner at the time seventeen years . So I was ask not to come to their clubhouse for one year. That night my life crumble under my feet so I decided to go to a meeting in another city 25 miles from my home and another woman made same charges and that club served me papers saying that I was “not ever allowed in their club house” Again my world crumble because I don’t make sexual comments to
    women in AA or NA. Because I know what it is like when some does that. Because my
    sponsor did it to me.