I, for so long, have struggled with the feeling of not enough in whatever that I do—every single thing that I do.
It has always been hard for me to take the credit where its due solely because I have this fear of appearing narcissistic or self-consumed. I easily dismiss my achievements because in a way, I have a problem with being proud of it. It is one of the reasons why I fear “putting myself out there”. Or maybe because I simply don’t think that I am capable enough.
I don’t even know how to react when people would shower me with some overwhelming appreciation of things that I’ve done—when in reality, I don’t think I’ve done much. Being in the spotlight scares me so much that my face would become flushed and that, I would in the end, feel so drained out that I’d need to hide from the world. (But that’s just me being an introvert).
Some days are better but some days are just down in the dumps.
I guess I am at this phase where I am trying to find where and how would I finally be in sync with what I do. And this is one of the reasons why I’ve dedicated this space to “self-care” because the things that I’ve written here are for me too, other than it hopefully being something that you can benefit from.
With that said, here are some self-care habits that I’ve started to practice in order “feel enough” on days when I’d struggle to climb out of that dark hole.
1. Express yourself.
One of the ways that I’ve known how to deal with when I do become hard on myself is to let it go in a form of creative means. I’ve wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about it until I put it down in paper or doodle my heart out. Sometimes, I write prose and things that just don’t make sense privately.
Expressing yourself takes out the intangible thoughts and feelings out of you to a place where you can either keep or throw away literally and physically. I tend to keep these pieces because I’d like to have them as reminders when I do feel the same again.
2. You have to know the root cause of why you don’t feel enough.
This could be something deep—sometimes, you would need to seek professional help—but that’s something that I can’t personally help you with. It could be something that you’ve experienced as a child or there was a traumatic experience that you have never healed from. But that’s something beyond this scope of this topic. The only advise I feel safe enough to give is to seek professional help if it goes to the extent that it disrupts your life and yourself.
The more you understand where that feeling comes from, the more liberated you would feel. And you wouldn’t have to carry that extra baggage on your shoulder and heart anymore.
3. Step away from the thing that makes you feel less than who you are as a person.
See… I don’t have a problem separating my worth from what I materialistically have but I have this in-depth mind set that “you are what you do and if you don’t do enough, then you are not enough”
I’ve started asking deep questions like “Who would you be without your degree, your job and everything that you’ve attached yourself to?”
“Would people still love you if you don’t have anything?”
The answer is yes. They will always love me. My family and my close friends. I have to believe that because they’ve shown that to me. I need to be willing to take their love as much as they are willing to give.
Because that is exactly what I would do for them too. Regardless of who and what they do, I will love them—no matter how we may hate and argue with each other sometimes—I love them wholeheartedly.
In fact, one of my first posts was dedicated towards me being unemployed and how I felt stuck most of the time. I’ve learned that the only way for me to deal with this is to set some boundaries and know when to walk away.
I didn’t give up nor escape from it entirely. I knew I just needed to set some boundaries in order for me feel sane again.
So, don’t just step away from it physically but mentally and emotionally. This, again, is a practice of shifting your mindset to be more present. To be completely mindful of what you do and where you are.
4. Show compassion towards yourself just as you would to other people.
For most of my life, I’ve observed that the people who are usually hard on themselves are those who have no idea how amazing they are as a person. They’ve inspired me and helped me in ways that they don’t even realise.
They’re my family and some of my closest friends. Sometimes, I wish they would just step back and realise what they’ve done is more than enough. They’re always working so hard but they don’t give themselves enough credit—at least a pat in the back—for constantly doing and giving.
Just like how you would show compassion and love towards other people, you should do it to yourself too.
Self-compassion is not about building your self-esteem but more towards recognising your emotions and thoughts without judging them. In simple words, self-compassion reminds us to be kind to ourselves when life hits us hard, without us being self-critical or self-pitiful. It also saves us from having the desire to compete for the wrong reasons with others simple because one would feel superior than others.
It takes a lot of practice and time to truly comprehend how you would need to do it.
If you’re sensitive like me, letting your feelings and thoughts flow without needing to put them in a specific box would help. That is why I’d need to express myself in ways that sometimes I can’t articulate. You don’t have to put a tag into what you’re feeling. Sometimes, the best way is to just let it flow.
5. Finally, praise your Lord by mentioning His attributes for blessing you with beauty and for sustaining you.
There is one rule that I stick to at times when I don’t believe in myself. It is to continuously have faith in Allah regardless of how low I’d feel. When I don’t feel enough, I’d remember how Allah has so far given me in life and sometimes, even more than I expected. His love strengthens my confidence and self-worth but it reminds me to not be self-absorbed.
Having a sustained relationship with Allah has been the only way that has helped me to not give up when I’ve felt like I was drifting away.
One of the ways I’ve learned this is through internalising the daily supplications that we tend to take for granted every day.
This du’a (prayer) recognises that each and everyone of us have our own tailored physical beauty but it also reminds us that we also need to seek the beautification of what is within—as that is in the end far more important than what’s on the surface.
So when you do feel like you’re not enough, and what you are doing is not enough, pray and ask from the Al-Musawwir and Al-Muqeet.
If there is nothing else that you don’t believe in, then at least believe that the One who created you, love you unconditionally. And show that you love Him, too.
This is for people who are constantly hard on themselves. You are enough. What you’ve done is enough.
When you truly love someone, you’d do something out of their best interest. There are days when you are firm to them and there are days when you need to let loose. So this should be same as how you treat yourself too. You are allowed to love yourself as much as you know when to be firm to yourself.
There is nothing wrong with being appreciative of the credits that people give you, especially when you feel humbled by it and one that would make you motivated to do more good. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your successes when they empower you to help others and more.
And what I’d also like to emphasize here is not that we are not capable of becoming a better person every day—no.
That isn’t the message that I hope to leave with you.
It is that when we do feel so much less than we are as a person, it would only stop us from maximising our potential and belief to do even more. To live as our best self. To give as much as we hope to give.
If you’ve achieved something great but still have some trouble with claiming that success, you need to take a step back and pat yourself at the back. Be kind to yourself. You’ve tried. You didn’t give up when your first hit rock bottom. And you didn’t give up the second time and the next.
Our best selves are the product of our struggles as well as our achievements.
Wherever credits are due, they only come from Him and all belongs to Him.
Here’s a short reminder before I end this:
“Please be kind to yourself for you have done so much more than your soul and mind are able to withhold.
Be kind to yourself like you have been to those around you. Don’t let your inner demons speak and overcome your strength and faith that makes you think and feel that what you’ve done is not good enough—that they need to be validated by temporary people and those who don’t believe in you. These people in their right minds are struggling beings too.
And whatever you’ve set yourself to, remember… Allah knows.
He knows what goes into you and the reasons for what comes out of you. People might put a blind eye, but you—you, sensitive soul—are not quick to let things go. You’re trying—by God, you’ve tried so hard that the act of trying itself is consuming you.
He knows what you’re struggling with and what your insecurities are and what you have sacrificed within to be where you are now.
They don’t know, but He does.
He always knows. And that is all that matters in the end.
Because when the clock strikes death, He is the only One who knows every bit of you—every bit of your soul and mind. The pieces that you’ve given for Him and those that you’ve worked for Him. The earth and its nature will eat out its body that merely represent the realest—the most genuine—piece of you.
So, please, please… Be kind to you.”