As women we often struggle with feelings of inadequacy. We beat ourselves up for not being good enough and not doing enough.
I know these feelings. I frequently sense inadequacy and self doubt creeping in.
We don’t always feel this way. Research shows us that young girls are assertive and confident. They report feeling good about themselves. They feel they are strong, talented and have much to contribute. It is around the age of 12 that young girls loose their sense of worth and efficacy. It doesn’t end with puberty. As mothers and grown women the pressures and stigmas don’t go away.
Being a girl, a woman, a mother is hard.
The inadequacy and confusion hit me full force after having our second child. I didn’t know who I was. I felt lost. All of a sudden I couldn’t make a decision and didn’t have an opinion. It affected every part of my life. Even little things like getting dressed in the morning. I didn’t know what looked good on me because I didn’t know who I was. I questioned my ability to parent and lacked confidence in my ability to even hold a conversation. For a year I had to have every decision cleared by someone else. My husband wondered where the confident, assertive woman he married had disappeared to.
As women, and mothers, we are smart, strong, and influential. There is not room in our lives to beat ourselves up because we aren’t good enough. On the contrary, we need to celebrate how great we are.
- We can start by not putting ourselves down. We need to stop apologizing because our house isn’t clean enough or we are not skinny enough. Self depreciation is destructive. Plus, when our kids hear us say these things it affects their thoughts and opinions.
This is especially applicable with our spouses. When my husband and I got married our ecclesiastical leader gave me some very POWERFUL advice. He told me not to point out all my faults. He informed me that most of the time our spouses don’t recognize the faults until we point them out. Once we do, they have a hard time forgetting.
Whenever I am about to point out something I don’t like about myself, I remember to keep my mouth shut. I don’t need to give my husband any ideas.
If you are always pointing out your faults, here is a little exercise to help cure you. Put a rubber band on your wrist. Every time you catch yourself thinking or saying something bad about yourself, pull the rubber band so it flicks you. It should hurt and you won’t want to put yourself down any more.
- We need to take credit for the good things we do. We don’t need to act arrogant, just confident. We are working hard to do good things in our homes and in our communities. We are good mothers, wives and friends. We can take credit for that.
- We need to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We seem to express compassion and understanding for other’s situations and limitations, why not for ourselves. We too have limitation and are great regardless. It is okay to not bake our own bread, live totally “green”, home school, sew our children’s clothes and have 8 kids. We are still okay. It is time to cut ourselves some slack. We are all different and that is okay too.
You and I both know what we should be doing and when we can do better. We have internal gauges that tell us if we are doing what we should. Listening to the “voice” within us and not the “voice” of the world will help us ease up on ourselves.
- We need to recognize that the joy will come in moments. Life will be frustrating and hard at times.
- We can surround ourselves with support. We need to distance ourselves from people who don’t support us and build us up.
- We need to find some time for ourselves to cultivate our gifts and talents. Take a minute and pick one or two things that you want to do and make time for them in your life.
When we spend excess time and energy feeling inadequate we don’t have the energy left to love and help those we care about the most, our families and friends.
As mothers and women we have a great responsibility. We are raising future generations. We are building strong families. Our influence is shaping the world. We need to stop being so hard on ourselves and start celebrating the good things we are doing.
DO YOU EVER FEEL INADEQUATE?