How to Handle Feeling
"Not Good Enough"

Party Conversation

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could boast now and then of having complete self-command, or could whisk away negativity with a slight of hand?  Yet, we all face moments of character angst and utter self-deprecating phrases to ourselves. 

Feeling inadequate or "not good enough" comes with the territory.  Add to this the challenge that everyone wants to fit in and feel that we belong and...well, we’re—human.

Human Behavior

As social creatures, we humans tend to run in packs.  We have groups, families, cliques, besties, associates, etc. 

But as individuals, we each have our own emotional baggage.  And it’s that baggage, and the method with which we carry it, that determines how we socialize and how we might typically react to certain social situations.

Unless our emotions get the better of us at times, we also know the boundaries of acceptable behavior – what is rude and what is not.  As philosopher of old, Adam Smith teaches, you might feel a moment of expressive urgency because of your mood, but “what renders you incapable of such a rudeness, is nothing but a regard to the general rules of civility and hospitality which prohibit it.” 

We generally know how we ought to behave, but we just don’t always succeed.  These moments emphasize our lack of perfection and can sometimes exacerbate that horrible feeling of “not good enough.”

Etiquette Can Alleviate “Not Good Enough”

On a given day when the blues have you feeling “not good enough,” but you can’t escape the challenge of interacting with other people, what can you do? 

Etiquette has something to say about it.

Choosing to employ etiquette can help you feel that you can blend in and belong.  At a social gathering, etiquette nudges you to introduce yourself, shake hands, and bring a smile to your face when greeting others.  Those people then experience you as friendly and welcoming.

If you are among professionals or others whose respect you would like to have, the tendency to hold back because they seem “more than you” can naturally lead you to shy away, but etiquette is right there asking you to “own the room” or reminds you that, “You belong here.” 

Etiquette teaches us how to handle ourselves in social situations and how to show up with positivity, with our heads held high. 

Etiquette helps us actualize good manners by being recognizably respectful and courteous, being aware of where we are and with whom, and it calls in “the pause,” adding the element of temperance. 

In a nutshell, etiquette helps us “fake it until we make it” in social situations, and though “Etiquette” is more or less a mythical friend, is serves you well in the moment. 

The simplest things that Etiquette would have us do:

  • Meet and greet others.  Introduce ourselves and others.
  • Put on a happy face and make eye contact when you speak with people.
  • Be welcoming.
  • Apologize when you make mistakes.
  • Appreciate other’s space, time-wise and physically.
  • Keep promises and follow up.

Friendships are critical to stepping up to and past your feelings of being “not good enough.” Close friends have a way of refreshing and revitalizing your faith in yourself as relevant and right-suited to this day of life.  In the process you renew your acquaintance with Sympathy and Empathy with others, as, surely, others face similar challenges as you. 

The occasional realization that, “We’re all in this together” is a wonderful thing.

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” 

~ Lori Deschene


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