Have you ever felt like a fraud? You know what I’m talking about. Like somewhere, somehow, they let you into this “club” and everyone else belongs there but you? You might feel that way at work. Or in graduate school. Or even as a parent. We all go through times when we here feel inadequate. So here are 11 things to remember during the times when you feel like you are not good enough:

1. You are not the only one who feels this way.

When I was started my Ph.D. program, I felt like the dumbest person in every class. I couldn’t believe how many smart people were there, and I had the sinking feeling that somehow they made a mistake letting me in. I didn’t know if I could measure up to their intelligence or compete in the same league with them. Years later, I found out that pretty much everyone felt this way, too. So trust me, you are not the only one who feels like a “fraud.” Almost everyone does at one time or another.

2. You are unique and have special talents.

If you can barely make Hamburger Helper (like myself), don’t compare yourself to your sister who is a gourmet chef. I’m sure you can do many things that she can’t. So focus on your own passions and talents. You are you. You are not your sister. Or your brother. Or your dad. Or your friend. Or your boss. Or a movie star. You have your own special talents to offer the world. Focus on that.

3. You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before anything else good can happen in the future.

So many people don’t live in the “now”. They think that once they get that perfect job, or that perfect husband, or that perfect house, then they will be “good enough”. Well, that’s not true! Even if you get all of those things, that doesn’t mean you will necessarily feel better about yourself. Your self-esteem starts within you. When you truly love yourself, outside conditions won’t shake your sense of self-worth.

4. You need to stop chasing perfection. It doesn’t exist.

Perfection is a myth. It’s subjective. What’s perfect to me is not perfect to you. So if you think that there is some grand, objective measurement of perfection and that the rest of the world is judging you against, then you are wrong. Most people are too worried about their own lack of perfection to judge you.

5.You need to love yourself the most when you think you deserve it the least.

When there is pain, love is the answer. If you have ever seen a child cry about something, they always respond well to a parent or a loved one giving them hugs and kisses and telling them that everything will be alright. So you need to learn to do that to yourself, too. As strange as it may sound, you can love yourself and comfort yourself. You deserve it.

6. You need to change your thought patterns.

Our sense of self-worth is based in our thoughts. We have been programmed for many, many years with thoughts about ourselves. Messages come from our parents, from our peers, from teachers, from the media and from our own labels. But guess what? They are only thoughts. Just because you think these thoughts, it doesn’t make them true. One of my favorite sayings is, “Don’t believe a negative thought you think!”

7. You need to stop dwelling on your “failures” and “mistakes”.

I don’t believe in failure. Or mistakes. I only believe in “learning opportunities”. If something doesn’t go right, then congratulations! You have just learned a way that doesn’t work. I think we best learn what does work by learning what doesn’t work. So be grateful for your supposed “failures” and “mistakes” because they lead you one step closer to success.

8. You have the power to change your future.

You can control your thoughts. And you can control your actions. Once you realize and accept these to basic truths, everything can change. So instead of dwelling on your “failures,” change your thought processes. Take those lessons and channel them into a plan for your future. Change your negative thoughts into positive ones and then get in the driver’s seat toward better self-esteem and a brighter future.

9. You should accept yourself for who you are.

Stop thinking that you’re “not okay”. You are okay. In fact, you are better than “okay” as long as you believe you are. I’ve talked to many men who say that they are much more attracted to an overweight woman with self-confidence than they are to a woman who looks like a super model and feels bad about herself. Confidence is attractive. It draws people in. If you love yourself for who you are, other people will notice.

10. You should be grateful for who you are and what you have.

The grass is not always greener on the other side. Maybe your career isn’t where you want it to be, so you feel inadequate. Well, the person who holds your dream job may not even like their job … or their life! Or that super model you envy might actually hate herself. So look at yourself and your life and be grateful for everything you have.

11. You are awesome.

That’s pretty self-explanatory. But really, you are. Everyone reading this is awesome in their own way . The trick is having you believe it. So pat yourself on the back don’t feel that you are not worthy. You are worthy.

Here’s the takeaway: Your sense of feeling like a “fraud” or that you’re no good enough is just all in your head. All of it starts and ends with you. So if you remember these 11 things, you will on the road to better self-esteem in no time.

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