Do you feel as if you aren’t good enough?
If you didn’t know it already, I am an experienced NLP Coach. For the last few years, I have been helping people, some of them, indeed many of them, that have horses and have issues with their relationship with their horse, yes, but mostly they come to me with issues that they desperately want to change.
Now, after some considerable years, I can truly say that the biggest issue that people have within themselves is feeling that they are not good enough.
Sally came to me recently, with a problem of never being able to finish anything she started. She said to me, ‘I am multi-skilled, lots of qualifications and all that, but I have never really managed to complete anything in my life. Now, I’m reaching that age where I am wondering if it is too late. I feel a failure and I am scared to start something new in case I don’t complete that either.’
Well, my first answer was of course that it is never too late to make positive changes. Not feeling good enough can manifest itself in so many different ways. I remember when I first got Jack, my horse, and I wasn’t 100% sure of the best way to deal with his behavioural problems. So, I asked people at the stable yard for their advice and opinions. Oh dear, looking back, that wasn’t my best move, because the conflicting advice that I received was utterly confusing. Thinking back, 28+ years, there wasn’t one piece of advice that would have been right for me and my horse.
We used to have a trainer come to the yard and, for whatever reason; it appeared that everyone worshipped her. One day she offered to ‘sort him out’ for me, as I was having problems getting him to jump a small set of jumps in the indoor school. What I didn’t realise then, at that moment, was that Jack was a one woman horse. Despite the problems we were having together, he absolutely had set his mind that no one else was supposed to ride him.
As soon as the lady got her rather ample butt in the saddle, he made her look like a total idiot. He refused to move. She started to lose her temper; well yes of course she would because Jack was ridiculing her reputation as a trainer. For a short while, I squirmed. Who was I to call her out – she knew what she was doing didn’t she? Well, whether she did or not, she had no right to bully my horse. I stood up and quietly went to his side and looked at her. She made eye contact and I asked her to please get off. Thankfully, she did and I took Jack back to his stable, removed his tack and let him out in the field.
I wasn’t great at self-reflection back then. I just knew that the way she had handled him was wrong. I started to do things my way. Did I know what I was doing? Hell no! But, what I did know is what felt right and what felt wrong. I was laughed at, I was ridiculed, I overheard conversations laughingly berating my skill as a rider/handler and my horse, in their exact words, was ‘crap’
For years I battled to do what was right for him, as people laughed at everything we did. We had a ton of failures – although I don’t believe in failure, I believe in trying lots of things until you find what works. Eventually, we had the last laugh as we built a fantastic relationship and proceeded to beat everyone in competition.
But, feeling that you are not good enough is a major issue for so many.
It can manifest in any of the following:-
- Feeling like a fraud
- Lack of self-esteem
- Lack of confidence
- Afraid of success or failure
- Constantly seeking the opinion of others
- Constantly seeking the approval of others
- Not trusting your own judgements or decisions
- Believing what others tell you about yourself (negatively)
- Lack of assertive skills
- Not being able to set boundaries
- Emotional eating
There are many more, but these are the main ones that I personally see as a coach. So, what can you do about it, if you think that you don’t feel good enough?
In my experience, the most powerful thing you can do to get started in changing your mindset, is to start journaling. You will know when these ‘bad’ feelings come up; you may feel unsettled, out of sorts, miserable, distracted or angry. Write these feelings out, and write out what happened prior to these feelings erupting. The objective is to find the trigger and then dig down to get rid of the belief that is not serving you as an adult. In your journaling, ask yourself lots of questions.
Let me give you an example:-
For no apparent reason, you ‘suddenly’ start feeling down. You might have felt okay an hour ago, maybe even a few moments ago, but then bam, just like that, the bad feelings came up.
In your journal, write down exactly what happened in the time before you felt bad. Sophie shared with me, her first entry when she started her journal
“I feel bad, why do I feel bad? I feel upset. What happened? I was having a conversation with my mum, I had felt okay.
How about the conversation with my mum, what were we talking about? Oh, I remember, I was telling her that I was thinking about learning how to play the piano. I had looked into lessons because I wanted to find an outlet for my creativity. But, why did that make me feel bad? Oh heck, now I remember what she had said when I told her. She had laughed and said ‘why do you want to do that, you won’t stick at it?’ I had replied that I wanted to use my creativity and she had said ‘I don’t remember you ever being creative; it was your brother that was good at creating things. You won’t see it through, plus, don’t be silly, you can’t really afford it can you’
I feel sick! I did not realise that my mum does this ALL THE TIME. I don’t look forward to talking to her because I almost always feel bad afterwards. OMG, this is horrible, I need to change this, how can I change this? I want to be able to tell my mum what I am doing without her criticizing me, even if she does it playfully, it still hurts. I am going to talk to Jan tomorrow and see how I am best to deal with this.
I feel angry because I am 43, I should be able to make my own decisions without feeling that I am a little child who doesn’t know what I am doing! Don’t be silly!!! How dare she! I am so angry right now. She has no right to treat me like a child, I am grown up, with a good job, I have my own house, I have managed to make these decisions on my own. This is not my problem but I do need to learn how to overcome it because I realise that this happens most times we talk on the phone.”
Sophie did go on to say a lot more but some of it was deeply personal so we I have abbreviated her responses.
Every time I feel a negative emotion stirring, I title a page ‘Self-Reflect’ and start writing. As a healing process it is second to none. Seeing your written word takes away some of the power. The more you do, the more ‘stuff’ you will be able to process and let go of.
Now, let’s just mention the horses here. Your horse is deeply connected to your emotions. If you are feeling unhappy, angry, and frustrated or anything negative, your horse will react accordingly. If the bad feelings continue, then there will be issues along the road between you and your horse. Horses are excellent healers, but it isn’t their job to take away our stress or our problems. Their role is to guide us to take action, so we become more whole so they can relax and enjoy being with us. I have quite often worked with a horse where the healing has switched to the owner. There have been some wonderful moments where tears are shed and the horse turns to the owner and starts to nuzzle or groom her. I have seen highly difficult behavioural problems disappear once the owner has released whatever is holding her back.
Your horse deserves the best you that you can be. You owe it to him at the very least, if you care about his well-being and you are actively seeking to improve your relationship. The spin-off is a great bond with your horse and also much healthier relationships with the people in your life.
You are good enough, you just need to believe it on a core level.