Updated: Jun 15, 2020
Where does unworthiness come from? What’s it all about? Unworthiness is a feeling that stems from the idea “I am not enough as I am.” It comes from being critiqued on our skills or academic achievement, from being judged “as we are right now” rather than on our effort and capacity to improve. It comes from a rigid belief that we either are or are not good enough - end of story.
Do you know that there are people who exist right now who don’t buy into the idea of worthiness or unworthiness? There are people who, even when they’re told point-blank “You are not good enough”, respond with “YET.” These people have a different mindset from those of us who believe we are either worthy or unworthy - and it’s a mindset we can actually LEARN to ADOPT. This is HUGE. This means we can TEACH OURSELVES to let go of feeling unworthy!
What is this magical mindset and how does it work? It’s called the “Growth Mindset”, and it’s the mindset of many of the world’s most successful leaders, billionaires, and people actively creating social change. (More on this in a later post.)
In the Growth Mindset, worthiness doesn’t factor in because these people believe that we are always works in progress - and if we’re always getting better, how can we be called unworthy? They don’t judge themselves here and now - instead, they see which areas need work and they get to work improving those areas! They feel joy in the process of up levelling their skills, not defeat because they’re not exactly where they want to be right now.
Let’s take an example. Let’s say you want to start a YouTube channel. You get really pumped up, you film a few videos, and you go to edit them. Through the process of editing, you realize with a heavy heart that the videos you were so excited to film? They’re not that good. In fact, they’re pretty awful. They look amateur, you didn’t get your point across, and there’s just no way you can share them with the world. I'm no good at this - I knew this would happen. I'm just not good enough to be a YouTuber. Nobody is ever going to follow someone who can’t even get their point across. Why did I think I could do this in the first place? I'm so stupid. THIS is the fixed mindset talking, the mindset that says you are either good enough or not good enough - there’s no in-between. There’s no getting better, you either have it or you don’t.
The new you, the you with a Growth Mindset, sets out to film some videos and post them to YouTube - because it’s fun to share your knowledge, not because you’re trying to prove yourself to anyone. You film a few videos, and you’re excited just to be learning this new skill. It’s such a challenge, figuring out what to say in a way that makes sense, editing the videos, adding graphics - it’s hard and you love that you’re finally learning how to do this! You take a look at the finished product and it’s not very good. You knew it wouldn’t be very good - you’re just starting out, after all. You post them and share them to your social media page, letting people know that you’re just starting out and you’d love some constructive criticism so you can get better. It feels vulnerable to share my videos this early in the process, but I know I’ll get some valuable feedback. This is such fun! It’s going to feel so good when I finally master this whole YouTube thing. I wonder how many people I can help with this knowledge I’m sharing. Eek, my first critique - they say I should be more animated. Yeah, that makes sense! I’ll try that.
Unworthiness never enters the picture, and if it does, it’s quickly overtaken by thoughts of improvement, of challenge, of enjoying the process.
With a growth mindset, you never have to be defeated again. You’re only defeated if you give up. With a growth mindset, you never give up - you just keep getting better and better, improving your skills, practicing, and having fun! Yes, it still stings when you get criticized - but it doesn’t shatter you. It doesn’t stop you from doing what you want to do. With a growth mindset, your power is not up for grabs - you are always empowered because you’re always following through on the things that are important to you.
So, if you’re feeling unworthy, if you’re stuck in a self-defeating loop of wanting to do something new but not believing in yourself, start thinking in a new way. Recognize that the skills we want to have are all achievable through practice! Realize that criticism can be a good thing, if taken the right way (and you only need to take the criticism you agree with and find actionable - if people are mean, know that it’s more about them than it is about you and re-focus on what’s important to you). Know that you don’t have to judge yourself on how “good” or “bad” you are right now - this is your life, not your report card! You can ALWAYS get better with practice. EVERY SINGLE THING is learnable and you are able to get better over time at ANYTHING you find important. KEEP GOING. Start to ENJOY challenges - find the fun in improving yourself. This is true of career, relationships, parenting, your body - everything!
Through following these steps to change your mindset, you’ll find yourself becoming braver, stronger, and more skilled. And that old feeling of unworthiness? It will be nothing more than a distant memory.