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Am I Good Enough? Understanding And Healing The Burden Of Unworthiness

Written by: Kylie Feller, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


How do you speak to yourself? Is your inner dialogue compassionate, motivating and kind? Or is it more critical, pushing you to be better by reminding you of all the things you are falling at or not doing well enough? Can you feel an inner fear that maybe you are not good enough and that others may find this out or see this part of you?

Unfortunately, many people carry with them a core burden of not feeling good enough and then the system organizes around this in a way trying to make you good enough. The issue with this is you are already worthy and good enough, so your system is working to prove something that is already inherent. It is also not something you can accomplish or receive its just in you, it has to be felt. Many of us have detached ourselves from our bodies and thus cannot feel this inner core of self-compassion and worth. We are chasing and looking for something that is internal, nothing external will be greater.

The burden of not feeling good enough can be inherited from our parents and they from theirs. If they were made to feel or believe they were not good enough when they were younger. This burden of unworthiness can play out for generations until it is seen and healed.

Children need to survive and so if their parents are not showing up in a way they need and providing a safe space for them they internalize that there must be something wrong with them and then work extra hard to make up for it. No matter how hard you work to make up for it through it's never enough because it’s not possible to prove your worth when you are already worthy and enough.

Understanding this is happening to oneself is not enough to change it. People can stand in front of mirrors repeating mantras related to loving themselves and feeling enough but if a younger part of you is carrying this, no amount of mantras in the world will help them let it go. It can help a bit, but it often can't penetrate to the core wound or burden. You must go inside and help this younger part of you release it by helping them experience their own worth. It was a mistake or survival strategy to believe they were not originally.

Releasing this burden is not something that can be done intellectually it has to be felt and experienced. This is where Internal family systems therapy can help.

What is Internal Family Systems

Internal Family Systems is a form of therapy that views the mind as being multiple. Meaning we have multiple parts. Most of us can identify with an inner critic, a part that holds fear of rejection, fear of failure, anxious parts, depressed parts, motivated parts, learning parts, parts that play different roles in our life. We are not just one mind, but we are made up of many different subpersonalities, it normalizes this. When you view the mind like this it is easier to work with different parts of us that might be holding on to extreme emotions and beliefs. It is a form of therapy that helps people go inside of themselves to meet these parts and help them release heavy emotional burdens and experiences.

According to IFS we not only have parts, parts that are in managerial positions and others called exiles who hold emotional wounding, but we also have a True Self. The True Self is an inner resource and healing force that is within all of us. It is defined by the 8 C, compassion, curiosity, connection, confidence, clarity, courage, creativity, and calmness.

It is always there but can get covered over by parts. Just as the sun can get covered with the clouds, just because you can see it or feel it does not mean it is not still there. When we are younger this part of us cannot lead the system unless we are parented in a way that supports it. Unfortunately, many parents have not been taught how to be Self-led as they carry their own burdens and pain from previous generations. Thus, many people get disconnected from their true Selves and they do not even know it is still there. That in your centre you are internally compassionate and more than enough and you can actually feel this if your parts can trust to give you enough space.

I wanted to share some resources and ways to connect with the part of you that might be holding this burned of not being good enough or worthy so this younger part of you can feel you there and no they no longer have to carry this.

5 Steps to Healing A Burden of Unworthiness

1. Focus and Find The Part That Is Holding the Burden of Unworthiness

This first step may take some time and this is okay, it is a deep burden that your system will be organized around. It’s important to remember this burden has been picked up and held by a younger part of you and although it feels very real and is to the system it is not true.

Turn your attention inward and begin to notice where you hold this burden and fear. There is no right or wrong with this, whatever you notice is correct. You might feel this burden in your stomach, neck, arms, back, leg etc.

You may just sense the part is in your body or around you. You may also visualize this part in your mind or you could even visualize it sitting in front of you. It may show up as a younger version of you that first got this messaging and burden. Again, there is no right or wrong here just get a sense of this part.

You may also like to draw the part; it can help to externalize it sometimes. Feel free to play around with these different methods to get to know and get a sense of a part.

Sometimes they are very blended with us, meaning it’s hard to be with it as it's too close to you. If you feel this way, you can ask it to give you a bit of space or to unblend from you so you can be with it and get to know it better.

2. How Do You Feel Towards The Part of You Holding this Burden?

Once you can feel this part of you and maybe you have gotten a sense of this part that is holding this burden. Check to see how you feel towards this part of you. This question might activate parts of you that feel frustrated, angry, sad, annoyed, etc. with these parts. Let these parts know it makes sense they might feel this way and they do not have to change how they feel but see if they would give you some space. Spend some time getting to know these parts if you need to build trust with them.

See if you can get a bit of openness in your heart to understand this part of you that feels so unworthy. Assure them you are not going to let the part take over but instead, you want to help but to help you need to have some openness to understand in your heart.

3. Get To Know This Part of You

Once you can get some openness and curiosity for this part extend it to the part that feels unworthy. Can they feel you there? If so, invite the part to share anything it would like to share with you. Some good questions include:

  • How old are you?

  • How old do you believe I am?

  • What are you afraid would happen if you did not feel unworthy?

  • Where did you get this belief?

  • Tell me more about where this belief came from?

  • Do you feel like I understand you? If not what else do you want me to know?

  • Continue to check in with this part getting to know it until it feels like you really understood, this may take a few sittings.

4. Witness and Build A Relationship

Continue to listen to and validate this part. You may need to continue to find and drop in with this part to get to know it better, to build more trust and understanding. If you start to feel like you are distant from the part or that you are frustrated, annoyed or angry with the part see if those parts will give you some space and reconnect with some openness in your heart and some curiosity.

5. Offer The Chance to Release the Burden

Once the parts of you that are connected to the burden of unworthiness feel understood and safe with you can offer them a chance to release it. They may wish to just experiment with releasing a little bit or maybe all of it or what they feel comfortable with now. This step only happens if all parts feel good with this. Check with all your parts and if you get a collective yes you can move forward, if not continue to get the parts that are opposed or have fears from an open heart.

You can offer the part to release it in any creative way or to use one of the elements like earth, air, water, or fire. Hold a compassionate container for them as they release this burden from their body and witness any other experiences that need to be witnessed and validated by you.

Once they have released some or all of their burden you can see what qualities they may want to invite in, qualities that might have been pushed out because they had to carry this burden. Listen and then invite in whatever they would like. Often its qualities like lightness, presence, love, playfulness, creativity, etc.

Doing this work alone can be a bit difficult, it's important to remember slower is faster. The more you can just sit with your parts from a place of presence and curiosity the more they will relax and open up. The more we push and have an agenda the more things will shut down. Committing to just showing up regularly and getting to know your parts will create more openness within you and space to not react to life but to respond.

Richard Schwartz has some free guided exercises to help you get to know parts. I also have some guided IFS meditations on my insight timer page. Richard Schwartz's book No Bad Parts is also a great way to get to know your parts.

You do not have to live with this burden forever, it is just a part of you that is holding it. You have the power and ability to help these parts. If you are ready for this next step you may also want to be guided by an Internal family systems therapist.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and visit my website for more info!


Kylie Feller, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Kylie Feller, M.A., is a registered clinical counsellor and life coach. She specializes in helping people understand and heal trauma while connecting them to their own innate healing force, their True Self. She believes that there is nothing people cannot heal and that all individuals can thrive and flourish if given the right formula. She has also launched an online program to help individuals navigate dating in a way that promotes greater growth and healing called, Swipe Right into Loving Yourself. She is a trained Internal Family Systems therapist, Empowerment Coach, Akashic Record Coach, Reiki Healer, and Yoga Teacher. She works with individuals one-on-one online helping them to access inner transformation so they can truly succeed in all levels of life.



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