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How Negative Self-Talk Affects You: Not Good Enough

Have you ever gone played out conversations in your head before? Or memories of events in which you wished you had done something differently? Or said something differently?

Or perhaps you’re in a conversation with your spouse and said something you wish you hadn’t. A fight ensues and you just feel like you can’t do things right.

You just feel like whatever you do is not good enough.

And once that negative self-talk takes hold, it can be hard to get it out of your head. Before you know it, you are responding to those messages through automatic coping behaviors.

Here are some of the typical responses to the negative message of “Not Good Enough.”

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #1 — Anxiety:

An increase of signs and symptoms of anxiety can follow negative self-talk of “You’re not good enough.” There is a fear that you may not be accepted by those around you.

The negative message of “not good enough” can lead to bouts of social anxiety, making it difficult to find motivation to leave the house.

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #2 — Sadness:

If you feel like you are not good enough, you will start feeling bad about who you are. It is likely some other negative thoughts enter into your mind.

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Why can’t I do what other people do?”

Or there is the comment that often comes up in marriage counseling. It’s the, “I’m not good enough to make you happy.”

You start comparing yourself to others and always seem to come up short.

And that develops a greater sense of sadness.

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #3 — Withdraw:

When a person has the negative self-talk of “not good enough,” they may attempt to back away to protect their feelings. People may withdraw or “shut down” in a conversation or from relationships.

Or they may back off from trying new projects at school or work. Building resilience can do wonders in helping a person push through this status.

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #4 — Give Up:

You toss your hands up in the air. What else are you supposed to do?

A person who does not feel like they are good enough in a relationship or at work can eventually reach a place where quitting feels like the only option. It feels better than to try again and open themselves for disappointment.

When you have the negative self-talk of not being good enough, you will eventually wear down.

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #5 — Anger:

One response to this negative self-talk is to experience anger. And this anger can look different for people.

For some, it is a quiet, smoldering anger. Others go into a rage. And some will look for someone — anyone — to blame.

Affect to Negative Self-Talk #6 — Perform for Others:

The idea of trying harder or working harder is a value in our western society. But what happens if it is the negative voice in your head saying, “You’re not good enough” rather than anyone else?

The drive to perform to a specific standard in every part of your life can be exhausting. Perfectionism is a tyrant and does not allow you to rest. Or to do things that would care for yourself.

And that is destructive on your self-value or self-worth. Because you will eventually need a break. We all do.


Negative self-talk can be so destructive. They do not help people reach their personal goals and are detrimental to mental and emotional health.

But you can take steps to silence those negative messages that play out in your head. One way is through practicing emotional self-regulation.

Another is by finding assistance from a professional counselor.

If you live in Tualatin, Lake Oswego, Portland, or anywhere in Oregon, Wellspace Counseling can help you get out of the negative message loop that plays in your head. You can find freedom and reach your goals of emotional and mental wellness.


Jason Wilkinson is helps couples, students, and professionals develop skills to improve the messages they send and receive. He is the owner of Wellspace Counseling, a mental health practice that serves the communities of Tualatin, Lake Oswego, & Portland. He is also able to help individuals and marriages throughout the state of Oregon through online counseling.


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