On Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy

BY: Jess Proulx

Here is the scene. It is 1:30 in the afternoon. I rose at 6 am, fed the cat, made coffee, did my meditation, checked my email and social media accounts, worked, had a meeting with my partner, made breakfast (a delicious one: breakfast tacos on almond wraps with grilled peppers and onions and my favorite hot sauce), put some more work in, got off a networking meeting, made lunch, ate, and it all went to shit.

I did more by lunchtime than many people do in an entire day. But for whatever reason, my heart sank. All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I wasn’t good enough. My work was meaningless and getting me nowhere. I couldn’t see a clear picture of the tasks at hand. I felt like there would be no way to get anything done in the time it needed to be done. I was overwhelmed and genuinely (albeit temporarily) unhappy. 

Those feelings pop up from time to time. For some, it is a constant nagging voice. For others, like me, it comes in temporary, unexpected waves. So unexpected in fact that it hits on a day that is perfectly productive and easy.

Those overwhelming feelings often bring out the parts of me that I have worked so hard on over the years. I tend to get moody and snappy. Sometimes I just feel like I want to give up and will close my laptop and shut down.  I will seclude myself; go quiet. And quiet is certainly not in my nature.


I help people every day learn how to be better connected with themselves, their feelings, and their spirit. And yet, even for me, these moments can be a struggle.

I teach and study yoga and meditation. I help people every day learn how to be better connected with themselves, their feelings, and their spirit. And yet, even for me, these moments can be a struggle. The world starts to spin and it seems impossible to reset and restart.

Over the last year, I began a new business that was in my industry and completely outside of my industry all at the same time. Things that I thought would translate haven’t and I had to learn new languages, new ways of organizing my life, new strategies and tactics, and had to make friends with quite a bit of failure.  Through all of the confusion and discomfort, I learned some new coping strategies and ways of working through these big changes in a healthy way.

  1. Breathe. I think everything I write starts with this. Hazard of the job. But take a breath. Get up, walk away, and take a breath. Better yet, take 3 minutes to breathe. Set a timer, sit in a comfortable place or go outside, and take long but easy breaths for 3 minutes. The clarity it will bring you is undeniable.
  2. Take a look in the rearview mirror. Look backward! Yup, I said it. I will go against everything I teach about being present and tell you to look back. Look at all you have done. All you have accomplished. Everything you have been through and achieved to be in that particular moment! My partner put it to me like this: “It is like you are on the 20-yard line feeling like it will be impossible to make it those next 20 yards, but you just need to look over your shoulder and recognize the 80 that you’ve already completed”. I don’t jive with the football lingo- but it was a darn good analogy!
  3. A manageable to-do list. Make a short list of the most pressing things you need to attend to. A real list on a piece of paper. Old school. Not the “I need to completely reconfigure all the SEO on the backend of my website” type of stuff, but the “return the email from my accountant” sort of thing. Choose things that you can cross off, that will take off some weight, and will create the space later to give those big things the attention that they deserve.
  4. Show some compassion. Say “I’m sorry” and “I love you”. I know it can feel corny but energetically there is something very powerful about speaking these very important words. Not to your co-workers. Not to your family. But to yourself. “I’m sorry that I was so hard on you, I know that you are doing your best”. “I love you”. “I’m proud of you”.

You take the time to recognize the negative self-talk and replace it with something positive, something rewarding, and something that, in that moment, needs to be genuine and real.

We are only humans living a human experience and I don’t know about you, but I think being human is hard work! Planning doesn’t work. Anger doesn’t work. Shutting down doesn’t work. But love, that works every time.  So does forgiveness.

Do them both, often!

So, take a breath, remember how far you’ve come, do one little thing at a time, and shower yourself with the love you deserve.

Jess and her staff have led yoga and meditation retreats and teacher training around the globe: Costa Rica, Thailand, Belize, Sedona, and among the big trees of Northern California to name a few. You can check out the latest Costa Rica Retreat here .