The millennials or those born between 1981 and 1996 have an edge over other generations, particularly in terms of technological proficiency, level of education, innovation and creativity, and adaptability. However, a new survey comprising 2,000 millennials ages 22-38 found a troubling statistic: eight in ten millennials believe they’re not good enough in almost all areas of their lives.
Millennials feeling not good enough
The survey conducted by OnePoll shows that three quarter or 75% of millennial respondents admit they feel constantly overwhelmed by pressure to succeed in their careers, meet other’s expectations, and find meaningful romantic relationships, published Study Finds.
Seven in 10 millennials also say the daily chores, such as maintaining a presence on social media, going to the gym, and making enough money, are some of the top reasons why they feel overwhelmed. Overall, 80% of them said these concerns have negatively impacted their sleep and 79% admitted it has affected their overall mental health.
Social media culture and millennials
Most of the millennial respondents feel not good enough roughly 130 times every year. It is possible that the present social media culture, which puts appearance and status over everything else, is to blame for this troubling trend among millennials. For instance, many respondents say they feel pressured to buy some property as soon as possible, stay up to date with the latest fashion trends, own a nice car, and walk at least 10,000 steps daily. There are also other mundane responsibilities they mentioned, including making new friends, eating enough vegetables and fruits, maintaining an active social life, and staying on top of their everyday commitments.
Some 75% of respondents, however, said that their effort to succeed in life created an adverse effect on their personal relationships. But what are the sources of all these pressures? More than 25% of them answered it’s their parents while some cite social media. Another 17% said their friends and peers are causing them the most pressure. Yet, OnePoll found around 50% of respondents said the pressure comes from within, which means that they are routinely placing an unfair amount of pressure on themselves to succeed in life. About 82% of millennial women and 73% of men also reported dealing with self-esteem issues.
Nuna Alberts, LCSW, who is not involved in the survey, said it is normal for people to question whether they measure up to something or they feel momentarily incompetent. For most of us, these feelings of insufficiency and insecurity are highly occasional and situational. However, those with inferiority complex respond differently when major events cause their self-doubt to flare. They would call themselves names, believe that their intense self-criticism is reasonable, and lament on their shortcomings. Such a cycle is deeply rooted that it could consistently hold them back professionally and personally.
Signs that a person has an inferiority complex is having a collection of negative feelings, thoughts, tendencies, and behaviors. It includes repetitively focusing on upsetting thoughts, withdrawing from family members, colleagues, or coworkers, shutting down out of shame, embarrassment, or guilt, and demeaning others as a way to transfer their feelings of failure and isolation.
Millennials have more “friends” than ever. Thanks to social media. Yet, it seems ironic that the same generation also has trouble with loneliness as found by a YouGov poll. Millennials (30%) report feeling lonely much more than Generation X (20%) and Baby boomers (15%). The social media generation is also more likely than older generations to report they have no acquaintances, no friends, no best friends, and no close friends. In the US, the most common reasons why people find it difficult to make friends are shyness (53%), they don’t feel like they need friends (27%), they don’t have any interests or hobbies that facilitate friendships (26%), they believe friendships are too much work (20%), their current city or area doesn’t have a lot of people they would want to be friends with (19%), they’re too busy for friendships (14%), and they recently moved to a new city or area and haven’t found friends there (11%). Nevertheless, friendships are still forged despite the perceived obstacles.
Millennials’ mode of self-expression
In Pew Research Center’s social and demographic trends, it shows that millennials are more racially and ethnically diverse than older adults. Furthermore, they are less likely to have served in the military and less religious compared to other generations. However, they are on track to become the most educated generation in US history. Millennials also embrace the following modes of self-expression: creating a social media profile, posting a video online, and having a tattoo.
In modern times, the millennials’ priorities are being a good parent (52%), having a successful marriage (30%), owning a home (20%), living a very religious life (15%), having a high-paying career (15%), having lots of free time (9%), and becoming famous (1%). The Pew Research survey was based on US adults ages 18-29.
How to feel good enough
Marcia Reynolds, PsyD., the author of two leadership books, The Discomfort Zone and Wander Woman, shared tips on how to feel good enough. She cited lessons from the book Eat, Pray, and Love. “Be kind to yourself, especially now. You must give yourself unconditional self-friendship.” Reynolds believes it is a simple truth that the world needs to hear over and over again.
How much time do you spend comparing yourself to others, to the dreams that never came true, and to the success in your past? Is there a way you can stop it? she asked. One technique she advised is putting oneself in an observation mode, especially when you are angry about someone else’s success, ashamed or embarrassed about not achieving more or succeeding, unhappy or distressed when thinking of your inadequacies, hating the world that gives others advantages over you, and resigning yourself to being less worthy.
Understand your reaction to the situation, analyze the source of your emotions, and then fill your body with positive emotions. The serotonin and dopamine released when you are grateful, excited, proud, happy, and compassionate can change your opinions and your spirit too.
Life can get a little too much sometimes and it is easy for one to get overwhelmed. But it is important to stop the spiral of negative self-judgment. Forgive yourself for the shortcomings and tell yourself that this too shall pass. Lastly, shift your attention to something good and one that will help you feel valued.