13 Songs About Not Being Good Enough
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Feel like you’re never good enough?
You may have experienced being in a toxic relationship, where a narcissistic partner tried to diminish your sense of self-worth.
Or maybe you have had to work hard for your family’s approval of your life decisions.
Perhaps it’s your own thoughts that say you’re a phony, despite your achievements. Maybe you fear that others will find out that you are a fraud. (A clinical term for this is impostor syndrome, which is discussed in this post.)
As it turns out, you’re not alone.
People from all walks of life—even the most successful people—have had times where they felt they weren’t good enough.
Today’s article features a collection of songs about not being good enough. Our goal is to help you realize that this feeling is experienced not just by ordinary people, but even those who are recognized as great successes by society.
We hope that, through these tracks, you’ll be encouraged to fearlessly love yourself more.
Let’s check them out.
What You Will Learn
- 1. Perfect, Simple Plan
- 2. Being Good Isn't Good Enough, Barbra Streisand
- 3. Perfect, Alanis Morissette
- 4. Pretty Hurts, Beyoncé
- 5. Good Enough (Empire OST), Jussie Smollett
- 6. I Wish I Were You, Alisha's Attic
- 7. You Say, Lauren Daigle
- 8. Invisible, Skylar Grey
- 9. Unpretty, TLC
- 10. Every Little Thing, Dishwalla
- 11. They Just Keep Moving the Line (SMASH OST), Megan Hilty
- 12. Chasing Pavements, Adele
- 13. Wish I Could Be Her, K. Michelle
- Final Thoughts
1. Perfect, Simple Plan
via Atlantic Records
“And now I try hard to make it. I just wanna make you proud. I'm never gonna be good enough for you. Can't pretend that I'm alright.”
Some people grow up in families where the parents have extreme expectations of success for their kids.
They may end up putting pressure on the kids and making them feel bad if they don’t measure up to these standards.
Since its release in 2003, this song has become an anthem for those who do not feel supported by their parents.
2. Being Good Isn't Good Enough, Barbra Streisand
via Barbra Streisand
“Being good isn't good enough. Being good won't be good enough. When I fly, I must fly extra high. And I'll need special wings so far to go, from so far below.”
If you’re the type of person who sets high standards for yourself, you might relate to this track from Barbra Streisand.
Sometimes, the drive to always produce excellent work comes from an underlying fear that what one does might not be good enough.
Rather than enjoying the process of creating something, you always worry that someone will think that the work you produce is inadequate.
This is a reminder to cut yourself some slack.
3. Perfect, Alanis Morissette
“Be a good girl. You've gotta try a little harder. That simply wasn't good enough to make us proud.”
Here is another song about not measuring up to parental approval.
In Perfect, Alanis Morissette sings of times when a person feels that he or she has to earn the love of their parents.
It’s a heartbreaking song that helps us realize that a lot of people are made to feel inadequate. What’s most heartbreaking is that, often, the people who make us feel that way are the ones who are closest to us.
4. Pretty Hurts, Beyoncé
“Blonder hair, flat chest. TV says, “bigger is better”. South beach, sugar free. Vogue says, “thinner is better”.”
In this song, Beyoncé shows us how mass media shapes our perception of beauty. Because of this, many of us feel that we don’t measure up.
Sadly, in a bid to be accepted, there are some people who take drastic measures. It takes courage to be yourself and live free from the impossible standards set by the media.
5. Good Enough (Empire OST), Jussie Smollett
“I just want you to look at me, and see that I can be worth your love. I just want you to look at me, and see that I can be good enough…”
This official soundtrack from the Empire series is about the strained relationship between a father and son. Jussie Smollett’s on-screen father has issues with Smollett’s character being gay.
This song expresses Smollett’s character’s pain and frustration at the rejection he receives from his father.
If you have ever been made to feel that you’re not good enough, this song will likely resonate with you.
6. I Wish I Were You, Alisha's Attic
“I wish I were you. I wish I could wear your shoes. I wish I could think from your brain. I wish I were you. Yes I do.”
Sometimes we encounter someone we perceive as being the epitome of perfection. We feel inferior and wish we could be like them and receive the attention that they get from others.
7. You Say, Lauren Daigle
via Lauren Daigle
“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I'm not enough. Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.”
For those who experience impostor syndrome, it can sometimes be very difficult to recognize their own brilliance. There will always be a negative, self-deprecating thought that shoots down any good feelings they get from their achievements.
This song is about the incredible feeling of having someone remind you that you are a wonderful person.
I sincerely hope that you have a person like that in your life: someone who appreciates your beauty and helps you discover your own brilliance.
8. Invisible, Skylar Grey
via Skylar Grey
“Even when I'm walking on a wire. Even when I set myself on fire. Why do I always feel invisible, invisible? Every day I try to look my best. Even though inside I'm such a mess. Why do I always feel invisible, invisible?”
This song describes how some people feel, walking around thinking that they’re not good enough.
To them, they feel invisible. No matter what they do or what effort they make, it seems like no one is paying attention.
9. Unpretty, TLC
“You can buy your hair if it won't grow. You can fix your nose if he says so. You can buy all the makeup that M. A. C. can make. But if you can't look inside you. Find out who am I to be in the position that make me feel so d**n unpretty…”
This song is about casting off the feeling that you are not good enough and discovering that you are worth far more than what others make you believe.
If you’re looking for a song that blasts self-doubt out of the water, then you might want to consider adding this track from TLC to your playlist.
10. Every Little Thing, Dishwalla
“But I get the strangest feeling that you've gone away. Will you find out who you are too late to change? I wish I could be every little thing you wanted. All the time. I wish I could be every little thing you wanted all the time. Sometimes.”
It’s a sad reality that some people get stuck with toxic people who diminish their sense of self-worth. This song is about that kind of relationship.
11. They Just Keep Moving the Line (SMASH OST), Megan Hilty
“So talent and ambition won me a chance to shine. I aced the big audition. But it's rainin' on Cloud Nine. Can't beat the competition. ‘Cause they just keep moving the line.”
You can really hear Megan Hilty’s frustration as she sings this single from the SMASH series. It’s about never being able to win because the standards are always being changed.
12. Chasing Pavements, Adele
“Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere. Or would it be a waste? Even if I knew my place should I leave it there? Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements? Even if it leads nowhere.”
Here is another song about being treated poorly in a toxic relationship.
In this song, the person is wondering whether they should give up their dignity and continue with the relationship, or if it is finally time to walk away and regain their sense of self-worth.
13. Wish I Could Be Her, K. Michelle
“I wish that I could be her. She's the one that makes you smile… And I wish that I could meet her. She's the one who has your heart.”
Finally, here is a song about wishing you were the person that your partner or object of affection is in love with.
It tells the painful story of a partner’s actions when interacting with the “other” person, and seeing them so happy that you begin to wish you were the other woman.
There will be instances in life when you’ll be made to feel inadequate. To counter this, it is important to learn to love yourself
Self-love leads to self-acceptance, which brings awareness of your own strengths, limitations, and dreams. This is a powerful force that helps you walk away from any situation where you’re made to feel you’re not good enough.
We hope you are inspired by this collection of songs about not being good enough. May they serve as a reminder that you are not alone in feeling this way.
For more resources on self-love, check out the following posts:
In addition, you might want to visit any of the following posts for articles about songs for specific topics: