Feeling inferior? Like you can’t compete? Like you’re not good enough? We all know the feeling.
It’s common to feel this way if someone’s broken up with you. But it’s not just in relationships. High-performing individuals (e.g., Olympic athletes) have moments of low self-esteem, as do many, many seemingly successful people (it’s often referred to as ‘imposter syndrome.’)
Pop stars are no strangers to bouts of insecurity either. The music industry is hugely competitive, full of people (record label execs, even fans) saying “thanks, but no thanks.”
So, here’s a collection of the best songs about not being good enough. They will remind you that you are good enough and that you don’t need any validation from parents, teachers, bosses, judges, friends, or anyone else!
You’re a unique snowflake, and the world needs you that way 🙂
- ‘Perfect’ – Alanis Morissette
- ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ – Bon Iver
- ‘Perfect’ – Simple Plan
- ‘Pretty Hurts’ – Beyoncé
- ‘Wish I Was Better’ – Kina and Yaeow
- ‘Good Enough’ – Jussie Smollett (Empire Cast)
- ‘You Say’ – Lauren Daigle
- ‘Cry Pretty’ – Carrie Underwood
- ‘Creep’ – Radiohead
- ‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’ – Pink
- ‘Good Enough’ – Little Mix
- ‘Numb’ – Linkin Park
- ‘Sitting, Waiting, Wishing’ – Jack Johnson
‘Perfect’ – Alanis Morissette
In this song, Alanis Morissette depicts a typical pushy parent who lives out their own (often unfulfilled) lives through their children. But the child is never quite good enough.
‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ – Bon Iver
When another person’s feelings have faded, there’s nothing much you can do. You feel helpless and can’t help thinking if there’s more you could have done – often there isn’t, it’s not your fault at all. This unrequited love song was written by Bonnie Raitt but covered here brilliantly by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon.
‘Perfect’ – Simple Plan
Often one of the most challenging relationships is between a child and their dad. You don’t measure up to the person they hoped you were. But honestly, once you hit a certain age that’s their issue, not yours. You are you’re own person, and not ‘the property’ of your parents.
‘Pretty Hurts’ – Beyoncé
Society often makes women, especially younger women, feel like they don’t look pretty enough and need to attain ‘physical perfection.’ Beyoncé shines a light on this, stating, “perfection is the disease of a nation.”
‘Wish I Was Better’ – Kina and Yaeow
Here’s a song about a guy who’s owning up to the mistakes he’s made (we never find out what, but one assumes he’s cheated) but admits he’s still in love with the person he’s been unfaithful to.
‘Good Enough’ – Jussie Smollett (Empire Cast)
Another song from the first season of the Empire series is about coming up short in your parent’s estimations. It reaffirms what we knew all along: you are good enough, whatever your parents think.
‘You Say’ – Lauren Daigle
If you follow the Christian faith, you’ll know you’re always good enough in God’s eyes. In this song, Lauren Daigle sings about being accepted by God, even though she falls short.
‘Cry Pretty’ – Carrie Underwood
Do you know what’s great sometimes? That’s to share how you’re feeling with someone you trust (a close friend, a therapist, etc.). We keep our emotions locked up so tight (“keeping a brave face”) that when we open up, it’s a total release.
‘Creep’ – Radiohead
If you’ve ever faced rejection, this song should ring true. It’s a song about being obsessed with someone of the opposite sex but feeling wholly inadequate to do anything about it.
‘Don’t Let Me Get Me’ – Pink
In this anthem of self-loathing by Pink, she’s sick and tired of her own “worst enemy” (herself.) It’s not actually a song about hating yourself; it’s about hating certain sides of yourself (namely, the skin-deep, vain, shallow side of you that we all carry around if we don’t keep it in check.) It’s one of Pink’s most popular songs.
‘Good Enough’ – Little Mix
Here’s a song about being manipulated by your partner, who’s taken up with somebody else right in front of your very eyes. It destroyed the narrator’s confidence, who can only lament how she’s “the future you lost in the past.”
‘Numb’ – Linkin Park
‘Numb’ captures the feeling of inadequacy better than almost any song on this list. Singer Chester Bennington struggled with depression and substance abuse in his tragically short life. His lyrics are often brutally honest and have won him legions of fans.
‘Sitting, Waiting, Wishing’ – Jack Johnson
This classic waiting for you song by chilled singer-songwriter Jack Johnson is a message to his friend who was obsessed with getting a girl. His message is to stop getting so hung up, “if I was in your position, I’d put down all my ammunition.”
Recommended: Our selection of the finest Jack Johnson songs.