St. Louis Review

February 23, 2021

St. Louis psychotherapist Robert J. Furey wants people to know one thing: You are good enough. “You Are Good Enough: Overcoming Feelings of Inadequacy” is the title of a new book Furey wrote to be released next month. Furey, a member of Holy Redeemer Parish in Webster Groves, has been a Review columnist for a little more than half a decade. “It’s truly written for two populations,” Furey said in a recent interview with the Review. “Mainly for people who feel this way, who have lived with feelings of inadequacy to one degree or another. The other audience is for people like this. . . who never really understood them.” So what is inadequacy, anyway? “There’s all kinds of different words people use to describe this thing,” he said, including “shame.” “unworthiness,”. “It’s more of a feeling of upset for what I am. It’s not what I’ve done; it’s much deeper than that.” Furey noted that feelings of inadequacy can come on many different levels and at just about any stage in life, as well. “A lot of this begins early, when a person begins to feel bad about who they are,” he said. “But it can begin at any time in life.”  For example, Furey described in his book the case of “Susan,” a woman who was known as having a happy childhood but was diagnosed with bipolar later in life – an illness that has a history in her family. “The diagnosis forced her to change how she looked at herself,” Furey wrote. “No longer the perfect child whom everyone seemed to adore. . . . Now she questioned if she would be wanted anywhere.” The difficulty with approaching the topic of inadequacy is that many people who have these feelings, he said, tend to hide behind a mask. “They don’t want to let on, because they feel that if people knew … the real me, they wouldn’t accept me,” Furey said. Hiding true self from others can create problems with intimacy in relationships, Furey said. He referred to the old saying: “If you can’t love anyone else.” “That’s largely untrue, I believe,” he said. “Because a lot of people who feel poorly about themselves are wonderful people. They volunteer their time. They’re taking care of their neighbors.” What’s missing, he said, is the fact that people who feel inadequate hold back from sharing with others who they truly are. “That’s the part that really affects intimacy,” Furey said. “That also affects them asking for help.” Furey, who has been in the profession of psychotherapy for some 19 years, said that ultimately, “You Are Good Enough” is to help people see that, “look, you’re not alone.” The second half of the book is dedicated to helping people with getting beyond their feelings of inadequacy. “A lot of (people) don’t feel that there’s a solution to it,” Furey said. “The only way you get their attention is to say, ‘This is what you’re going through.’ The hope is, at that point they open the door, that maybe he can show us something about getting through it.” Furey helps readers to get over feelings of inadequacy by explaining what it feels like after they work through their feelings. “What I want it to do is to be a short, direct book that says, ‘These are some of the ways out of it, and this is what you can expect once you are out of it.’ You create an in-state that’s desirable enough to work toward.” But the complicating factor in getting over feelings of inadequacy is the complexity of the situation. “A very mild level of inadequacy can be healthy,” Furey said. “We want to be better Christians, better parents, better farmers. But in a healthy sense, that inadequacy says, ‘I want to be better at these things in my life.’” When the separation between who a person is and whom he would like to be frows wider and the over-compensation is still there, problems will develop, Furey said. “The problem is when you reach a certain point where it gets really severe, they start to give up completely.”

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