Let’s get this out of the way, the phrase “I’m not good enough” is a lie.
Let me tell you from the bottom of my heart if this is how you feel, my heart aches for you because I have been there… and sometimes I still feel that way. I understand how easy it is to subconsciously start to believe this lie and I understand how easy it is to accept as your truth. That doesn’t make it any less of a false statement.
Our motivations, achievements, insecurities, and fears often attach themselves to this notion of being ‘enough’. In a world where we are in need of constant approval to determine our self-worth, it’s almost a part of the normalized equation. We grasp on to external, socially defined goals (whatever that may be for you) and tell ourselves that when we reach “X”, “I’ll be enough”. We pursue a goal with no other reason but to achieve something. That’s the transaction we are taught to believe. But, as I think you know, that feeling of fulfillment (the enough-ness) never comes. The goal is set, you reach said goal, move on to the next one. The bar moves. Constantly.
Maybe you got the job you’ve always wanted, you passed the exam, you went on your dream vacation, you made it to the explore page on Instagram, you finally got that guy’s attention, you found stability in a great group of friends…but it’s still not enough. The fact is, you’ve worked hard to get where you are, everything is going right, you should feel like it’s enough. Yet, here we are telling ourselves, “The only reason why it doesn’t feel right is because I’m not enough. That has to be it, right?”
So, if we are all experiencing this, why is it a problem? Besides the obvious fact that it feels pretty terrible to believe this about ourselves, believing “I’m not enough” is a problem because we end up unconsciously operating from this place. The good news? There is a way out, and it starts with these simple reminders followed by small actions that eventually add up to improved self-worth and the awareness that, yes…YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Giving your all doesn’t mean you have to do it all.
You’re allowed to pace yourself. The guilt and stress you place on yourself are going to do more damage than saying “no” or “not right now” ever will. If you are constantly measuring yourself up to a standard you or someone else has set, you will constantly be chasing happiness without ever fully being satisfied.
Try setting reasonable boundaries for your work, social, or health related obligations and appreciate the things you have accomplished, however small they may be.
Every day may not be good but there is good in every day.
Even though your life is overwhelming right now, it is still just as beautiful and accomplished as your most perfect days. You don’t have to be “on” all the time. In fact, you shouldn’t be! Sometimes we need to experience the “lows” to appreciate the “highs”. Some of the best moments are made apparent to us when we experience painful or hard seasons.
Try writing down little moments you experience on a note in your phone or in the margins in your planner when they happen. Check in with it at the end of the day, or even the end of the week, and remind yourself that even on the most mundane or stressful days, there is still good.
Everyone won’t see the value in what you create, that doesn’t mean it’s not meaningful.
Your successes are yours to define. Not everyone is going to think the same way you do, it’s just a fact of life. You will find that some of the accomplishments you feel proud of don’t get the same reaction from others, and that can be a real downer (if you let it be). If you are proud of something you have done, created, thought, said, realized, whatever it is… BE PROUD. Shout it from the mountain tops! It’s not what others think that give those things meanings, you do.
Try to honor yourself by showing your boldness to others. Don’t ask for feedback, or even expect it, just put it out there. Whether it is something artistic, a thought, an idea, or new found talent, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be proud of who you are and what you have done. Some people can get intimidated by the fearlessness and vulnerability of others, don’t let that stop you.
Your best is enough.
Your value is not attached to what you accomplish. You are doing the best you can with what you have been given and that is something to be extremely proud of. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, if today you have given your all and you’ve taken a step forward, that is enough. You are enough.
Try writing yourself a love letter. Yes, you read that right. List out the things you admire about who you are aside from any merit-based accolade you’ve been given. Need help? Ask a friend you can confide in, maybe you can both do this with each other and help someone else notice how much they truly are valued too.
You belong here just as much as anyone else.
Read that again.
…okay just one more time.
Rinse and repeat.
If no one has told you recently, let me just chime in to your life for a second and truly tell you, you are so incredibly important. You belong in this world and you were created to do wonderful things that only you are capable of. Your place in this world is right where you are. Yeah, right there, where you are right this very second. There is a reason you are here. Even if you don’t see it right now, you’re still allowed to take up space
Try taking up space. Be unapologetically yourself. Clichés aside, if you ever feel like the people, environments, or objects around you are making you feel small or “less-than”, it’s time to cut that out of your life and move into a space where you can root down and grow. Think, hermit crabs…. yeah, I went there. As a hermit crab grows, it’s forced to find a new shell. During that transition the crab is particularly vulnerable, but it is necessary for it to continue on with life. We aren’t much different. As we grow, we are also forced to change. Each season of transition comes with its own challenges and might leave us feeling especially vulnerable (which is when we tend to sink into the background), but I challenge you to keep taking up space. YOU BELONG.