Do you ever ask yourself “Am I good enough”? Many of us become masters of creating negative stories that we play on repeat in our heads. The kick in the teeth is we don’t even realise they’re negative, such is their impact on our psyche. I saw an Instagram meme just the other day that suggested these stories are akin to conspiracy theories. That is to say, there may be little or no evidence to prove them one way or the other, and yet they can feel very real and compelling. It made me smile at first then suddenly I recalled how horrible it is when you tumble headlong down that awful rabbit hole of self-doubt. I hated the feeling of not being good enough. It literally made me feel sick.
Stronger Not Easier
This has been a huge personal struggle for me. It’s something I’ve worked on over the years and, I’m happy to say, my experience of it has changed as a result. Of course, it still resurfaces from time to time. I’d love to say it gets easier. Truth is it’s more a case of getting better at dealing with it and learning to spot the signals earlier so I can shut it down real quick. On one hand, I focus on being grateful for everything that I am and have right now. On the other (like all life-long learners) I am on this quest to do more, be more, achieve more. I don’t want to ever stop learning and growing.
I try to focus on being grateful for everything that I am and have right now
We spend so much time in our own heads alone with our thoughts and feelings. Lucky for us that’s the one place where true narratives are created and made sense of. So be careful who and what cohabits there; in this most precious of spaces. Especially those false narratives that tell us: “Once I do “so and so”, I’ll be enough. You can literally replace “so and so” with any number of arbitrary aspirations: lose weight; make more money; have a successful job or business; buy this house; buy that car; get married. In fact, you can take your pick from any number of goals and aspirations that promise to make us feel better than we already do.
Where’s the Joy?
Truth is we’re externally programmed to either desire more, or face being branded one of life’s losers. Complete with a letter “L”, formed with the thumb and forefinger gesturing before our forehead. Once we achieve the summit of one arbitrary milestone, it’s not long before another emerges beyond a new horizon. And on we must go. Just think about your past accomplishments. Do you remember the joy of them? The sense of discovery? Finding love? Holding your child in your arms? Laughing out loud? Or were you too busy focusing on what’s next? Don’t worry, you’re probably not alone in all this and, almost certainly, are not in control of the debilitating narrative.
So why the hell do we fall for this “I am not good enough” bullshit? I honestly don’t know. I suspect it mainly starts with the fact that we tend to compare ourselves to other people rather than seeking to understand them, and ourselves in the process. That’s equally true for the homeless person we pass in the street as it is for the stars and role models we look up to. This being the case, shouldn’t we be asking the question: “not good enough according to whom?”
In this day and age, social media plays a huge part in the answer to that particular question, and there is, without doubt, some yet unresolved ethical issues concerning the ever-expanding role of technology in our life. So whenever we do fall into the trap of making comparisons, the “game” is usually rigged against us. We end up comparing our own sense of self with someone else’s impossibly “perfect” Instagram life. And one thing is for sure; nothing good can come from this sort of dysfunctional behaviour (but that’s a topic for another time … and another blog). This piece is about being ok about being vulnerable, and therefore growth.