If you’re like most humans on Earth, you have times when you feel “not good enough.” Maybe it’s an occasional thing, or maybe it’s how you feel most times. In either case, when you’re feeling like you’re not good enough or wishing you were different – a better version of yourself – remember this: You are not alone in feeling that way. And you are not only good enough, but better than you realize. 

I’ll share a personal story that still affects me – one where I’m still learning from this single message. When I was much younger, still in high school and trying to figure out who I was in relation to others, I discovered something that turned things upside down for me. As an adult, it sticks with me as a reminder about how things can appear in the bigger picture.

I had always felt awkward, and I didn’t feel that I truly fit in with others. Rather than being open or connecting with others, I kept interactions at a surface level.

I was too fearful to let anyone know the real me.

So I threw myself into everything I could as a way to focus on anything but me. I joined the yearbook committee, community service committee, drama club, joined the track team, entered talent shows and sang my heart out, painted, and was near the top of my class academically. I dedicated myself until I excelled at everything I could attach myself to. You would think I felt amazing.

I thought that by excelling in outward activities, I could feel worthy and “good enough” for others’ attention.

The funny thing? I later learned that OTHERS viewed me as “standoffish” and they thought I was too good for them! Rather than endearing myself to others in trying to feel or be good enough at all (and still feeling inadequate), others were turned off or intimidated or unsure about connecting with me at all.

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar

Appearances matter – but not in the way you might think. I was “appearing” to be great and amazing and “good enough” by all the wrong standards. I projected an image of having it all together and being “successful” to my peers, when inside I felt entirely differently.

It’s great to strive to be the best version of YOU possible. But what I learned is that being authentically ME is what endears me to others (and myself). Loving myself – awkwardness, insecurities, triumphs, talents, challenges, and everything in between. Because we are not alone in feeling “not good enough.”

We connect more deeply with others when we trust that it’s okay to be honest about who we are. When we are fearless in our approach and embracing our own authenticity – good, bad, or mediocre – wherever we happen to be on a given day in that moment – and the next – every day.  You ARE good enough. And we are all works in progress.

Here’s a thought-provoking TedX Talk video about removing negative self-talk and increasing mindfulness:

 

STRATEGIES AND REMINDERS FOR CULTIVATING FEELING & BEING “GOOD ENOUGH”

Below are some strategies and reminders to help move you from thinking you are not good enough to realizing how amazing you truly are.

1. Nurture Your Inner Child

We first develop our identities as children. But if you were not loved and nurtured in a way that supported a healthy self-loving attitude and understanding, your inner child needs to be healed. Take some time to consider what your inner child needs as if he or she were a real child – sitting in front of you and needing love and encouragement. What would you say to that child? Give your inner child all of the love and care you would give to any child who needed it. By doing this, you are building the inner foundation you need to grow and shine most brightly.

2. When You Feel Not Good Enough, Remember: We Are All Works in Progress

When you see others you deem as “successful,” remember that appearances are not always what they seem. We generally see in others only what they project, so until you really connect with someone at deeper levels, surface assumptions are most often limited and incorrect. Refrain from comparing yourself to others and bring your attention back to yourself. Focusing on your own progress and choices will be more far effective and authentic.

3. Accept and Embrace Who You Are Today – In This Moment

In order to be the best version of ourselves, we first need to be honest about who we are today – right now. So strip it down to the core without illusions. Spend time thinking about who you are, what you value, and every little thing that makes you unique and special. Perfection is overrated. If we were all “perfect,” the world would be a very boring place. It’s our very imperfections that add character and delight others. So accept yours and own them without excuses!

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4. Rethink How You Define Yourself

As you think about how you define yourself, consider these thoughts as replacements for any outwardly-focused definitions or negative ones:

Spirit. Energy. Love. Limitless. Pure potential. Shining light. Fearless. Authentically ME.

When you use these strategies and reminders, you can more easily embrace your own authenticity and begin (or continue) your journey of self-discovery and self-love.

You ARE better than good enough – you are spirit – you are love – you are limitless!

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