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“We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of becoming our own worst enemies.” ~ Roderick Thorp
I see it everyday. Bight, smart, talented individuals walking in and out of my therapy room carrying the baggage of “not feeling good enough.”
I see them making choices, engaging in actions that are akin to digging a hole in the ground, and then willfully lying down in it and waiting for divine intervention to show up!
I do this at times too. But I know how to put a stop to this now.
When I wasn’t aware, I was perpetually living in this deep dark hole of misery where the only words that made sense to me were, “I’m not good enough for anything.”
The fact is that I wasn’t good enough in the conventional sense. I didn’t excel at anything. I struggled to fit it with my short height and weight issues. I was quiet and stuck to corners, wherever I could find them.
In comparison to the rest to the world around me, I had nothing to offer. I had talents that I never wanted to explore or express because I was afraid that I’d be judged and told that I’m not worth it.
I stayed in the shadows for as long as I could remember.
Over the course of years, I dug many such holes for myself because of the choices I made. I didn’t know what my authentic self was, and I ran after validation that in retrospect was pure nonsense.
Even today, this voice finds me at times and tries to pull me down, but I know better now! I’ve created more than enough spaces in my mind that are filled with a loud, assertive, confident voice that says, “I’m good enough and capable of more.” I still err, fall, get hurt, make rubbish decisions. However, I don’t tear myself apart now. I have learnt to be patient and kind to myself as much as possible.
And I have these conversations with people from diverse backgrounds every day. It seems as if we’re all cut out of the same cloth that says, “You’re not good enough.”
Either we’re wired to believe that we’re not enough because we’re not the same as others or can’t meet standards, or our mind just picked this up to close some gaps that weren’t making sense.
Whatever the reason may be, this voice that sometimes screams loudly in our hearts and minds or creeps in silently in our actions and choices is extremely annoying!
It just won’t let you step up and see you for who you are. It won’t let you appreciate your efforts, wins, and will constantly pull you down.
It will always find someone to compare you with and convince you that you’re no good. It makes sure that you don’t even look at yourself in the mirror, and if you do, it will make sure that you dissect every part of you.
I see people walking in and out as this half-baked version of their own selves, making a mess of their lives, settling for people and opportunities that are below their potential, and I see them justifying these things to their own selves.
Even if you want to move to the other side where you want to believe in your potential, abilities, individualities, and choices, this voice will make sure to remind you that you can’t do that because “Oh, that would be selfish!” or that it would mean that “You’re vain and overconfident.”
The ace that it has up its sleeve is that, “If you start thinking that you’re good enough and voice your opinions or take a stand then people will leave you.”
This voice tries to scare us and does a damn good job of it because we do in a way shut up and go about life in our usual ways—sticking to poor choices, justifying them, tolerating crap, settling, and telling ourselves that this is life or perhaps our destiny.
Over time, these stories become addictive, and as time passes, the struggle to change this becomes harder. And yes, for a lot of us, turning back becomes next to impossible.
If you find yourself struggling with this (i.e. your mind keeps reminding you in different ways that you’re not good enough, can’t handle anything, no one will ever love you, you’ll be left alone, and so on), then I have three questions for you:
How is holding onto this belief serving you?
What would become possible for you if you believed that you’re good enough?
Would you be willing to commit to making this new belief your reality?
If your answer to the third question is a big yes, then here are some things you can start doing to wriggle out of the grip of this “I’m not good enough” story:
1. Stand in front of the mirror and repeat to yourself, “I’m good enough” every day. Initially, it will feel odd, awkward, silly, and fake. However, it will start to feel normal after sometime.
2. Make a list of all the negative reminders that your mind keeps throwing up at you. For example: You can’t do it, you’ll always be alone, someone is better than you, you don’t deserve it, and so on. Remember that this is an automatic reminder that your mind has created to make sure that you stay exactly where you are and don’t grow. So whenever it pops up—tell your mind, “Thank you for reminding me,” and then do what you know is important and needs to be done. If you stop feeding this thought, it won’t grow!
3. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others, stop! Remind yourself that you are unique and have different skill sets and circumstances. Focus on your own growth instead of looking into other people’s lives! Look for inspiration and ideas, but stop finding ways to pull yourself down. It’s not worked for you anyway, so what’s the point of continuing?
4. Create an appreciation ritual for yourself. Whenever you do something good, difficult, important, or that simply makes you feel good make a note of it. Our minds are adept at focusing on crap. We need to train ourselves to look at the small victories, the brighter side of things, and we need to do it constantly.
5. Make a list of all your significant achievements and put them up where you can see them so that whenever your mind replays this “you’re not good enough” story, you can remind yourself of other more important things.
6. Create a care ritual for yourself. It could be switching off for some time, taking time off to read, indulging in your hobby, exercising, taking care of your skin, or taking a warm water bath at the end of the day. Such rituals serve as important reminders that you are important, good enough, and can take care of yourself. The benefits of these rituals slowly extend to other bigger areas of your life as your mindset begins to shift.
7. Make every small step count. Look at the changes you’re creating, efforts you’re making. The more you keep watering the seeds of self-appreciation, the more they’ll grow.
8. Remember that believing that you are important or good enough doesn’t mean you have become selfish or vain. How you choose to behave with others will always be a choice. It simply means that you have ground to stand on—one that is stable, reliable, and fertile enough to let you grow.
Only if you believe that you are good enough will you be at ease with who you are and able to improve wherever you need to. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck.
Even if life throws the world’s most amazing opportunities and people your way, you will not be able to do justice to them. Something will always be missing and that will always be you.
And just like Rome wasn’t built in day, your ideas about yourself won’t take a 360-degree turn just like that.
You’ll need to be patient and consistent.
Can you do that?
“When you need something to believe in, start with yourself.” ~ Ella Wright