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“Oh, but I need to do more!”
“What I do isn’t enough.”
“I think I am the problem.”
“Something is missing in me.”
“I need to push myself harder or else people will leave me.”
“I must make everyone happy.”
“I don’t matter enough.”
And the list of such thoughts and statements that we keep repeating to ourselves just goes on increasing when we truly, deeply, wholeheartedly believe that we are not good enough.
We don’t even realise the heavy cost that this belief extracts until it has completely broken us. Then, we are forced to examine the way we’ve lived our life, approached our relationships, and most importantly, treated ourselves and let others treat us.
While this belief will ensure that we are hyper-attuned to the needs and desires of those around us, it completely disconnects us from our own self. It keeps us captive in a self-created prison where the only way we know how to survive is by pleasing others.
And I use the word captive because in doing so, we’re not even happy or content. We’re doing this because that’s all we know. Focusing on others is the only way we know how to feel valued and worthy because irrespective of what we believe, we actually want to feel that we’re good enough.
It’s just that we don’t know how because we were never told or made to believe that we are. Our internal compass that is centered and points us in our own direction never really got created. Hence, we learnt to turn to the external world to feed us whatever it could so that we could feel satiated.
“You will never be good enough for anyone else if you are not good enough for yourself first.” ~ Anonymous
But in this way, we stay stuck, dependent, and actually unfulfilled. When we are unaware of this gap within us, not only do we feel we’re not enough, but whatever people are offering us doesn’t feel enough as well.
It shows up in our relationships and interactions in the following ways:
1. You constantly worry that your partner will leave you or the relationship won’t last. This is especially when there’s a conflict, your partner expresses some displeasure or disappointment, or when you’ve made a mistake.
2. You view every complaint or concern as a reflection of your effort and keep telling yourself to do more to make your partner happy.
3. You are conflicted. At times you think of leaving the relationship because you worry that you won’t be enough for them, and at times you engage in relationship-sabotaging behavior in a bid to push them away.
4. You feel like you’re always walking on eggshells around your partner, fearing that something will go wrong or you’ll mess up in some way.
5. You keep justifying your partner’s shortcomings or behaviors that are actually unacceptable for you because you firmly believe that between the two of you, it’s only you who’s not good enough. You keep trying to rescue them as a measure of your worth.
6. You are always ready with an apology even if you think you are justified.
7. You at times end up behaving like a pseudo-parent in your relationship because taking extra care of your partner, being responsible for them, makes you feel good enough.
8. You think that your life will have no meaning and you won’t be able to even survive without your partner and this is not because you’re passionately in love with them. It is because deep down you fear being alone and don’t trust yourself enough to take charge of your own life.
9. You can’t even assess whether you’re genuinely happy in your relationship or not.
10. If the relationship is genuinely making you unhappy, you will still continue to stay in it and tolerate stuff because you think you are unlovable and you won’t ever find anyone else.
11. You are too focused on what your partner thinks about you and need constant validation from them.
12. Even when your partner is doing things for you—making genuine efforts—they too don’t feel enough. The way you’re critical and unappreciative of your own self, you do the same to them. Thus, making them also feel that they’re not enough.
Hence, you make your partner the center of your universe. You keep stretching your limits, overcompensate, tolerate crap, get filled with anger and resentment, or ignore and negate their genuine efforts for you and still keep the cycle going.
This belief is a bottomless pit. The only way out with it is actually finding the way within (i.e. cementing it with the belief that “I am good enough”).
Entering and staying in relationships with this inherent lack of self is like always being on a roller coaster. The minute you do something that makes you feel good enough, this lack will pull you down—thus, forcing yourself to engage in some pleasing, suppressing, or rescuing pattern that will give you a momentary high before you get the next downward pull.
Then, it’s about getting off this roller coaster completely and learning to cement this bottomless pit with a voice that says: “I am enough,” “I am lovable and loved,” and “I respect and value myself” so that you do feel loved, valued, and respected in your relationship.
That comes with acknowledging where this belief came from, the impact it’s had and has on you, and understanding that it’s not that you aren’t good enough, but this belief isn’t good enough for you.
Then, you begin to heal.
Will it take time? Yes.
Will it be easy? No.
Will it be worth it? Totally!
To change your life, change the voice within.
“You are enough because you did or said or thought or bought or became or created something special, but because you always were.” ~ Anonymous