“I’m just not good enough”
How often have you said that to yourself when you’ve struggled with a task or things haven’t gone your way? Or maybe it’s a label you carry around with you every day?
But what is it to be good enough?
You may have had a productive day yesterday, and so you ‘reward’ yourself for being ‘good enough’, but today was a different story…. You didn’t get much sleep last night, the kids were playing up this morning, you burnt the toast for breakfast… all of this meant you were cranky and tired and didn’t get as much done as you’d have liked, so you ‘punish’ yourself for not being ‘good enough’.
The outcome of both days may have been different, but if you take into account all the things that happened today, you were ‘good enough’, just as you were yesterday – it’s just the circumstances that were different.
Maybe all you could do yesterday was get out of bed and sit on the couch – that was your ‘good enough’ for yesterday. But maybe today, even getting out of bed was too much to manage – that was your ‘good enough’ for today.
This time, the differing circumstances could have been anything from being in physical pain, feeling emotionally drained, or just generally not being in the mood to get up!
‘Good enough’ doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It’s a non-judgemental acceptance that what you do, or who you are, is ‘enough’, whatever the circumstances.
And, as we’ve seen in the examples above, one day’s ‘good enough’ may be different to another day’s ‘good enough’.
Our concept of being good enough (or not) comes from judging ourselves against a set of criteria based on expectations (either our own or other people’s). It’s like we have a checklist in our head, and it’s only if we can tick off all the boxes on the list, that we deem ourselves to be good enough. If not, then we declare ourselves to be not good enough.
But what if you feel you’re not ticking any of the ‘good enough’ boxes?
Then it’s time to closely examine what is on your checklist (a counsellor can help you do this, if it feels too much to do by yourself). Ask yourself:
- Why is it on the list? What purpose does it serve?
- Who added it to the list? Was it you or someone else (e.g. parent, teacher, friend, society)?
- Could it be changed so it allows different circumstances to be taken into account (e.g. a particular situation, emotional state, physical health, etc.)?
- Does it need to be on the list at all?
This can be a long, and sometimes painful, process, so take your time with it, and remember to look after yourself and offer yourself kindness, forgiveness and understanding throughout – and always ask for support if it feels too much.
It may not always feel like it, but whoever you are, whatever you look like, whatever the situation, you are good enough. No exceptions!
If you have any comments on this post, I’d love to hear from you, either by posting a comment below or by contacting me privately via my contact me page.