When people feel like they are not good enough, they harm themselves inadvertently. This harm can look like not taking care of their hygiene, not eating healthy, not exercising, or by pushing others away. In more severe cases, it can be substance abuse, suicidal ideation, self-harm, binging, addictions, or allowing others to take advantage of you.
Being good enough
Perfection does not exist, but being good enough does.
Being good enough means that you did what you could with what you had. For example, taking an exam with the knowledge that you have accumulated from going to class, taking notes and studying. You might not know everything, but you did what you could with the experience that you had and with the energy that you had at the time. Being good enough doesn’t make you arrogant, it makes you motivated. When you can acknowledge what you did right, and not only what you did wrong, you will want to continue. When we only look at where we were rejected, our mistakes or failures, we want to quit. We want to quit because we feel like we can’t do it or we can’t handle it. Just because you weren’t perfect, doesn’t mean that you failed.
People might not feel like they are good enough because, as a child, they were neglected, teased, bullied or abused. Adults might have found themselves in toxic relationships only to realise that their self-worth has dropped with devaluing and shaming.
Working through painful experiences
These painful experiences can be processed and worked through. Spend a little time reflecting and perhaps noting down your thoughts and feelings to the following questions:
1. What are the negative things that you believe about yourself, and where have you heard them before?
2. If it isn’t something that anyone has said to you, is it coming from social comparison?
3. How do these negative beliefs about yourself hurt you or prevent you from finding meaning in yourself, in others and in life?
4. If you feel like you aren’t enough, how will you connect with yourself and with others?
Overcoming past experiences
Overcoming past negative experiences can take effort. It can be challenging to allow yourself the space to feel what you need to feel and to express what you need to communicate. Perhaps you were made to feel that you don’t count and that you don’t matter. This kind of emotional pain can lead to an emptiness that leads to harming behaviours. The thought that you don’t matter or that you are not good enough means that you might not even take your own thoughts and needs seriously. If you don’t take your needs seriously, how can you put them forward to others? How can you seek help if you don’t feel that you deserve it?
You might not be where you want to be in your life, but you are capable. You can set manageable goals and reach them. You can handle it, you count, and you matter. We can’t be everything to everyone, and we can’t be successful in everything. We can, however, be successful when we set goals, overcome rejection, understand that we will get there when we get there.
Forget about timelines and be patient with yourself.
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