A few weeks ago Kyra wrote about her feeling of being Never Good Enough. I have struggled with this feeling in the past, especially in my teens and twenties. It hurts to see other people having the same experience. I know that I went through a period where I needed an extraordinary amount of external validation. I suspect that I met the criteria for clinical depression during that time. I am not sure what changed. Perhaps it was moving to Colorado with the 300+ sunny days per year. Perhaps it was finally having enough life experience that I developed some internal confidence. Perhaps it was cleaning up my diet and not having Sugar Blues. Perhaps it was clearing my life of toxic people after I realized that people could only treat me badly if I let them. Perhaps it was something else or all of these combined. I wish I knew the secret because then I could share it.
As you likely know from my blog title, my life is a work in progress. It’s funny, I do have a feeling of being "good enough" today (and most days) and yet I am constantly striving to improve. One area where I struggle is meshing thought, word and deed. I’m fine with word and deed. But my thoughts need a keeper. For example, about 10 years ago a colleague of mine was killed after being struck by a car. Many of my coworkers were heart broken, crying in the hallways. In my brain was the song from the Wizard of Oz, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead. Not appropriate; absolutely not "good enough." This person and I were not close, indeed I suspect that s/he was professionally trying to do me harm. But I still felt terrible for having those thoughts given how upset my coworkers were and yet still the song played in my head. It was difficult to match my thoughts with my words and deeds in that moment.
Steve Pavlina, who promotes personal development for smart people, recently launched personal development forums for his and his wife’s loyal readers. Even there, or perhaps especially there, many posters appear to struggle with the feeling of never being good enough (see the Emotional Mastery or Social and Relationships subforums). While Steve Pavlina has some great articles that deal with this topic, I think Colm OReilly, who I discovered on Steve Pavlina’s forums, is even better. I wish I had discovered this type of resource in my teens or twenties. Colm has some terrific posts on confidence and self esteem. He writes about internal vs. external confidence, high vs. low self esteem, and being enough. I find these somewhat silly (and yet paradoxically still effective), but he has a bunch of simple affirmations like "I am enough" on which to focus when you find yourself feeling less than confident or self-assured. It is amazing how much impact our inner dialogue can have on how we feel, how we act, how we hold our bodies, and how we are perceived by others.
So even if you are not currently where you envision yourself to be in some perfect future, today truly you are good enough.