The idea of feeling good enough was a foreign concept when I was younger. It’s not something I thought much about until I was older and became aware that the anxiety or dissatisfaction that I was feeling related to my lack of ‘feeling enough’. In the background of my mind and consciousness was the repeating tape that I always needed to try harder and to do better. I didn’t realise that all those little incidents, comments made by those around me and society would lead me to feel that just being me was not good enough.
It took me some time to realise that I was living by somebody else’s standards and try as I might, my achievements never seemed to meet these expectations or ideals. Back then, it was difficult to feel I was ‘failing’ to do what was expected of me but now with a lot of hindsight, I can see that it was an advantage. It was something I needed to go through in order to create my own path; a path that truly resembled who I really am and my true values and desires.
I believe that we are conditioned by society to believe that we are not okay just as we are. We see images of so-called perfection all around us – advertisements and stories of beautiful people, families, lives etc. and what success is supposed to look like. As a result, we try to meet these ideas of what is deemed good enough but, in most cases, these are false and made up. They’re created to encourage commercialism (the ‘buy more’ culture) and to find our happiness outside of ourselves.
However, the reality is that nothing outside of ourselves is going to make us feel enough. Having the latest car, high flying job or the latest phone, shoes, dress etc may momentarily boost our endorphin levels and give the feelings of delight and joy but it rarely lasts very long. After a while, the emotions recede, we get bored and the search for something new begins in order to reignite those emotional highs.
Feeling good enough is an inside job. It’s about loving and accepting yourself as you are. Not needing yourself to be any different, not needing to do anything at all, in order to be loved. It’s a simple idea but often difficult in reality as we all have so many wounds, trauma and/or memories that have taught us differently.
Starting the process means taking the time to get to know yourself. Who are you away from all the material things that you have? Who are you when you’re not putting on the socially accepted mask at work, with friends etc? It may be a scary thought and not necessarily an inviting activity to undertake when we have so many distractions available to us these days. Who wants to get caught up in yucky emotions when it’s possible to enjoy the latest Instagram photo or FB story etc.? However, taking this time to be with the real you is a start to the deepest and most rewarding relationship you’ll ever have. If your relationship with yourself isn’t good, then it’s difficult to expect your outer relationships to be in a better state.
Undertaking this journey of discovery to love and acceptance doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your worldly goods and head to the mountains to be in deep contemplation for months on end. Though obviously if that appeals then follow that desire! Rather my opinion is that it’s a journey that lasts a lifetime and one that you can start slowly.
I suggest beginning with the following:
• Be curious about yourself and take the time to spend moments alone to contemplate what is happening within you. Taking the time to hear yourself and feel your emotions without judgement where possible. Meditation is great for this but even just spending 5 minutes a day just breathing consciously and being aware of your feelings, tension in the body etc is a great start;
• Become aware of your thoughts and self-talk. How do you treat yourself on a daily basis? Are your words kind and supportive or harsh and ever demanding? Ask yourself what you would like to hear instead and start to give yourself the support that you need. It may feel unnatural at first, but the more you do it, the sooner you will realise how unnatural it is to not be saying kind things to yourself.
• Do nice things for yourself daily. These don’t need to be big acts of kindness. Just little, simple things that make you feel joyful such a lovely cup of tea, time to read, some stretching, a walk in the park etc. If you have the thought that you wish someone else would do a certain activity for you, for example, buy you flowers, surprise you with a gift etc, do it for yourself. You don’t need anyone to validate your existence, to make you feel special. You can do that yourself and it will feel wonderful when you do.
Remember that everything you need is already inside of you – you just need to take the time to re-familiarise yourself with who you really are. Wishing you well on this journey of discovery.