Do you ever feel that you are not good enough – for yourself or anybody else? Have there been days (or weeks or months) in which you’ve compared yourself mercilessly to the other brighter, prettier and shinier women around you?
Have you ever felt like complete crap because of all of this and not known how you could possibly endure yet another fake smile and pretend yet again that all is OK with the world? I’ll take a bet and say that if you’re reading this now, you probably have. Regardless of who you are, or your particular life circumstances.
I have a friend I was once supremely jealous of. It seemed that all the boys at school liked her. She was confident; she had the killer combination of dark hair and light eyes; she always knew what to say. I was the shy, awkward wallflower. We grew up; I married and she didn’t. Yet even then I had cause to feel envious as she lived her fun, carefree and glamorous life while I lived my frumpy life as a young, tired and bored mother.
Fast-forward twenty or so years and she recently admitted that she felt envious – jealous - of me! The reason? I found myself a lovely partner not too long after my divorce; she is still searching for the elusive ‘one’.
I understand this, but I also know (as she does, deep down) that neither of us really have cause to feel envious or jealous of the other. For years, she lived a life of excitement. Now she is going through a quiet patch, and things are looking up for me. Who knows where each of us will be in another twenty years’ time? We could well be back to square one.
The whole situation got me thinking. Thinking of all the times I’ve felt ‘not enough’ - and why things turn out the way they do. I have dealt with my fair share of rejection. I’ve missed out on a work promotion that I’d devoted many hours and many tears to; I’ve professed my undying love to somebody who very clearly did not feel the same way toward me; my husband left me for a woman almost twenty years my junior.
Yet I have two beautiful children. I have a lovely partner and a decent house and a blossoming business. Some days I succumb to negative self-talk and look at everybody around me and tell myself that I am not enough. Some days I don’t succumb. Most days I know right from wrong. I know that I’ve bounced back enough times in my life that I can probably do it again. I know that at the end of the day, I am OK. I am enough.
Here are some things to consider when you think you are not enough:
EVERYBODY compares themselves to others
All of us feel envious of and compare ourselves to others at one point or another – ALL of us. Even the prettiest and smartest of us endure those moments of not feeling good enough; of thinking that this or that woman is so much brighter, prettier and shinier.
Think for a minute about what you are doing when you compare yourself to another – you are most likely comparing the WORST of yourself to the perceived BEST of another. Which is hardly fair. There are absolutely no winners in the comparison game because there is no end to the comparisons we could potentially dream up! There will ALWAYS be others doing better (and worse) than you. This is life. Do your best to accept it, and move on.
Those who appear the MOST confident… usually aren’t
That woman who looks to have it all? Who is flamboyant and confident and pretty (and perhaps never misses an opportunity to tell you so)? Who relishes in drawing attention to herself and feeds off the compliments and adoration of others? She is probably quite insecure. Underneath that assured exterior she may well be completely terrified of not being enough; of people thinking that she’s not beautiful or lovable or worthy – so she does her best to cover up these fears by putting on an overly confident front. No need to judge – just be aware.
Your mind tells you LIES… don’t believe everything it says
I used to think that all thoughts that came into my head were true – and a lot of them frightened me! I now understand that we often have little control over what pops into our heads, and that it is OK to ignore that which does not serve us. Our ego is a powerful thing – it doesn’t like to feel threatened so at the first sign of risk (for example – when we encounter somebody we believe is superior to us) it will send our minds into overdrive and deliver us negative thoughts - thoughts that tell us we aren’t good enough and that we have to be ‘better’. If you can learn to recognise this as it happens and simply observe the thoughts, rather than reacting to them, they will soon pass. And you will be both calmer and happier as a result.
Society WANTS you to believe that you are not good enough
For better or worse (most definitely worse) we live in a society that needs us to think that we are not enough. That actually relies on - and profits from - us women folk believing it. Think of all of the businesses and corporations that would collapse if we all decided tomorrow that we were completely satisfied with who we were – with both our looks and our bodies.
We are bombarded with advertisements indirectly (but very definitely) telling us that we are not good enough – all so we push our hard-earned dollars at companies relying on us for their survival. Next time you see an ad with an impossibly gorgeous creature insisting that you need this or that product – remember this fact.
Work on improving yourself, by all means. Look after your body and do what needs to be done for you to become the best version of YOU. Just don’t get so caught up in negativity and unfair comparisons that you believe you are not worthwhile as you are. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you are not good enough. Because actually, you are enough. AND YOU ALWAYS HAVE BEEN.
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