You are good enough right now. You don’t need to do anything to be good enough tomorrow, next month or next year. In fact, what does “good enough” really look like?
I can recall the times in my life when I decided that I would be good enough when I accomplished a very specific goal. As a very shy little girl, I remember believing that I would be good enough when I am no longer shy. I can also recall flipping through magazines and thinking that I would be good enough when I look like one of the fashion models.
The internalized “not good enough” message continued to grow. I will be good enough when I graduate from college. I will be good enough when I make a certain income. I will be good enough when I lost 15 pounds. This message can really get a person hooked and caught up in very unhelpful thinking patterns. One’s worth is not measured by accomplishments, physical appearance, material things or even accomplishing goals. We are good enough just the way we are, right now, in the present moment.
This internalized “not good enough” message is something that might be familiar to many of you reading this blog. If you are a perfectionist, if you’ve experienced depression, if you’ve experienced anxiety, if you grew up in a critical household, if you’ve gone through a painful break up, it’s likely that you’ve grappled with the feeling of unworthiness. Additionally, if you are not part of the dominant culture in the United States-white, middle-class, male, Protestant and of European descent- then you’re likely to be vulnerable to messages of unworthiness.
If you cannot accept your present worth, then you’re likely to feel depressed, anxious, irritable, frustrated, hopeless and so many other uncomfortable emotions. You are also quite likely to pass these messages onto loved ones- friends, intimate partners and children. The message communicates that one can only be lovable and worthy if they are different from who they are naturally. This doesn’t make sense.
So how do we begin to embrace our worthiness? Here are a few suggestions:
- Pay attention to the thought and feeling. What you resist, persists. Because we don’t like uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, we might try to push them away. However, pushing thoughts and feelings away doesn’t work. They will come back with a vengeance. Whatever you resist, persists. Instead, become of the observer of the thought. Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts. Pay attention to the “not good enough” belief and notice how you feel. How are you identifying with your thoughts and allowing them to impact your sense of self and well-being? Instead of saying, “I am not worthy”, remind yourself, “I am having the thought that I am not worthy.” Notice that you’re not your thoughts and feelings.
- Practice accepting compliments: If you’re dealing with deep feelings of unworthiness, it’s probably difficult for you to accept a compliment. Think about a recent compliment you received. Did you try to down play it? Did it make you uncomfortable? Did you offer up self-deprecating rebuttals? If so, choose to accept the compliment by simply smiling, taking it in and saying thank you. It’s a good way to re-train your brain to take in the good. Our brain tends to have a negativity bias, so it helps when we intentionally focus on the positive and treasure the nice things that others say about us, even if it’s uncomfortable for us to do so.
- Lean into what you like about being who you are right now. Make a list of all the things that are awesome about who you are right now. You’re a good friend. You are a talented artist. You do charitable work. You make others laugh. If we can spend time judging ourselves, why not protect time in our day to focus on our strengths? Some people find that writing down daily positive affirmations improves their mood: I am successful, I am worthy, I am good enough, I am resilient. Lean into what you like about being who you are and notice how good it feels.
- Seek out a Cognitive Behavior Therapist: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most noted evidence-based practices and is useful in treating a wide variety of mental health disorders. A cognitive behavior therapist can help you to identify and modify unhelpful thoughts and treat any associated mental health disorders like depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. If you find that you are dealing with chronic feelings of unworthiness that might make it difficult for you to function, then be kind to yourself and seek out a professional who can give you some support.
These are just a few ideas that I wanted to share with you. Please comment below and let me know your thoughts. Alternatively, you might have some other suggestions to share. I would like to hear from you. I hope that you find this blog helpful. And until the next blog, enjoy each moment with purpose and celebrate yourself and others by being kind, loving and compassionate. Thank you for reading this blog.