Being Good Enough
Five months ago it was 2 or 3 in the morning and I was alone in my room in Australia sitting on the floor next to my bed sobbing. A really great mental image, I know.
I don't remember what else I had done that day. Honestly, I'm sure it was a fun day and that I had hung out with my friends, laughed a lot, and not had a care in the world. But all I do remember is going home that night and somehow letting my thoughts spiral into the least fun of places. That always happens around 2:30am, right?
There was a giant mirror on the wall in front of me and, after I had finally calmed myself down to the point that I wasn't a hysterically crying mess, I just sort of stared at myself curled up in a ball on the floor. I said out loud (if my flatmates were awake they probably thought I was insane) "I don't understand what's so wrong with me?"
Sitting here now I know that the answer to that question is nothing at all. But sitting there then I was so incredibly distraught over who I was, what I was doing, and what everyone in my life thought of me that I just knew there had to be something wrong with me. For a good portion of my life I was painfully insecure about my physical appearance. I was all too familiar with that feeling, but I had never felt insecure about my personality. That was a foreign feeling that I had no idea how to handle. It was uncomfortable to have to deal with that insecurity and it took me a little while to do so; but what I discovered was pretty fucking cool: that I don't only love myself, but I like myself too and that every aspect of who I am is valid, worthwhile, and perfectly okay.
The idea of being "good enough" is something that everyone struggles with at some point. Some more than others, I think I am one of those people, but it's comforting to know that you're not the only one who has felt that way because the feeling in and of itself is incredibly lonely. It feels like you're wandering around a big city, running late, unable to find the way to where you're going, and everyone around you is speed walking by bumping into you. It drains you mentally and emotionally. It's hard to bring yourself back from that.
It's easy to say to someone "well hey, you have nothing to worry about of course you're good enough!!" And as true as that statement is, it can be the least helpful sentence to hear. It's putting a bandaid on a cut that needs stitches. For maybe a day or so you'll feel better but then it creeps around to 2am and the thoughts of never measuring up start to appear.
What I have found to be the best antidote for those thoughts is doing something to actively remind yourself that you are and always will be good enough.
This first one is curtesy of my best friend, Lauren. Start writing two lists, one of things you like about yourself and another of things your know you're good at. Every time you start to feel those thoughts creep up on you go read those lists and then add to them.
Examples from my lists:
From List One - I love my eyes, even though one is permanently lazy
From List Two - I'm good at giving thoughtful gifts
This can feel self centered when you're doing it, but that's okay. We tend to never think anything good of ourselves out of fear of being perceived as too self absorbed, but that only results in feeling terrible about yourself. Let yourself appreciate the good things about you.
My second tip is to call a friend. I would stop myself from doing this a lot because I didn't want to be a burden but it has never not helped me. Even if you don't want to talk to them about how you're feeling just call and talk about anything, you'll feel better.
Third, let yourself cry if you need to. Don't think you shouldn't or that it makes you weak or any of that bullshit. Crying a little bit can help immensely. Afterwards make yourself a cup of tea/coffee/glass of wine and put on a mindlessly funny show.
Finally, turn your phone off. I have to say I'm terrible at this one sometimes but just turning it off for the rest of the night will make you feel so much better. No scrolling through everyone else's seemingly wonderful lives and comparing yours. Nothing on any social media is going to help you feel any better so just let it go and you can check it again in the morning or whenever you feel better.
I don't think there's necessarily any way to entirely stop the thoughts of not being good enough from ever creeping up on you. However, there are plenty of ways to stop them as soon as they do and that is what's most important. Don't live everyday thinking you don't measure up to everyone else, because you do.
Remember to be your own advocate, care about yourself, and know your worth. When you do feel less than, take the right steps to help yourself feel better-whatever those steps are for you. If I never did I would probably still be sitting on the floor in Australia, paralyzed by insecurities and crying my eyes out, but instead I decided to help myself and work through it. I wish the same for you.
Everything about you is valid, worthwhile, and perfectly okay.