I don’t believe in enemies or animosity or blame. The word “hate” isn’t in my vocabulary. Usually. But it’s hard not to hate Not Good Enough. More than three little words — strung together they’re a self-conception; a miserable way of life that haunts humanity like an impalpable plague.
Not Good Enough is the self-berating drumbeat that’s been following me around for as long as I can remember — from the dawn of that painful age when I’d unwittingly absorbed enough of society’s nonsense to start believing I was lacking in some way. Or a lot of ways.
And I know I’m not alone.
Not Good Enough is at the root of all our human ills. Not just mine. I think most of humanity carries this (false) concept around in their psyche. It’s our eternal albatross. It stunts us, mangles us, disfigures us; holds us back from everything we’re entitled to. It leads us to believe that if we follow in its painful, self-defeating footsteps long enough, somehow, someway, we’ll reach the promised land. We’ll get Good Enough. But it doesn’t work that way.
We have to believe we’re Good Enough right now — or spend a lifetime as a slave to its lies. Because Not Good Enough doesn’t go away.
It still follows me, this phrase, even in my happiness. It sneaks into my consciousness when it thinks I’m not paying attention. It slithers in alongside a thought about another girl’s bangin’ body or a negative work critique. It leaps into an otherwise peaceful meditation session or army crawls its way through a lonely moment. It’s tireless and determined. It wants me to give in. To believe its bullshit.
My Not Good Enough is not like it used to be though. It’s quieter, less powerful, not as convincing. But it’s not dead. The difference is, now I know better. I know it’s a lie, even if I sometimes still believe it. I know enough to talk back; to believe those who praise my enchanting endowments; to look at the evidence and not fall prey to fleeting emotions or uncomfortable situations. It still gets a knife in my side on occasion, but it’s not the violent ogre it once was.
It doesn’t seem fair though, in the broader sense. That’s why I hate it. All these amazing, incredible, miraculous people walking around believing they’re Not Good Enough. And why? For what? So much pain and so much doubt and all a web of lies.
Despite its continuous presence in my life, I do know I’m Good Enough. And so are you. Anyone who told us otherwise was just under the influence of their own Not Good Enough echo. It lied to them, so they lied to us. But we don’t have to dance to the drumbeat of Not Good Enough anymore. It does diminish, with work and time and faith.
So the next time your Not Good Enough rears its ugly head, lay the smackdown with some self-love and radical acceptance. It works. And even if it’s a battle we’re fighting for a lifetime, it’s worth it. Because life under the thumb of Not Good Enough is no life at all.