Letting go of ‘not good enough’


Not good enough is a nightmare. It’s a burden, an albatross — masochism at its worst. And like an intractable illness, it tends to hang around indefinitely.

I know all about this disease known as not good enough. I was diagnosed in my early teens. Heading into high school, I was overwhelmed by the presence of lithe, pretty girls with perfect hair and trim legs. They appeared effortlessly confident, a quality I couldn’t conjure up in my wildest dreams.

Boys loved them. Older boys loved them. I’ll never forget one such girl and her flouncy, flirty red dress. She was a freshman (as was I) and the senior boys flitted around her like hummingbirds to nectar. I, meanwhile, still slept with a stuffed chimp and watched Saturday morning cartoons. Lithe and flirty were not in my repertoire.

Since then, not good enough has hung around, steadfast and reliable. It’s been there, kicking me when I’m down, holding me back from my goals, alienating potential opportunities. It’s the little voice that reminds me I’m not thin enough for anyone to love, I’m not witty enough to make it as a writer, I’m not motivated enough to achieve my goals  — that I’ll always be broke and powerless and alone. Not good enough is deadly.

The good news is, not good enough is more diminutive in my life these days. It’s a little less powerful and a lot less believable. I don’t buy into its bullshit anymore. I’ve made progress. Every day I chip away at its facade, and every day it loses a little bit of its hefty girth.

There’s one thing I know, for sure, however; one indisputable fact I want everyone to remember: not good enough doesn’t exist. It’s a lie we told ourselves long ago, and believed. It’s a tall tale, and we’re the storyteller.

We tell ourselves these tales, brought on by one experience or incident in our formative years, and then we live as if these tales were true. Someone didn’t love us or someone left us or someone was cruel and we told ourselves it was because we’re not good enough. We believed that tale, and built our lives on it.

But we can change the story. We can tell ourselves new tales, happier tales — tales of our own worth and value and uniqueness. We can chip away at not good enough until it’s nothing more than a fleeting memory, a fading dream that slips away as we awaken.

We’re ALL good enough. Every last one of us. We’re more than good enough, we’re amazing and brilliant and totally acceptable just as we are. We’re lovely snowflakes; seven billion bodies and minds and experiences, all one-of-a-kind and built to be so. We just have to keep reminding ourselves. As we start to believe in being good enough, we make room for tales of joy and wonder and abundance; all the lovely things we deserve.

So here’s to happy tales and happy endings — I’m a big believer in both.


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