If you’re like many of us, somewhere, maybe deep within you, there’s a nagging doubt that you’re not up to the mark. Sometime in your childhood a teacher scolded you, a parent chastised you, a friend made fun of you. And those negative messages stick, often with more tenacity than all the compliments you’ve been showered with in your life. Sigh. It’s just how we’re wired.
You ARE good enough. Even if you don’t think so, but why don’t you?
Why don’t you think you’re good enough?
Because you are human, and it’s the human condition to wish that you could have your goodness confirmed by an outside source. You want to be included, not excluded, as a member of society. You want to belong. There is no magic metric that will tell you when you’ve arrived for sure, so you continue to strive to ensure your place.
This is an ancient longing and a basic need. You need to be part of a society because you are dependent on others to provide fundamental things like food and shelter, but also love and purpose in life. Even in an individualistic country like we live in here in the United States, you need to be interdependent to survive. You need to be “good enough” to be part of a network of people who help you thrive.
Why do you have a fear of exclusion?
People joke these days about FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out. In modern times, being left out is usually no more threatening than not being invited to a party. But that fear of being left out is real, just stronger and more pronounced in some people than in others. When the ancients banished someone, it meant that person was left alone to die. Because no one, then or now, can survive very well all alone.
So, our fear of exclusion is even more powerful than our desire for inclusion. If you are excluded, you are left behind to be unnoticed, to live in the margins of society, to barely make it while the rest of society has a better life. Again, we are wired this way because for centuries our ancestors have navigated society to get along with others, to find partners and reproduce, to bear and raise children. You are only here on earth today because your ancestors were successful at NOT being excluded.
Why do you need to be much more than good enough?
You have an inner voice that tells you, especially in this culture, to be super individualistic. To be super, period. Mere adequacy is not enough. You want to do more than belong, you want to be better than average. You want to be superior. So, you keep climbing onwards and upwards, without having a clear idea of your destination.
The fact is, if you are functioning in society, you are good enough. You don’t have to be super in all things, and you don’t have to feel bad when you’re not. There will always be someone smarter than you, stronger than you, better looking than you. But you have special qualities that are better than merely good enough. You have some qualities that are truly excellent. Those are the things to celebrate and try to forget about not being good enough. Value yourself as you are.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact