I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us would love to be good enough for everybody all the time. And we probably all have examples of times we were told we were a disappointment or when we couldn’t seem to be good enough for certain people no matter how hard we tried.
In this article I’d like to invite you to look at 3 things:
- The illusive nature of this idea of good enough.
- The power of accepting that there will inevitably be times when we won’t measure up to our expectations of ourselves or to other people’s expectations of us
- And the reality that we are still totally lovable even when feel like we have fallen short.
So let’s start with some questions. What does it even mean to be good enough? Good enough for whom? Good enough in what way? Who decides if I’m good enough or not? My spouse? My boss? Myself? You’ll probably say, well it really depends on the situation and people involved.
Most of the time when we are worrying about being good enough we are usually seeking approval and validation- we want to feel reassured that we are worthy of the love, respect and admiration we desire.
Wanting to be good parents to our children, good partners in our relationships or good team members at work means that we want to matter. Most of us think that we matter to others when we are meeting their needs or expectations, when we make them happy. But wait, our needs and expectations change all the time and they sometimes even come in conflict with each other. Sometimes I’m not good enough for myself much less me AND everybody else.
On top of that we are taught that being needy isn’t desirable (though we all are both needy and wanty) and that we should be ashamed of ourselves for our natural human neediness. It’s not trendy to be needy, it’s not cool, is definitely not ideal. But is sure is human, isn’t it.
So then we fake it– “fake it till you make it”we fake being ok when we’re not, we say yes when we really want to say no and we take care of others when we are already running on empty. The “fake it till you make it” syndrome is a very lonely and very painful choice and I call it, more accurately- fake it till you break it because it seems that no matter what we do and how well we fake it eventually we end up breaking our hearts or someone else’s heart, we break up or split up our relationships or we break our bodies. Plus, nobody wants to receive fake stuff. We all know fake purses, fake love and fake news never last.
So why then do we spend enormous amounts of energy trying to achieve something doesn’t even exist? Why do we exhaust ourselves seeking something that is unattainable? We know we can’t meet everybody’s expectations all the time. We know that others can’t meet our expectations all the time either because they’re human too. Can we all agree that human beings are at best only temporarily good enough?! Can that be ok?
When we expect to be good enough all the time, we are in fact asking ourselves to be more than human. To be human is to have bad days, to be susceptible to weakness, to sensitivity, to pain. How have we become so allergic to our humanity? How can we hope that others will accept us for who we are if we are not willing to accept ourselves or when we’re constantly trying to change others into who we want them to be? To be able to struggle less and less with the times we think we are failing or others are failing us we must be willing to increase our emotional resilience to disappointment. To be ok with less than ideal, to be ok with not enough means to be ok with the times we can’t be quite as good as we want to be.
Being good enough all the time is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. That’s really good news, y’all. It’s okay to show up, do our best and forgive the rest. We are still worthy of love, respect and admiration even when we feel unworthy of it all.
When we let go of this perception of ourselves that we have to be perfect all the time to matter, that we have to make everybody happy to be likable, we organically have more peace, more fulfillment and more energy in our lives.
So next time you may FEEL like you’re falling short, see if you can remind yourself, that YOU still MATTER, you are important and you are lovable.
Video: Beyond Good Enough