These past several months, I’ve done a lot of feeling like I’m incompetent.
Not enough in my career. Not enough in my romance. Not enough as a daughter. The list goes on. It’s about as long as you could imagine.
I was thinking about a prior piece I’d written about needing to own our extra. If you’re anything like me, you know it’s a weird duality to constantly feel like we’re too much of something, and yet also, in so many ways, not enough. Inadequate. Always failing in something to some degree.
That’s the fear.
I spend a lot of time thinking about my not-enoughness and how I can get out of that mind trap and become more confident, more comfortable in my skin, more focused on my successes and abilities. Just…more.
At least that’s what I tell myself I’ve been doing.
I sat down to write a note to myself about how the ways that I’m not enough are actually signs that I am enough. How I’m meant for something different than what or who I’m so desperately trying to be meant for.
Maybe that’s the message you need. If so, please feel free to take that from this piece. But, please be sure to consider that message the blue pill, if you will—you know…the one that keeps you in blissful ignorance.
Because while I set out to write a feel-good note to myself, what came out is this red pill: the realization that in taking that blue pill approach, I’ve actually just been trying to pretend I’m happy. Trying to pretend that I fit in a space, or that I’m at least comfortable with not fitting.
But there’s this thing called spiritual bypassing, and I can liken it to what I’ve been doing to myself: I’ve been self-bypassing.
Here’s the truth:
I am not enough. You are not enough.
That place that you’re in right now is not enough. The place where you want to be is not enough. The job you have isn’t good enough, and neither will be the next one.
And to reverse that, you’re not good enough for where you are now. You won’t be good enough for the next place you go, either.
You. Are. Not. Enough. Say it to yourself over and over until you no longer have a reaction to it.
Because—have no fear—no one and no thing will ever be enough.
If you ever feel like you’re enough, you’re not growing. If you ever feel fully enough, you’re not discovering what isn’t you and what really is you.
I am not enough for my lover, because in times when I feel my emotional or other survival is at stake, I do not listen to him enough.
I am not enough for my job, because I do not perform as quickly as some of our other editors.
I am not enough as a daughter, because I still too regularly call to talk to my parents about my problems instead of reaching out at times, too, when I am happy and thriving, just to see how they’re doing.
I am not enough of an upstanding citizen, because I hated history class and have a lot of catching up to do to fully grasp some of the situations that our world is in, today.
Here’s the key:
When we come to terms with not being enough, we allow ourselves to see where we either need or want to grow. When we come to terms with not being enough, we also allow ourselves to see where we may “need” to grow but either do not want to, or are not willing to put in the work.
Our not-enoughness is just another directional sign allowing us to choose a path that we want to take.
That’s not to say that one path is necessarily better or worse than another (as we all know, some trails lead to dead ends), but to say that instead of looking at our not-enoughness as something we need to get rid of, or transform into some positive thing, perhaps we ought to just accept it, and learn from its lesson.
So, I am not enough for my lover, because I do not listen enough. But I want to, and I’m willing to do the work to be a better partner.
I am not enough for my job, because I do not perform as quickly as some of our other editors. But I’ll be damned if I don’t bend over backward every day giving my absolute best of efforts to be just a little faster while also paying attention to my own personal quality standards and saying, “This is not the quality that I am capable of, and I can do better with slowing down.”
I am not enough as a daughter, because I still too regularly call to talk to my parents about my problems instead of reaching out at times, too, when I am happy and thriving, just to see how they’re doing. But I see that, and am willing to do the work to reach out when I am happy, or to perhaps sometimes go within for a while when I am in a hole, instead of reaching out.
I am not enough of an upstanding citizen, because I hated history class and have a lot of catching up to do to fully grasp some of the situations that our world is in, today. But learning is an action—and an important one at that. What I learn will make me better.
So, I learn in this not-enoughness where I want to grow, where I am trying to fit but maybe do not, what I am and am not willing to sacrifice, and in the name of what. And in that, I learn where, in ways—even if just for a moment—I am enough. And when we have those moments, we should revel in them briefly, and then let them go.
Because, no, we will never be enough. But we should always strive for that invisible standard.
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