By Nate Bagley
“I’m not good enough.”
At some point in our lives, we’ve all said it. We use these words to justify our fears and explain our insecurities or the reasons we don’t have the things we want most.
“I’m not good enough to be in a relationship.”
“I’m not good enough to get that job.”
“I’m not good enough to write that book.”
“I’m not good enough to record an album.”
“I’m not good enough [fill in the blank].”
These four vile words strip us of our personal value, our core identity, and any sense of purpose. They represent the epitome of the worst self-inflicted psychological diseases: self-pity.
“Certainly the most destructive vice, if you like, that a person can have. More than pride, which is supposedly the number one of the cardinal sins—is self-pity. Self-pity is the worst possible emotion anyone can have. And the most destructive. It is, to slightly paraphrase what Wilde said about hatred, and I think actually hatred’s a subset of self-pity and not the other way around: ‘It destroys everything around it, except itself.’”
It’s time to stop using the term “not good enough” to reinforce some deep-seeded belief that we are insufficient or incomplete. We cannot surrender control of our self-worth to someone else, especially to someone who likely doesn’t deserve or even want that power.
The word “good” is not synonymous with “intelligent,” “attractive,” “experienced,” or “funny.” On the contrary, “good” means worthy, excellent, or kind.
It’s time we realize that until we’re kind and excellent to ourselves and believe that we are worthy of the things we want from life, we’ll never be “good enough”—in our minds—for the rest of the world.
Four changes you can make to help you remain in control of your self worth:
1. Romantically pursue only those people who love you for exactly who and what you are and who consistently and positively push you to improve. Don’t invest in relationships where your partner makes you feel as if you don’t meet their minimum requirements for attraction, intelligence, or tolerability.
2. Work for a boss who will invest in you as a person and recognize your value. Granted, this isn’t always easy. It might mean you have to quit or ask to work on a different team or even file an HR complaint, but it’s worth the effort. When you enjoy your work environment, all areas of your life will improve. You will add happiness and years to your life. Plus, you get to spend at least eight hours a day with someone who loves having you around, as opposed to the alternative. Do not waste time driving yourself to madness working for a boss who is convinced you are incompetent.
3. In the times you start to feel the pit in your stomach of insufficiency or the cold sweats of worthlessness, change your body language. Chin up—literally. Put your shoulders back. Stand or sit up tall. Don’t cross your legs, fold your arms, or touch your face or neck. It’s known that your emotional mindset can affect your body language. However, your body language can also affect your mindset. When your body fakes confidence, strength, and poise, your mind begins to accept it.
4. Spend time with friends who make you want to live at your best. True friends make you feel appreciated and valued on your best and worst days. If there are relationships in your life that are draining of your energy or your self-worth, it’s time to make a change or say goodbye. Life is too short to feel empty and alone when surrounded by those who should fill you up with the most love.
My goal for you is to eradicate the “not good enough” mindset from your vocabulary and your way of thinking. Your value should be determined by the person staring at you in the mirror. No one else.
If you feel insufficient, ask for help from someone who loves you, find a mentor, take a class, set a goal that will help you grow. Throwing your hands in the air and surrendering to the “I’m not good enough” monster is no longer an option.
Nate Bagley is the Director of Communications at The Bold Academy, a life accelerator designed to maximize your human potential. Applications for Bold Academy San Francisco are now open. Nate also produces his own podcast that proves true love exists and how everyone can experience it. You can find it here or follow him on Twitter.
*Photo Credit: idleformat.