You’re not ‘good enough’. They all have better choices, those people on the other side of the table. Better, more able candidates to fit into the job role you were aspiring for, the project you were hoping to land, the man you were crushing on.
Some of the refusals are kind. We want different things, they say. You will get other opportunities that will fit you better. I don’t think of you like that even though you’re an incredibly special person. Others are brutal. They say things to your face, going off hand-in-hand with new friends, ghosting your e-mails, expressing without an ounce of doubt that you are not worth your salt.
What can you do when you’re just not good enough?
Lately, I have been going through frequent periods of self-doubt when I question every ability I have ever prided myself in having. When someone compliments me, I wonder if they need a favour. Even when I hear good things without any apparent undercurrent, I find myself feeling like an impostor. Someone they think does a decent job only because they haven’t seen better — yet. Someone who successfully fools you into believing grand things about themselves when all of that is, in reality, only an illusion.
The world is getting harsher by the minute. It is harder still if you haven’t a protective shield of family and friends, people who believe in you and ward off fatal apprehensions. During periods of self-doubt, every achievement of the past seems meaningless, every dream about the future bleak.
I hate feeling like that.
This is why I have devised a three-step plan to shake off the cool, suffocating fingers of underconfidence and insecurity.
Here’s what I do.
- Think about lives I have touched in the past
My mom, who was the happiest when she went on strolls with me, to whom nothing in the world mattered more than the fact that I was happy. My husband, R, who never tires of doing little things to see me smile, who says I am his angel. Perhaps a reader somewhere in the world who once read something I had written and smiled, if only for a moment.
Even when all else seems lost, there are people all of us have touched at least briefly. No one is inconsequential.
- Scrape through the lies of my mind
I have experienced enough mental turmoil in my time to know this for certain: the mind can be a big fat liar. What’s worse is, the mind can also be very convincing when it’s lying. To wade through the mess, I sit myself down and reassess my strengths. What have I achieved so far? What progress have I made since I started trying? What is the validation I have received for my efforts? What am I basing my self-doubt on – is it a silly comparison with a colleague or peer based on his/her social media post? (That is one insanely misleading basis!) Deep within, have I really failed to take even a single step toward my goal?
More often than not, the mind gives way after the introspection, realizing its lies cannot hold water in front of the genuineness of the heart.
- Endeavour to become good enough for me
This is my favourite step. To be good enough for myself, I need to get enough sleep and rest. I need to eat wholesome, filling, delicious food. I need to do things that make me happy even if they don’t seem remotely connected to my life’s personal or professional ambitions. I like myself when I am happy, energetic and confident. So, I proceed to steer things that way without aiming to also be good enough for a million other people alongside.
There will always be people wiser than we are, more accomplished, better at what they do. But life isn’t about sharpening all your edges until you please everyone on the block. And really, if someone thinks you aren’t good enough for them, they don’t deserve you. Let them find what they seek while you seek your own happiness.
*Picture from rebloggy.com