Scroll through any of your social media accounts.
You probably would have chanced upon multiple positive well-being accounts promoting positive self-affirmation, bringing across the message of being good enough and that’s enough.
We see so many people who are actively advocating for this message but have you ever wondered, do we truly understand what this even means?
Or are we simply looking at these quotes to feel good at that moment?
If your answer is the latter, I hope this article would shed some light and help you internalise the concept of how being yourself is good enough for you. I’ll be discussing this topic in today’s article in two aspects, 1) why people feel that they are never good enough and 2) how then can they feel good about themselves
My journey of self-discovery: from the bottom to the top
Bringing you back to the period where I had these thoughts, I was a student back in Hwa Chong Institution. Just like everyone, I am no exception.
In the eyes of the public, being able to enter such a highly coveted and prestigious school, would probably mean that the students there are all academically inclined and would probably be confident in their own abilities but to me, I felt like I was a small fish in a big pond, always struggling to play the catching up game.
In fact, I’ve had moments where I felt that I was inferior to others, having been in an environment that is so highly competitive back in school, surrounded by people who I thought were better than me at that point in time. It felt like the odds were always stacked against my favour and I remembered myself feeling intimidated
Those thoughts struck me the strongest when I was in a Humanities special programme, where I was constantly pressured by how my peers seemed to have all the answers to everything and knew so much more than me, which affected my confidence in my abilities and I started feeling additional unnecessary stress which affected my mental health instead of focusing on my own grades and progress. I did really badly that year and hit rock bottom, ending up having to retake my examinations in Secondary 3, coupled with the mountain of stress piling up which affected my own mental health. I remembered my heart beating quickly, me covered in sweat, knowing that I’ve “failed” and I didn’t know what to do…
I guess it is true when they say to reach the top, one has to experience hitting rock bottom. It was only after my time in the Humanities Programme when I started doing some soul-searching and reflection as to why I was so unhappy in my time there. And it struck me, it was because I had unrealistic expectations of myself, I self-depreciated my worth and would constantly compare myself to others, which affected my self-confidence and mental health.
One thing which changed as I progressed to college was that I decided to adopt a different mentality. When I was in college, I had the realisation: why should I be so concerned about others’ expectations of me when we are all headed to our own goals in life at our own pace? In fact, I should be the only one deciding whether I am good enough. Adopting that mentality has really helped me to have a positive outlook and positive mental health. Today, having walked out of those days, I hope that my story is able to inspire people who are going through and shed light on this topic
Why do people find themselves to never be good enough?
Why then do people feel that they are never good enough? I’ll be sharing with you the thoughts that went through my head at that point in time which resulted in the way I felt like I was less than others
(i) We often set unrealistic expectations for ourselves.
When we often set out to achieve more than we know we are able to, instead of being realistic about our goals, we beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve our goals and start questioning our self-worth and capabilities. The unrealistic expectations then add unnecessary stress and it’s at those despair moments where we are the most prone to thoughts that we are not good enough and we are worth less than we think
(ii) One thing we tend to neglect, is the fact that you are the only person who determines what good is, and that you should live on expectations and goals you set for yourself.
We all have different things we set out to accomplish in life and it is foolish to compare ourselves with the progress of others since we all have different agenda we would want to meet. Something that you deem bad, may be good in other people’s eyes and vice versa so you should always strive to meet goals you set for yourself and decide what is good for you because the only standards you have to meet would be the standards you set for yourself. As you probably would have heard of this, comparison is the root of all evil, one which leads us to embark on a never-ending chasing game so as to overtake others and strive to be better than them so as to feel good in the moment when in fact, the only person you have to be better than would be the person you were yesterday
When we feed negative thoughts in our heads and self-depreciate ourselves, we slowly and subconsciously believe that we are less than what we are worth and that we would not be able to accomplish our dreams. Self-depreciation often leads to depressed thoughts, making ourselves to be less than what we actually are, equipping us with low morale, leaving us with a lack of motivation for us to get started on what we want to achieve. We fall into rock bottom and feel that we might as well not do anything since no matter what we do, we would never be good enough in the eyes of others, we then to let our emotions overwhelm us and consume us, wallowing in self-despair instead of actually taking things one step at a time and working towards our dreams.
How can we feel good about ourselves?
I adopted these 4 methods as I did some reflection and soul-searching and I thought that these would be useful for one to change your mentality and outlook.
(i) Always remember to recognise progress, rather than outcome
Sometimes we are set on achieving the outcome that we fail to recognise our progress we have made along the way.
When we stop to see how far we have come and learn to celebrate improvements and progress, we would feel good about ourselves from how far we have come instead of being overwhelmed by the pursuit of the outcome and how much more we would have to do. That serves as a good and timely reminder to take a short break to refuel and recharge before heading towards our goals and that as long as we are willing to take a step at a time eventually all will fall in place
(ii) Appreciate yourself more
Remember the good in you because that is what people see and think of when they see you.
We all have our own strengths and virtues so always remember that we have areas where we excel in and use that as a source of motivation and means for us to propel forward whenever you feel that you lack the motivation to continue or whenever you start questioning your own worth, always remember we all are born here with a purpose. We often don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we can do and often beat ourselves up for what we cannot do, which is where the self-doubt comes in. So, always remember that you should learn to appreciate yourself more and instil more self-confidence in yourself because when you are confident in your own worth and that you are good enough, others can see that too!
(iii) Set realistic goals for yourself and stop comparing yourself with other people.
When I started making plans which were realistic and possible to achieve, in terms of the time and effort I needed to put in, I found myself being more productive and completing what I set out to easier. Having a step-by-step plan of what I should work on allowed me to see myself moving towards my goals with every step I took ,which gave me the confidence that I was doing the right thing and that I am good enough with my own abilities, building up my self-confidence in my own worth and reinforcing the idea that I am in fact, good enough. Similarly, when I start living for myself and living for the expectations I set for myself, instead of comparing myself with others, I found myself to be happier when I was living for myself, since I no longer had to strive to meet their expectations and found myself feeling stress free from not having to compare myself with others and striving to chase and overtake others, leaving me to be in a healthier mental well-being and leaving me to become happier for leading a life of my own
Ultimately, I’m writing this article in the capacity of a person who has been through these thoughts and I hope that this article can serve as a reminder for you to believe in yourself that you are good enough and that you determine who you want to be. If anything, I hope that you remember to start living for yourself and leave those thoughts that hinder your self-worth because it is never too late to embark your journey towards a better mental-health and a discovery of your self-worth where you are good enough!