Why do I feel “I am NOT enough?”
All I need is one more certification and then I can really be effective in my side business. Once I achieve my goal of going to the gym 5 times a week, then life will be fine. When I have X number of dollars a month coming in, then everything will be great.
All I need is a title, then I am somebody.
Sitting on the front porch, drinking my cup of coffee as the frost is burned off by the warming sun, I feel I am not enough. But if you throw in a title, “I am a manager, I am a father, I am a philanthropist,” then everything is ok.
This perception with and preoccupation with being enough is a tough thing to work on.
The very idea of being enough, just the way I am is foreign to me. I have too many flaws, the things I do are never enough, there is always something else I could do. Then it spirals into “I should have thought of that, I should have foreseen the possibility that this would happen and have a plan, I should have known.”
When I begin to spiral out of control, it is easy for me to think I am not enough.
While I do not think of my self as a perfectionist, I am driven to achieve. Doing this is a way to demonstrate to the world that “I am enough.” But why do I even feel that I must justify my existence to the world, to anyone other than myself?
Asking better questions, I say “where is the proof?”
Going back just 24 hours, there is one example that stands out of me feeling I am not doing enough. This was something simple about communicating a schedule. I felt bad that I had not included everyone who may in any way be affected. And when they asked about it, GUILT poured out of me.
I should have thought of this person, I should have been better than I was.
Now I am ruminating on this FAILURE and cannot seen anything else. My vision is clouded by the thought that I am never going to be enough, what I do is just not good enough and I can’t imagine why I even think I am doing anything right.
BUT WHERE IS THE PROOF?
Revisiting the past 24 hours, there are 10 to 12 occasions where I was enough. I helped someone achieve their goal, then I helped someone see a better path, and in another example, I did what I said I would do. And I discovered something that someone else would benefit from and shared it with them. Plus, I demonstrated with my actions that I was on my teams’ side. Did I mention someone thanked me for helping them? The proof I am enough is really everywhere.
Having depression ready to toss in all or nothing thinking makes feeling enough a tougher thing to do.
Not only must I be clear in how I think about what I am doing and its value, but I must overcome the unhelpful thinking that depression shares with me as, in its opinion, “a better way to think about myself.” Depression is right at home with “I am not enough.”
The proof is not there that I am not enough.
It doesn’t exist except in my mind. I am choosing to believe that I am not enough. This means I’m saying internally that I am not enough. And I am downplaying and poo-pooing any idea that I am enough. There is no pressure on myself by thinking that way!!!!!!!!!
Thankfully, my therapist and I are exploring this concept.
It keeps reoccurring and is a major impediment to my growth as a person with emotions. Learning where this feeling of inadequacy, or even shame comes from, the feeling that I am not perfect may lie in my past. As my therapist says, “this can go back to a very young, fragile place.”
Two weeks ago, we agreed to talk more about this in todays session. Well, I chickened out. So, our plan now is to discuss this in our next meeting. Writing about the whole concept of being enough is my first step towards being able to talk about the feelings that are the basis for my drive to always do more.
In the hospital earlier this year, the head psychiatrist asked me “when is enough enough?
At the time, I did not have an answer for him. Six months later, I still do not know. However, I do know that thinking about it, talking about it, understanding more of the background to this idea, will help me grow.
Working on being enough is painful for me and is not easy.
Not working on understanding why I am not enough is killing me. The pain is worth the understanding and the growth. I spent 43 years not feeling enough is enough, so spending a few weeks looking at the causes of that feeling and ways I can reframe that feeling, are time well invested.