Do you ever find yourself striving to be “good enough” for someone or something?
I don’t, that’s for sure. Oh wait…..
Yep, that’s a lie. I do. All. The. Time.
If you’re feeling like you’re “not enough”, you’re not alone. We all want to be good enough to succeed in a career and get affirmation on a job well done; good enough for that guy who just won’t give you his attention or approval; good enough for your family; good enough to live up to an amazing standard of beauty; to be strong enough, wise enough, creative enough, funny enough.
There are many times I don’t feel I quite measure up. Can you relate?
What’s funny though, is if you talk to honest people, most of them are feeling the exact same way, not that they’re the person that
has it all together and truly measures up – regardless of how beautiful, funny, or successful.
Feeling like you’re “not enough”
I remember hearing somewhere when I was young that even models and beautiful actresses had many insecurities and thought it sounded insane that someone with a perfect body could feel “not good enough”. But it’s true. As I attain more of my goals – physical and otherwise – I realize something can always be better. Yes, reaching goals has helped with greater confidence, both because of changing what I didn’t like and realizing how capable I can be. Still, it’s almost never enough.
Unfortunately, this is an endless pit. I used to think I didn’t make enough money, that I was “behind” many of my friends. When I started making more money, I still felt like I should be making more. When I felt I wasn’t far enough in my career and needed to hold a higher position – and then got a higher position – I still felt I couldn’t do a good enough job. When the scale lands at just the number I desire, I can just as quickly lose satisfaction by looking in the mirror and noticing something that could be tighter or flatter or more muscular.
When I set out for physical challenges like triathlons and placed 4th in my first one and 3rd in my second, somehow this nagging “couldn’t you get second though?” idea pops in. And while much of that is just a good old competitive spirit and desire to challenge myself and improve, it could get twisted to a place of trying to prove myself.
If you’re reading this, there’s a solid chance that, like me, body aesthetics may have been or still be the area that plagues you the most. My shoulders were never quite cut enough, my butt not big enough, my stomach not flat enough. I know I’m not alone in this because I train women, and regardless of shape or size, NO ONE is ever completely satisfied.
How Can I Feel Better About Myself?
There’s only one way to break free of this, and it’s not more cardio or eating less carbs or getting a boob job. We have to go to our Creator, who can set us free of insecurity and who always ensures that we are more than enough.
This is crucial, too, because it’s just as easy to feel that, spiritually, we are not enough. Whether you’re Buddhist and trying to be more free of earthly temptations, or Christian and trying to earn salvation, it’s common to feel as though we have to appease our God, because he’s always looking at us with judgement or pushing us to strive just a bit more.
Freedom from “Not Good Enough” comes from dwelling in the love of our Heavenly Father and recognizing the lies we’ve been fed so we can heal them with truth, like Ephesians 1:4-5:
“Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
The Truth About Who You Are
As I was driving recently and feeling less-than-wonderful about myself regarding one of the previously listed situations, God “spoke” to me in a soft impression in my mind, reminding me that I don’t have to be good enough for any human. That He’s the one that gives me life, both here and for eternity, the one that created me, the one that made me how he wanted me, and the one that died for me. His approval, he reminded me, is the only one I need.
Which I know in theory. Yet so often I stop right there – how can I please God? This time, he told me that he’s already made me good enough. He gave Jesus to stand in my place, so that when God looks at me, he sees me through the lens of Jesus. Perfectly holy, set apart, redeemed, made whole, and precious in his sight. Though he is my judge and the one I am accountable to, he’s already given me freedom and total acceptance.
In that moment, he said, “You don’t have to worry about being good enough. You already are. Be free.”
He is saying the same thing to you. He has made you accepted and worthy of love. You can be free from what “that person” thinks of you, and free to simply love without fear. They are not your judge, or your creator, or more full of truth than your Heavenly Father. Choose which voice to listen to, and embrace it!
And by all means, workout hard to improve those areas that bother you. Do a half marathon, Spartan race, triathlon, or join a local master’s swim team to challenge yourself. Keep going to your favorite spin classes that burns tons of calories and sculpts your legs. But don’t let those be the things that tell you you’re good enough, don’t endlessly strive for the “perfect body” because it doesn’t exist.
Practical Tips for Seeing Your Self-Worth
Ok, now what? The concept of receiving God’s love can often be mystical and hard to get from our brains to our hearts. Here are some tangible steps to take to help you on this journey, which have helped me overcome most of this issue in my life.
- Renew Your Mind. Try going through the 21 Day Detox by Caroline Leaf (not a sponsored link, just something I really like!) I’ve used it for this exact issue and it brought more freedom and healing than anything else I’ve tried. It’s a daily 7-minute practice that is essentially like counseling, helping you to see WHY you believe you’re not good enough and to get rid of those toxic thoughts and replace them with truth and freedom.
- Pray Before You Workout. Give your workouts to God, and ask him to help you see if and when you are using your workout as some sort of self-flogging or a way to prove yourself. Ask him to show you the way he sees you, and to help you see how strong and amazing you are. Be mindful as you train, aware of what you can do and how far you’ve come. Are you running a mile further than you used to? Do you see how much weight you’re lifting?! How amazing is your body that it can do all of the things you’re asking it to do?!
- Try Something New – and don’t compare yourself. Go to a yoga class or spin class; spend your whole workout in the weight section (or “man land”, as I call it) or on a hike with friends – something that maybe scares you a bit. When you hear those thoughts of intimidation, not being as good as someone else, afraid someone is looking at you and judging, tell them to shut up. Tell those lies to go away, and go back to #3 – notice what you’re doing and remind yourself that you are strong and courageous for taking a chance. And remember that pretty much everyone else is also consumed with what others are thinking – not paying attention to what you’re doing.
- Acknowledge Your Accomplishments. After your hike, or new workout, or anything really, reflect on what you did. Recognizing your accomplishments helps to build confidence and show you where your unique strengths lie.
- Spend Time with God. Like real time, not 5 minutes (although sometimes that’s enough for serious break through). Listen to worship songs about his love and ask him to speak to you. Read about his choosing you in his Word. Pray and ask him to speak, then journal any positive thoughts that come to mind. If they’re negative, they’re not from Him, so acknowledge them and tell them to go, then get back to letting him tell you how valuable you are to him.