What Does It Mean To Be “Good Enough”?

What Does It Mean To Be “Good Enough”?

We all want to be good enough. But for who? And what does it mean to be “good enough”?

On Thursday evening, I tweeted: “I had a really weird moment today when I thought to myself, “if I died tomorrow and I’d spent my whole life hating myself, would that have been a good use of my time?” So much energy channelled into tearing myself apart. Seems like a waste. Tiny step in the right direction.”

The thought I’m referring to came to me in the middle of my self care afternoon. It caught me off guard because my self care sessions are, ideally, a time when I don’t think about anything at all. Yet, there I was, cup of tea in hand, Netflix on the TV and one deep thought popping up to say hello.

During the course of my life, I have put a lot of energy into disliking myself. More than anybody knows, and more than I even care to admit. It really does seem like such a waste. I could have used that time and effort for so many other things. Now, just because I have realised this doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly made the switch to loving myself, but it did feel good to recognise that it’s a pointless pattern of behaviour.

It’s not exactly new information. My counsellor pointed this out to me – several times, in fact – but I think some things sit in our heads until we are ready for them. She told me that it wasn’t achieving anything. I heard her, but I didn’t process it. It stayed in there, somewhere, ready to resurface.

Now, here we are.

What Does It Even Mean To Be “Good Enough”?

That one thought has since spiralled into a whole bunch of others, which is why I’m writing about it.

Like, at what stage would I think I was “good enough”? What would make anyone “good enough”?

I don’t know if I would ever consider myself to be “good enough”. With that in mind, is it even worth the energy trying to pursue it? Maybe I need to learn to accept myself as I am, right now, and view anything else as a bonus.

If I can be sure of anything, it’s that there will always be something to worry about. My teeth. The number on the scales. The fact I’m an introvert. How my voice sounds. Feeling childish. My wobbly thighs. Wearing glasses. These, amongst many others, are some of the things I have spent time mulling over and wishing I could change. (Okay, I actually DID change my teeth through the wonders of orthodontics, but I’m 100% cool with that choice.)

Not a single one of those things makes me a bad person. I’m not a bad person and I KNOW that. I have done things I’m not proud of. I have made mistakes along the way, but I have a good heart. When I do something wrong, I try to learn from it.

Every day, I try my best. I don’t go out of my way to make others feel bad. Quite the opposite, in fact. I do what I can to make other people happy. I am loving, caring, thoughtful and generous. In reality, I have a lot of qualities I should be proud of, but, for some reason, I’d rather analyse the bad bits under the microscope.

I don’t love my body, but it’s the only one I’ve got. It makes magical things happen. My eyes have seen beautiful sunsets. I have fingers to type. My arms held my nieces when they were born. My legs take me places. All in all, my body, regardless of how it looks, is doing a good job.

Colourful tins with notebook and pen

Who Are We Trying To Be “Good Enough” For?

At some stage in my life, I wanted to be “good enough” for boys. Maybe just my peers in general, actually. I wanted to be skinny enough and pretty enough and cool enough so that they would like me. Personally, I don’t think that’s unusual. I really thought I’d grow out of it, though, to tell you the truth.

Yet, now, here I am, with a man who loves me completely, and I’m still fixated on this idea of being “good enough”. I am enough for him as I am (which is what I should have always been aiming for but it doesn’t seem so straightforward when you’re a teenager!). He loves me whether I’m happy, sad, gobbling a pizza, singing out of tune or taking up all the space in the bed. He doesn’t care what the scales say. I can act like an idiot around him and it makes absolutely no difference. He loves me unconditionally, and it’s wonderful.

I was good enough for my parents from the second I was born, because I was theirs. They have never done anything to make me think otherwise. My siblings have always supported me. I am good enough for them because we are family. That’s all that matters.

When it comes to friends, I don’t have many, but the ones I have build me up. They don’t try to change me. They are my friends because they like me as I am.

These are the people who matter, and I am enough for them. If I was different, would I even be fortunate enough to have these people in my life?

I Have Always Been Enough.

There have definitely been people who have made me feel otherwise. I have had some awful things said to me, but how long can I allow that to shape the person I am today? Most of it was so long ago now, yet I’m still allowing it to linger.

Besides, of everyone I’ve ever met, do you know who has been the most unkind about me?

Me.

I’m always so hard on myself. And I’m tired. I mean, jeez, if someone else said the things to me that I say to myself, they certainly wouldn’t be allowed to stick around in my life.

I am so fixated on the idea that I could be better. I’m a perfectionist. I’ve put myself on an impossible path here. I’m stretching out for something I will never reach. Nobody will. I know there will always be something else that I feel I’m not doing quite right. Some things, I could change, and maybe I will. But I’ve got to let this pressure go.

There’s a John Mayer lyric (isn’t there always?) which is “what about this feeling that I’m never good enough? Will it wash out in the water, or is it always in the blood?” I think about it a lot. I can’t say if I’ll ever be comfortable in my own skin. There’s a long way to go before the inner torment ends. But, I would like to think that day will come, and I am one step closer.

As for you…

You Are Good Enough.

Right now, in this moment, you are enough. I want you, if you can, to give yourself permission to accept that. And if you can’t, then ask yourself the above questions. If you were “good enough”, what would that look like, and who would it be for?

Don’t chase “good enough”. Just be good and let that be enough.

Somewhere in the future, you may try to change things about yourself. That’s a choice you have every right to make. But I hope you make it because you know it will improve something which is already wonderful.

I hope you can embrace yourself as you are because, until you learn to do that, I don’t know if you’ll ever be “enough” for yourself. You will continue chasing and trying and pursuing and it won’t matter. Until you stand up and say “I’m enough”, you are always going to be searching for better.

You have always been enough.

 

One day, we are all going to die. It’s not a nice thought. I actually have a very intense phobia of death and dying so I do my best not to think about it. But I think your life begins the moment you realise it will end. That we don’t have an unlimited amount of time. We just have the here and now. We must use that time wisely.

And, I don’t about you, but I can think of a whole load of things that are more fun than picking out our flaws and setting impossible standards. It won’t be easy, but let’s try to just get on with living. Celebrating who we are, in all our flawed, odd, imperfect glory. Filling our heads, hearts and lives with good stuff. Anything else is just a waste of time.

What Does It Mean To Be Good Enough?

Who Are We Trying To Be Good Enough For?
Is It Ever Possible To Be Good Enough?
Tired Of Feeling Like You're Not Good Enough?

26 Comments

  1. 11th March 2019 / 11:46 am

    I love this. Being ‘good enough’ is something I’ve spent so long mulling over & I’ve wasted so many days loathing the person I am & wishing I could be anyone else. I don’t think it always helps when growing up that you are told you are good at this or not good at that and if you just try a little harder you will be good enough to get into college or uni, or good enough to get a job. It’s certainly something I’ve been battling recently, that thought that I’m not good enough for any writing job. It’s tricky, but I was taught by someone that if the things I am saying about myself are things I wouldn’t ever dream about saying to someone else, then they’re thoughts that aren’t worth spending time on.

    Cordelia || cordeliamoor.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:00 pm

      I think you’re right there! We’re kind of raised to be competitive and want to be the best and to push harder when we’re not. But just so you know, you are definitely good enough for a writing job and I’m not just saying that because I love you 😉

  2. 11th March 2019 / 5:30 pm

    No matter who we are or what we achieve, our lives will be filled with ups and downs. We will have moments where we question all of the same things you just outlined. The key is to keep picking yourself up and keep going. You’re life has a purpose. Based on what I’ve seen, you have more than proven that you are good enough for anything you want to accomplish or be in life.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:01 pm

      Thank you very much, Marc. That is such a kind comment. 🙂

  3. 11th March 2019 / 6:03 pm

    It’s a great question, Ruth. What is ‘good enough’?
    I struggled with this concept for a long time. I subconsciously believed I wasn’t good enough and even though, in retrospect, I proved to myself time and time again, that I was, I didn’t see it at the time.
    The belief of not being good enough was so deep. Not a good enough student, not a good enough wife, not a good enough mother, not a good enough person.
    But when I looked at my life and really started to become aware of the need to love myself, I started to see all the things I’d achieved. All that I had overcome. In the end – it’s really quite simple. Are you doing the best you can with what you have at this time? Then you are enough. It helps to take away the ‘good’ and just be enough. You are enough. ‘Good enough’ tends to lead us to the connotation of good or bad. Instead, let’s just be enough. Just being us is enough. It helps to tell yourself this every day as a little reminder, especially when that niggly little voice called ‘Doubt’ starts nattering on!
    Love and hugs x Shelley

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:02 pm

      Beautifully said, Shelley! I’m so glad to know you are learning to love and appreciate yourself as you are.

  4. 11th March 2019 / 6:24 pm

    Such a heart felt post and so lovely! This post is going to help so many people. It’s so true about wasting time with negative thoughts and feelings. Although it’s easier said than done, to always have that thought in the back of your mind when you are being negative towards yourself will helpful. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post Ruth ❤️Xxx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:03 pm

      Thank you, Lauren 🙂

  5. 11th March 2019 / 6:38 pm

    I really struggle with these feelings as well. Thanks for writing this, next time I’m struggling I can look back on it 🙂

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:04 pm

      Sorry to hear you struggle with them, too. It’s definitely not fun but I’m glad I’ve given you something to look back on when they start creeping up again.

  6. 11th March 2019 / 7:23 pm

    Very interesting and helpful post (as usual, I might add).

    We (I) often think that others are responsible for setting impossible standards, and they might be, to a certain extent, and that’s very convenient somehow. It prevents us from realising how insanely hard we are on ourselves.

    The things I ask of my mind and body (and fail to receive) are almost comical at this point.

    As you said, it’s one thing to realise how the process works and another thing to actually dismantle it!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:06 pm

      Thank you, Kate! I’m with you on the borderline comical side of things. The things I expect from myself can be just completely ridiculous (but, of course, I never realise that until a little while later…)

  7. 11th March 2019 / 8:52 pm

    That was a very deep post and I appreciate you letting us into your mind for a bit and revealing your own struggles. It definitely is a valid thing we should all take time to think about – who are we trying to be “good enough” for? Why do we find a problem with that aspect of ourselves? Learning to analyze ourselves this way will probably really help us find some inner peace. Thank you so much for sharing this Ruth! <3

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:06 pm

      Thank you for such a lovely comment, Geraldine! 🙂

  8. Virag Szabo
    11th March 2019 / 9:31 pm

    Hey hey Ruth, first of all I am sending you a big hug. Thank you so much for sharing this, it felt like I’m reading about my self. We are not alone with our struggles. It came at the perfect time to remind me what self love means, and that I am enough. I always remind my self when it comes to self love and being enough that how I talk to my self and treat my self would I do the same to my inner child? Because we often forget about this. And the answer is no. We have to love yourself, take care of our self, like we would do with a child. But in this running and competitive world it can be difficult. Because we want to be like others
    But we don’t need to be. We are unique and that is our power. Sending you so much love.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:08 pm

      Absolutely! That’s a beautiful perspective to have, so thank you for sharing. 🙂 Sending a big hug right back to you. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone.

  9. 12th March 2019 / 1:31 am

    Well-said, and again another wonderful message I needed to hear struggling with my own good enoughs. Ones that seem to be a recurrent theme in my life such as “good enough” in writing, working, in almost everything I think this one time or another. So, I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one and your point on never achieving that makes sense. I also enjoyed reading how you reflected on the people who will always believe you are good enough and realized that of all those, you were the hardest on yourself. This is so true, and perhaps why it’s so hard to let go of this belief because we are our own worst critics. Over-all, glad that you are working towards being good enough or enough for yourself and being kinder on you. Thanks for sharing.

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:09 pm

      I think you’re right about that being the reason it’s so hard to let go. We can’t escape ourselves, after all, so if we have these thoughts, they follow us everywhere. Thank you for lovely comment, Kylie, and I hope you know that you are enough, too.

  10. Sheila Anderson
    12th March 2019 / 12:51 pm

    Once again Ruth a very thought provoking article. I know I have often wondered if as a mother, wife, mother-in-law, sister, cousin and friend am I “good enough” after many years I realised I have done my best. If I have ever not been “good enough” it is in the past and I need to learn from it and pick myself up dust myself down and keep going. All I will say to you love is I am glad you have realised this earlier than I did. Here’s to you a wonderful caring person whom I am so proud off and I am proud to say you are my daughter. God Bless You Sweetheart Lots of love and hugs from the Motherbear!

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:11 pm

      Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but you’re the best mum I could have wish for. And, in my eyes, one of the best people to grace this planet because you are so kind, caring and wonderful. We need more people like you. I love you very much.

  11. 12th March 2019 / 2:46 pm

    Ahh I absolutely love this!! Im so incredibly lucky that Ive never had the urge to be “good enough”. I just am. If you don’t like it, you dont like it, and that’s not something Im going to change. I absolutely love how positive this is, and I know so many people who could do with hearing these words, so Im definitely going to share this post! Mind you, I do often think Im not good enough in other senses. Good enough to make my blog or youtube channel succeed and become and income. Good enough to find my dream job. More than anything though, I think I don’t deserve it. I feel like I don’t deserve half of the things in my life. Like I dont deserve to live my life the way Id want to. Loved this post!! xx

    http://zoe-ware.com

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:12 pm

      Thank you, Zoe! I’m glad that you’ve managed to avoid this particular struggle, but I know what you mean about not deserving the life you want. I think that’s always somewhere in my mind and it holds me back a lot. But you are amazing and I believe you could do anything you wanted to!

  12. 13th March 2019 / 5:03 am

    I was tearing up at the ending. I always think I’m never going to be good enough. I blame myself for people leaving me, for opportinities being taken back, for being my age and still have nothing to be proud of (in my mind anyway). It’s hard to live with a brain that will tell me how flawed I am and that I will always be treated like sh*t because I am not good enough. 😢

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      13th March 2019 / 4:16 pm

      All of those thoughts and feelings sound very familiar. But, I hope you can eventually realise that it’s not your fault – particularly in regards to how other people treat you. I know that’s incredibly difficult, especially when it’s been so long with the same old horrible thoughts whizzing around, but you are enough. I promise.

  13. 13th March 2019 / 7:55 pm

    I need to come back and read this every day! I really love the opening paragraphs especially, it’s so true that beating yourself up gets you absolutely nowhere. It’s really heartbreaking thinking about all the time I’ve wasted insulting myself when I could’ve been improving my life elsewhere. It is so difficult to love yourself and I think we’re all on a journey! I hope one day I can fully love myself. Brilliant post, Ruth!
    Alice Xx

    • ruthinrevolt
      Author
      19th March 2019 / 2:04 pm

      I often wonder how much time it would actually amount to if I added it all up… I hope you learn to fully love yourself, too. Thank you so much, Alice! 🙂

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