We all ask ourselves at some point in our lives (and at many points for some of us) whether or not we’re good enough – as parents, as spouses, as workers, as friends. Our brain seems to want us to answer this question about everything we do. We just need to know! Ironically, it’s not possible to know if we’re good enough. It’s subjective and everyone has a different opinion, so we just keep cycling the thought in our mind that we’re not good enough, continuing to let this thought rob us of our confidence and make us feel crappy.
The thing is, we need to change the question.
The question we need to ask ourselves is “what does success look like for me?” Once I define MY success that doesn’t depend on what other people do or think, answering this question with compassion towards ourselves can even be motivating.
As a mother, it is easy to feel not good enough. Comparing oneself to other parents and people on social media can cause a feeling of lacking, and even utter despair. We feel pressure to be perfect at everything – having perfect kids, a perfect body, an amazing marriage, a beautifully decorated and clean house, and healthy food on the table at 5:30pm every night. It’s unrealistic and no one can achieve that. So when we ask ourselves “how do I define a successful day as a parent?” and if we have realistic expectations the answer might look like “if I keep my kids alive and offer them the opportunity to eat food.” Accomplish any more than that and it’s a bonus! But if we say success as a parent depends on if our kids are well behaved, we will never feel good enough, because how our kids behave is something outside of our control.
But how does that help us foster confidence?
Well, imagine having a job where, after you have accomplished your goals for the day, instead of complimenting you, your boss berates you about all the jobs you didn’t get done that day. I would expect you would not want to stay in that job very long! But that’s essentially what happens when we don’t feel good enough. We don’t see what we’ve accomplished, only what we didn’t get to do. And then we have just proven to ourselves that indeed we don’t measure up and are not doing a good job.
How do you think that will affect us the next day? We will we feel motivated to accomplish more? To be kinder to ourselves? To feel good about our lives?
Whenever you feel yourself asking, “am I good enough?” try remember you can’t answer this question and to instead define what success looks like for you. Then when you get to the end of the day, look at yourself in the mirror and say “well done” or “good job today” or “I’m proud of you”. It might feel funny at first but you are the boss of you, so take this job seriously and see how it feels to be compassionate to yourself.