Judgment isn't just for heaven and hell; everything in life seems to weigh in on where each of us rank against each other.
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Nobody's perfect, right? We all know this, and yet when we fall short of our own expectations it causes great distress. Not feeling "good enough" prevents us from taking opportunities, loving ourselves, and generally being at peace in the moment. It's a fairly common bar to happiness and enlightenment for a lot of people.
That feeling can also cause us to do things we wouldn't even think of otherwise. Restrictive dieting, body mutilation, pursuing classes or careers we don't enjoy, buying things we don't need or want, and much more are attempts to earn being "good enough" in someone else's eyes.
But it's never 'enough,' is it? Because that feeling remains.
A Psychological Perspective
Karyl McBride wrote on Psychology Today that the "not good enough" message often starts with dysfunctional family environments. When parents don't take care of their own happiness and emotional needs, their child will come to rationalize their own behavior as being the solution. All children need love, and will adapt to stressful environments however they can to meet that need. When parents are too wrapped up in their problems to provide compassion, simple accidents and mistakes a child makes become distorted messages: when this happens, I am not good enough.
That message compounds over time, and solidifies in adulthood as a belief that to be "good enough," we must do things to make others happy. If we are successful at this, we expect to be loved - but typically we lose sight of loving our true selves in the process.
Overcoming The Dysfunction
Every path has a different method, but they all get to the same place: love yourself, and be comfortable in your body and mind as you are. Sounds simple, right? One important mind-breaker I've learned is that simple doesn't always mean easy.
Meditating on feelings of inadequacy to understand where the thought originated will cause your mind sink into the feeling further. Focusing on the thought "I'm not good enough" is likely to generate supporting 'reasons' or memories to justify it. Understanding where the feeling came from in your life may seem to help if you can remember a time without it, but for one very simple fact: you cannot go backwards. Those memories won't help undo the message.
The Spiritual Way
Most spiritual masters advise reinforcing the belief that you are already enough as a solution. For instance, check out this amazing tweet from Deepak Chopra last week. Focusing on a mantra of being perfectly imperfect and whole the way you are right now is a great way to begin replacing the damaging belief with a more helpful one.
Meditation in general can be helpful as well, as it brings your awareness to the present moment. As you become more rooted in 'now,' you will have a better view of your actions and judgments. The more you choose what feels right and good, the more powerful the idea that you are right and good becomes.
As you meditate, remember that reality is exactly the way it should be - including you. You are who you are, and that is precisely what makes you fantastic. You are enough, you are good, and you belong. Identify those that love you as you are, and follow their lead. Nobody can love you like you can!
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