Whether we can articulate it or not, most of us struggle with this question at some point: am I enough? We are surrounded by a culture that tells us we have to be beautiful enough or strong enough, thin enough or creative enough or smart enough or good enough, and we never are. The bar is set too high.
If you’ve found yourself struggling with being enough, take some time to think about these questions.
How will I know when I’m enough?
One problem with this is that this “enough” bar is never truly set. The bar is always changing and always moving higher and it is always just out of reach. We find ourselves striving to reach this standard of pretty enough or funny enough or intense enough, only to find that when we get there’s a new standard to reach.
Who am I giving the power to decide when or if I’m enough?
Another problem is that we are relying on others (and almost always on random strangers) to determine whether or not we are enough. We care so much about what others think of us, we want so badly to be accepted and loved by them, that we spend energy trying to be worthy of it, by being fit enough or interesting enough or exciting enough. We are giving these friends or family members or strangers the power to decide when we’re finally enough, finally worth it, but why do they get to decide? What if we could decide for ourselves when we’re enough?
Where am I finding my value?
At the root of the “enough” questions, it comes down to self-worth and self-value. We want to know that we mean something, that we are wanted and worth loving and that we belong someplace. We get conflicting messages every minute of every day about what makes us special or important, and we learn from a young age that intelligence and beauty and awards and touchdowns and medals are all parts of the social currency that gives us value.
The standards are an Illusion
Sometimes it’s helpful to consider these questions just to give us a little bit of perspective. Sometimes we need to take a step back and see that this “enough” standard is an illusion, and to realize that we’re allowing, even asking, others to pass judgment on our worth. It can be sobering to consider where we believe our value comes from. And that’s is a question that so many of us struggle with, and ultimately have to discover for ourselves. For now, though, let me leave you with this:
You are enough. You always have been and always will be worth it. You have inherent value, value that doesn’t change even when you and your life do. Your enough-ness is set, and even as you win awards or gain weight or fail an exam or graduate valedictorian, you will never be more or less “enough” than you are right now.
If you are struggling with feelings of worthlessness or being overwhelmed, trying to meet the impossible standards, trying to be enough, please reach out to someone. I would be honored to meet with you to explore these challenges and work to instill a sense of true self-worth.
Written by therapist Clair Miller
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