One of the top stressful thoughts of the whole year that people have shared with me has been “I am not good enough.”
There may be slight variations, like just “I am not enough” or “I don’t have enough” of something.
Or the big dramatic way to put it “I WILL NEVER, NEVER, EVER BE ENOUGH!”
Enough is an interesting word. I’ve used it a lot myself.
Not being or having enough of something can be so, so stressful. And usually, the stress comes right alongside the thought…practically instantly. Without the thought being questioned.
There I am, living my life, and someone I care about sees me, or hears me say something, or watches me, or encounters me, and something happens, and it seems like they are not pleased.
Something went wrong! Things naturally are supposed to be easy, sweet and kind…right?
Or I myself have images in my head of how grand life would be if only I got it together, stopped doing “x”, started doing “y”, changed some things about myself. In other words, some improvements could definitely be made in the department of ME.
Or I notice that I want something, or someone close to me wants something, and the thing that is wanted is in short supply (money, time, attention, love, connection).
With all these things, there is something MISSING. Not enough of something.
It is good to spend some time in inquiry, asking yourself, when you have these “not enough” thoughts just what exactly you believe is absent. Like what are the qualities, the feelings, you think aren’t here?
What would you have, if you had enough of that thing, or that person, or that substance?
If I really had “enough” money, I would relax, kick back, read more than I already do, watch more good movies, not get up quite as early, travel more, go to more workshops and lectures, fix parts of my house, do more no-fee work with the community, take a writing break to finish my book, contribute to the scholarship fund.
And what would I have, if I had THAT? Awareness, knowledge, fun, connection, security, meaning, rest.
If you were good enough, what would you actually be? How would you feel?
I love when Byron Katie responded to a woman who said “I’m not good enough”. She asked “Good enough for what?!”
It’s like there are our own images floating around showing us pictures of what it COULD be like, how things COULD be better, how it COULD have gone much more smoothly, how we COULD have not made that mistake or blunder.
Images of better versions of life, of me, of the people I know, of the world.
And a big chasm between the two. Oh that gap! So annoying! Why can’t we just get over THERE in that beautiful better scene? JEEZ!
“Let’s suppose that rain washes out a picnic. Who is feeling negative? The rain? Or YOU? What’s causing the negative feeling? The rain, or your reaction? When you bump your knee against a table, the table’s fine. It’s busy being what it was made to be–a table. The pain is in your knee, not the table. The mystics keep trying to tell us that reality is all right. Reality is not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind.” ~Anthony De Mello.
When I bump up against the image of a more perfect, better version of myself that would be “enough”, or I bump up against the idea that this reality, with this much money, is not adequate…when I bump up against some vision of what I want and I believe I can’t have it, or I can’t feel peaceful without it…whenever I think there is not enough of something…Good News.
It’s in my own fearful thinking. I am only believing that without this thing or essence or person that I want, I am not happy. Without some improvement, I am not happy.
So, my mind is doing this: I am not quite good enough….I need more goodness or skill or awareness, I need to be better at “x” than I already am, I need to fix myself or there will be a long drawn-out life of suffering and unhappiness and never becoming enough.
Is that true? Are you sure?
“True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking. That is the way out.”~ Michael Singer in The Untethered Soul
That voice that considers everything and comments on it not being enough, including YOU…it is only a voice. We all have it.
But we can also all take a look at it. It’s such a drama queen, have you noticed? So serious!
Who would I be without the thought that there’s not enough? This is REALLY imagining that it’s not possible to not have enough, if you couldn’t even have that idea.
I would feel so excited, aware, relaxed. I would feel secure, joyful, peaceful. Open to whatever is next. Silent. Pleased. Waiting. WOW.
Who knows what could happen with this state of mind.