How could you possibly think you’re not enough?

How could you possibly think you’re not enough? 

Do you tell yourself you’re not:

Attractive enough

Smart enough

Fit enough

Rich enough

Popular enough

Successful enough

Respected enough

Interesting enough

Funny enough

Positive enough

Good enough to be liked, loved, appreciated, and respected?

You are a flesh and blood, breathing human being. How could that not be enough when none of us knows what we’re here for except the biological imperative to procreate—and even that is an assumption.

Perhaps it’s time to take a deep dive into the difference between thinking you’re not enough and actually not being enough.

These days, whether you’re listening to a podcast, a meditation, or watching a YouTube video, the biggest topic is: I’m not enough. 

Just because you tell yourself you’re not enough or you have certain insecurities, as we all do, doesn’t mean you’re not enough. Enough for what? Enough to walk the earth? 

Whatever your age, if you’re reading this, you haven’t lived your whole life yet, so you have no idea what your ultimate purpose has been, even though you might have theories. One theory that definitely doesn’t help is to keep telling yourself you’re not enough. 

The idea of an ultimate purpose is a human construct, as is creating meaning in life. I happen to believe creating meaning is important, but that’s just a belief. I don’t have any proof. If you want to explore that concept further, check out Victor Frankl’s book: Man’s Search for Meaning.

It’s easy to feel inadequate if you spend a lot of time on socials, even the more seemingly benign ones. There’s always some underlying trope of comparison.

We already have a cerebral default that likes to jump to negative conclusions; it’s called the negativity bias, and it manifests in a variety of ways. These include assessing your internal and external environment for any signs of danger, criticizing yourself and others, and comparing yourself.

Once you know these are hardwired, you can be on the lookout for some of their pernicious effects. It’s also important to remember that we have these defaults because they have kept us safe enough to pass on our genes through millennia. 

Can comparisons be beneficial? They might be if you see them through a lens of self-compassion and keep the focus on yourself. Comparing yourself can have an upside if you’re noticing positive changes but comparisons often lead to misery. See piece here called: Compare to Despair (https://holisticdivorcecounseling.com/compare-to-despair/)

Twelve-step programs advise you to “fake it ‘til you make it.” Acting as if you’re enough can shift your cognitive gears and allow you to ditch the irrational idea that you’re insufficient in some way. How might your life be different if you woke up tomorrow morning and suddenly believed you were just as worthy as anyone else? If you would like to journal on that idea, here are some other questions to ask yourself:

How would I know if I were enough? 

What would be different in my life? 

How would I feel if I believed I was enough? 

What would change in how I view myself and others if I assumed everybody was enough, since I have no way of knowing my worth or anyone else’s?

What if I spend today believing I’m enough and observe how that feels?

Whatever your history and current circumstances, you are enough of a human being to have existential value. Thinking anything else is simply counterproductive and massively unhelpful.

Furthermore, by what standards are you judging whether you have value except by arbitrary marketing propaganda you believe from the media? It’s easy to buy into that rhetoric, even if you’re not saturated with social media, as it’s in the air you breathe…unless you’re living completely off the grid. In addition, the very people who work to make you feel inadequate are trying to sell you something to help you fix that!

The GDP benefits from having people feel unattractive, unsuccessful, and not good enough. That way, you buy more products that will supposedly make you feel better about yourself.

Swimming against the tsunami of information designed to encourage self-criticism takes a deep commitment to developing a better relationship with yourself. While that requires a lot of energy and resolve, it can be done. 

Certain childhood experiences might predispose you to believe you are not enough, which is why some people—especially women—find themselves over-giving, over-doing, over-efforting, and taking on too much responsibility.

In addition, some folks grew up in families where they were the designated caretaker. If that’s your history, your identity and a good portion of your self-worth may be based on giving of yourself until you’re burned out.

You may have noticed how some of your behaviors add to feeling depleted and not enough. These may include controlling tendencies, perfectionism, OCD, and a bushel of do-goodism. If those habits are familiar to you, please understand they didn’t come from nowhere. Being an obedient child, a caretaking adult, a super reliable friend, family member, and employee was set in motion a long time ago. Our society reinforces it when it consistently praises women for overdoing everything. Of course, this way of navigating life is not just limited to women, many men have similar tendencies.

If you grew up in a household where you didn’t feel safe, seen, heard, or valued, it’s easy to want to create an adult environment where you feel, at a minimum, safe and have some sense of control. It’s hard, but with effort, time, and patience, you can create that. Not 100% of the time, but enough to help you feel that you’re enough.

Since nobody knows why we’re here, you may as well assume that you’re enough. The idea that you’re not enough to walk the earth and have a place at this crazy feast called life, is simply irrational. 

Copyright Nicole S. Urdang

Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.