Not Good Enough

Not Good Enough. Ever feel that way? I know I do. Often. Too often. In fact, it is quite possibly the bane of my existence. Well, maybe not the bane of my existence but it is the thing that I have the hardest time shaking and always has been.

When that feeling hits me, I do a little internal search. Why? Why do I feel that way? Is there some deep, dark secret or a devastating buried memory that makes me feel that way? But then, logic never helps when it comes to things like that, does it? It seems the bad feelings, the feelings of inadequacy and non-deserving-ness (yes, I just made up a word) don’t come from a place of logic. They come from a place of feelings. Bad feelings.

But where do those come from? Other people? Did somebody give me a sour look when I was four and had just completed my master mud pie? And did that somehow crush a tiny piece of my soul, which I’ve been trying to get back ever since? Or has it just been a steady and continual erosion over the years. A look here, a word there?

Or worse, does it come from inside me? Just my own self-destructive alter ego, vying for time and attention? It seems I have lots of questions about this but very little in the way of answers.

I sometimes think that that is why I became a writer. To solve the feelings of ‘not good enough’ – as though I believed that if I could just write it out the feelings would evaporate. Never to be seen or heard from again. And in a way, I suppose it’s worked. When I was a kid and I got upset, the first thing I would do was write a poem or a story to work out the feelings or upset. Sometimes it would help and others it would drive me further into the sense of despair and hopelessness. No matter, I still write to some degree for that reason. Though mostly I write because I have something inside of me that needs to get out. It is constantly seeking new and silly ways to get out too. From stories to poems to haikus to jokes, to wise-ass remarks.

I sometimes marvel at this thing. What is it? Where did it come from? Does it belong inside of me or should we see if the zoo has a space for it? Then it ocurs to me that maybe it’s just me trying to get out. Just me, saying, ‘Pay attention to me. I am worthy. I matter.’

The truth is I will probably never know – no matter how much I try. No matter how much I want to know. I will never figure out why I sometimes feel I’m just not good enough. How about you?

WC

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21 thoughts on “Not Good Enough

  1. You are good enough. Try stomping out those feelings.

    BTW, I know it might be hard to believe but I suffer from the flip side of that coin.

    LOL, Evyl. I wish I had your affliction instead of mine. πŸ™‚
    Annie

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  2. This is my area of expertise- self loathing.
    My mother tells me i was always a sullen child.
    And my life has been a series of humiliations it seems.

    i know that i should not feel like i do about myself.
    It affects everything. i just cannot imagine me any different.
    It’s a part of who i am like my hands or my eyes.

    But damn! i have a billionty things to write about!
    i think if i didn’t write, i’d be much more destructive.

    i wrote ‘Mudder’ while my sister was here. She asked where it came from.
    i told her that while outside smoking, i rested my head in my palm and it came to me through that touch.
    To that, she replied that if she had that much emotion she would hang herself.
    i said, that’s why i write- so i won’t.

    Chica, i encourage you, and me, to search out and focus on what makes us wonderful.
    i think of you as a smart, funny, talented, kind, beautiful and thoughtful writer-woman.
    And i’m not just trying to make you feel better either. It’s true.
    This is what i’ve experienced of you.

    Oh Christine – what the heck is wrong with us? LOL. Maybe it just does go with the territory, eh and we just need to put up with it. I was surprised by your sister’s response to ‘mudder’ – I somehow can’t imagine not having all that emotion churning.

    hugs,
    Chica

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  3. Hi WC,

    I used to feel that way, then I became a farmer. Really, in my previous profession of computer programmer I had faith in my abilities in that limited scope, but in most other things I felt truly lost. However, in the past few years I have taught myself how to drive a tractor, repair said tractor, fell trees and cut fire wood with a chain saw, make modest repairs to our house, garden, cook well enough that several people have asked me to cater their parties or work in their restaurants, make wood sculptures, write well enough to get at least a few positive comments, make quite acceptable beer and wine, help my child get into a top college and then into a top law school, repeatedly host 20+ young people during hurricane evacuations from New Orleans (which is where he lives,) clean house as in moving the dirt outside and doing laundry, having the gumption to confront people who trespass on my land and making them leave with the implied, and actual, threat of violence, blogging, and, most importantly, cook BBQ that makes non-Southerners pass out at the first bite.

    The point of that list isn’t to toot my own horn, but to point out that, as the above started when I was 40, even if you don’t fell confident at the moment, although your writing suggests that you should, it’s never too late! I, for instance and it was the thing that kept me from going into a can’t-do-it coma when I had to take over a farm, was that, a year or three earlier, I decided to learn how to juggle. You should have seen the looks people around the work place were giving me as I flung bean-bags around! Still, I stuck to it, and within a few months I had several requests to perform at office birthday parties!

    In other words, the question shouldn’t be whether you’re good enough, but, rather, should be how good are you? I would bet that the answer will be pretty impressive.

    the Grit

    Hey Grit,
    Your background never ceases to amaze me. I had no idea that farming was something you had to learn (as opposed to growing up around it/into it) at mid-life. That’s amazing.

    As to how good am I? Honestly, it’s anybody’s guess.
    WC

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  4. Interesting. I think you are in the company of many. Many people they don’t feel they are good enough because of some external standard. My question to you is simply this, compared to what, are you not good enough? What expectation or better who’s expectation are you not meauring up to? Answer this question and you may find why you feel unworthy at times. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

    The thing is you do matter, you do make a difference in my life and many lifes, we are blessed to have you as a being in our prescence. I love your voice, your words!

    Hey Mark,
    Interesting question – but no answer really jumps to mind. Maybe nobody – or maybe some phantom critic I believe exists but I only dreamed up. Though, growing up, there were certain people I could never please, no matter what I did – maybe it’s a phantom of them?

    Thanks for saying I make a difference – I really appreciate that.
    Annie

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  5. Not good enough?
    We feel that way all the time.

    S&E

    Hey E/S!
    Really? Now you two strike me as the overly confident type. You never know how wrong you can be, eh? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  6. Ummmm yeah….I’d say I am having a “WC” day and I don’t feel “good enough”. Somuchso infact I went and talked to my pastor about it today because I am just never going to be “good enough”, “do enough”, “get it right enough”, etc. etc. etc.

    Expectations run high these days and I’m sure I’m not helping with the contributions.

    Hang in there, WC. We’ll make it through, we always do. We are more than survivors. (HUGS)

    Hey Sweetie,
    Okay, now don’t you go there. Seriously, don’t do it. You’re so talented and so capable that for you to think otherwise is just plain silly.
    Hugs,
    A

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  7. We all feel that, some just more than others. Try to focus on the things you do well and deserve props for.. Often times dwelling on the “bad feelings” only makes you think more of them..

    Good point, thanks.
    WC

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  8. Aw, WC, You many times cause me to ponder…and that’s a good thing (sometimes it’s a good thing.) πŸ™‚ I am not as eloquent as the others but many have said what I think we all feel. That you are more than good enough!

    I grew up feeling ‘not good enough’. Many would not have believed it as I had on my happy face most of the time. I too,like the Grit, attempted and struggled with things in adulthood that I knew nothing at all about but did it anyway (in my case, don’t know if it was for me to feel better about myself or for the praise of others, maybe both) I was in my 40’s before I began to realize I was o.k. not where I wanted to be but o.k. I still try to take on things I know zero about to learn and do, and I am still not where I want to be with them but you know, The older (or more interesting, I like to say) I get, the less I care if I am not good enough. I’m o.k.

    I think of you always for your kindness with me when I first started blogging. I loved and do love your blog. You responded enough to encourage me when you have no idea how much I needed it as I surely did not know what I was doing,am still learning. For that I love you and you are special to many. I have suffered from depression in the past and I know that a lot of mine was anger turned inward. I would not wish that on anyone.

    You are a mentor to many whether you know it or not. I join with others in saying that you are more than good enough! You are all that!

    Your #1 fan

    Aw, Ange, that has to be one of the nicest comments I’ve ever gotten on this blog. Thank you, so much. I had no idea you felt like you didn’t know what you were doing, as I was impressed with you from day one. You really do your homework on your posts and it shows- I continue to be impressed. And I’m glad you feel I’ve somehow helped you.

    Hugs,
    Annie

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  9. Reading your post was like reading something I might have written myself. That “something” inside of you that “needs to get out”? I believe that’s the creative drive that keeps writers writing, dancers dancing, musicians playing, etc. It’s your voice, the way you communicate with the world. Writing can be very therapeutic, too (some counselors actually “prescribe” it). Getting things out of your head and onto the paper or screen provides a release of sorts. Ordering your thoughts and feelings enough to get them out this way forces at least a modicum of self-examination. You’ll gain perspective and and new insights in rereading your stuff, days, months, or years later. Keep on writing, and keep on keepin’ on. (Hell, just being able to write means you’re smarter than the average person! Cheers! πŸ™‚

    Hey 30,
    LOL – just being able to writer means I’m smarter than the avg person? Cool, I guess that’s some consolation. Ah, the writer’s life, ain’t it grand? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  10. You know WC, i really feel you on this post. I get that way more often than not, i call it my “needy” self. I feel like i’m not good and require constant validation. It doesn’t always last long, but i hate it and don’t understand it. I’m glad to know i’m not alone i guess.

    Hey Bella,

    Yes, it is good that it doesn’t last too long – and for me, it happens when I feel frustrated. But I think we have to learn to replace that frustration with some sort of action – something that pulls us out of that place – that doesn’t have anything to do with chocolate or junk food. πŸ˜‰
    Annie

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  11. I feel that way sometimes, that I’m not good enough. It comes at the most bizarre times too, for instance; waiting in line at the post office, there is a beautiful woman in front of me with a brood of small kids and yet, she looks fabulous. I stare. I think, “She’s perfect. Perfect clothes, shoes, hair…Why can’t I look like that? I’ll bet her husband is so happy, she’s beautiful. She has kids and didn’t let her figure go to shit. Ugh.” Seriously! This is the commentary inside my pea brain. I stand, feeling ashamed a bit, I let my kids down, I let my husband down, they deserve better, blah-blah-blah. I forget about it and go on my way. This is just one little snippit mind you.

    *Here’s the kicker. If I’m at work, and let’s say I tell my co-worker “Dottie”, “Oh, I like your shirt, it’s cute!”, she’ll say “Oh, it barely fits I’ve gained so much weight, I look like a beached wale these days – ha! ha! ha!!” I INSTANTLY remark to Dottie “DON’T BE MEAN TO MY DOTTIE or I’ll KICK YOUR ASS!” – We laugh. I’ve been puzzled for years about WHY we would never say mean things to our parents, friends, loved ones but we tell ourselves bad things about ourselves every day? How does that make sense? In fact, I go out of my way to build people up, when I think highly of someone or something, I say it! I encourage, I am a cheerleader to others. And yet, I’m my own worst enemy at times.

    When I’m at my worst self-loathing state, I try try try to remember that *I am my mother and father’s DAUGHTER. How would I feel if one of my son’s or daughter were calling themselves names, picking themselves apart, and not feeling good enough? I’d be absolutely devastated. It would break my heart. I Wouldn’t want that for my kids, for anyone, and why should I do it to myself? I’ll keep working on it.

    You know, you’re right, Bella. We wouldn’t put up with anyone saying such things about our friends or family yet we say the worst things about ourselves. I wonder is it some sort of funky catholic thing? The ‘whip thyself to be worthy’ syndrome? You have to wonder.

    And btw, I’ve seen pictures of you – you’re gorgeous – so stop with the thinking the other lady is prettier. I’m sure it isn’t true.
    Hugs,
    Annie

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  13. You matter. And I seem to recall you cheering ME on when I once posted something similar! You are an amazing cheerleader. THANK YOU.

    Know that silly poem about what day you were born: “Thursday’s child is full of woe”. I was born on a Thursday and I can still feel how I felt when I heard that stupid saying. For some reason, I really internalized it! very strange… And it’s not like I believe in horoscopes and all that. Anyway.

    Define ‘the best you can be’ by your own definition and you will always be good enough. πŸ™‚

    Hey C!
    LOL – I wonder if we were both born on Thursday. I should check that out. Maybe astrology does explain everything. πŸ˜‰
    A

    PS: You’re not such a bad cheerleader yourself.

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  14. these guys said it all and you know how i feel.
    hang in there. maybe it’s the lunar phase or something.
    it’ll pass.

    at least that you know.
    kim

    Yep, lunar phases definitely pass. πŸ™‚
    A

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  15. It HAS to be the Catholic thing — there is a major post Annie. Ugh, the guilty Catholic.

    In a discussion, someone said to me; “Wanna know the difference between a Catholic and a Christian? A Catholic prays that he will make it to heaven’s gate when he dies but a Christian KNOWS he will fall into the arms of Jesus when his time comes. No question about it”.

    That really hit home for me.

    Yeah Bella, ain’t it the truth? What is with the special brand of Catholic guilt? I’ve always wondered about that.
    WC

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  16. A few years ago I happened to hear an invited lecture at a large conference. The speaker was a distinguished, tenured professor from a premier university. There was a lengthy introduction, during which many of her numerous awards, titles, fellowships, and the like were described. Then she took the microphone and admitted that to some degree, she had always felt like she had been faking it, that as a graduate student, as an assistant professor, and even now, she would sometimes get the nagging feeling that everyone around her really belonged and knew what they were doing, while she was just very good at putting up a facade. She went on to say how she had mentioned this at dinner the previous night, and a colleague of hers assured her, “Believe me, you are good enough.” And did she believe it? Perhaps. But that didn’t mean the feeling wouldn’t come back.

    Everyone has feelings of inadequacy sometimes. It’s a good thing, too, because otherwise the world would be full of braggadocios, and Ben and Jerry’s would go out of business.

    Hey QM,
    Wouldn’t it be ironic if what she thought were exactly opposite of what she thought? That she was the only one who deserved to be where she was and the rest were fakers? I wonder what she would think about that.

    The chances are probably high that she has friends or family around her who make her feel unworthy and she makes the mistake of believing them.

    WC

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  17. The ol’ Impostor Syndrome afflicts me more often than I’d like. And I can tell myself “And this is not my beautiful house” even while I’m writing out the check for the mortgage payment: it’s that deep-seated. I don’t have the panic attacks like I used to, but to get to that point I had to sell my soul, or at least some level of consciousness, to the benzos.

    Truth be told, I’d be suspicious of anyone who claimed to be completely immune to this sort of thing: you have to figure that Ivan the Terrible might not have suffered from self-esteem issues.

    Perhaps so – I guess a little self deprecation can be good for the ol’ soul, eh? πŸ˜‰
    WC

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  18. Thanks WC, if you take a peek at my secret place you’ll see I had a better Wed & Thur. πŸ˜€

    Hey Sweetie,
    I promise, I will look – soon. I have to just get a few more things done. Sorry. 😦
    A

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  19. I surely hope so. You won’t believe this but I’ve seriously been thinking of deleting my blog.
    For some reason, I’ve grown sick of it. I’m hanging on hoping it may
    be one of those lunar phases I was speaking of :).
    But it has a lot to do with what you discuss in this post. So I was thinking about it and maybe it is something innate, that we’re born with. Or maybe it’s something we develop. I don’t know.
    kim

    Hey Kimmie,
    I hear you. And yeah, I would believe it and I understand completely why you might feel that way. Shoot me an email.
    Annie

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