Throughout my clinical work and research, there has been a common experience among individuals of not being good enough. There is often this sense that we must change ourselves (appearance, behaviors, beliefs) in order to adhere to this dominant culture. This hinders our ability to authentically be ourselves when we are busy trying to be what others expect us to be. Instead of being critical of ourselves, we must be critical of this dominant culture and the values that disconnect us from others, but most importantly from our authentic selves. The dominant culture tells us what beauty looks like, what a woman acts like, and what expectations we must reach; when in reality, there is no definite measurement of any of these things. Beauty, gender roles, and gender expectations are social constructs that society often creates to inform us of what is expected from us. However, these expectations are often times unrealistic and create this shameful feeling that we are not good enough. Society is always wanting to change us, and at times we get wrapped up into these expectations because we learn that is just how things are. It is important that our lives are based on how we want things to be, not on how society wants our lives to be. Often times we feel obligated to enter into relationships, have kids, have a certain career; because this is what society says we are supposed to do. What society often lacks to inform us is that these life decisions will look completely different for everyone, and different does not equate to inadequacy. We are never less than due to being different from others, and we should not be made to feel as if we are less than.
When we feel we are not enough, we are preventing ourselves from living within our authentic selves. Believing we are not enough, or unworthy, changes our thoughts and our behaviors. We think and act in ways that reinforce this message of not being enough. We begin to attract negative people into our lives, because they will also reinforce you not being good enough by treating you in ways less than you deserve. We settle for less within our careers and opportunities due to believing we are incapable of anything else. We become unhappy with our choices and lives, but feel incapable of making any positive changes. Living authentically requires you to decrease this feeling of not being good enough. Decreasing this feeling will decrease the negative aspects within your life that are preventing you from truly doing what you desire. When we are able to see our worth, we only invite things into our lives that will reinforce this worth. We enter into positive relationships, we strive for new opportunities, and we make necessary changes that will continue to allow for our positive growth. We understand that we will not be able to reach everyone’s expectations of us, and we do not feel any less of a person because of that. We are worthy and we are enough just the way we are. Think of the areas in your life that you may be feeling less than. Sometimes it can take a while to truly accept and embrace our perceived flaws. But when you are able to let go of this feeling of not being enough, you can begin to be authentically you, who is worthy and always enough.