What is good enough ?

As a writer, many times I’ve wondered if I am good enough at what I do.

I can remember the first journalism award I won through the state press association. In reality, I felt I was undeserving and there were far better writers out there than I.

Going back in time, I remember asking myself, “I just got lucky, right?”

It was at that point I felt the pressure of having to prove to myself it wasn’t luck. I thought of so many ways to downplay the first-place award … luck, maybe many didn’t enter — although my entry was in one of the larger divisions of the associations — and many other reasons I wasn’t deserving of the award.

The next year, I won again in the same category and same division, as well as the following year afterwards — three consecutive years.

But, did I ever stop to think I was good enough? A resounding no.

As the years passed, that first-place award was the driving factor to winning many more. Today, some 20 years later, I still have not come to grips with the accolades.

From one standpoint, I could say it was that first award that gave me the drive to be better, but on the other hand, my inner self told me I was nothing more than a mediocre writer that got lucky.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I know where my negative thoughts of any accomplishment I’ve received through life stems from.

Yes, this is kind of self disclosure. I write from a personal standpoint to emphasize the importance of the issue today, simply because it does flow through other parts of our lives many do not understand about those that feel the same.

Many struggle with the same kinds of thought, which ultimately affects many other aspects of their lives, especially relationships with significant others and children.

The thought or feelings of never being good enough at something can lead to a negative perception of oneself and can also affect the way we interact with the ones you love.

I belive it is part of the reason I don’t celebrate birthdays, but I like saying Happy Birthday to others. The same applies to other holidays; I like giving presents to others, but don’t like receiving presents.

If you believe you aren’t good enough, you can never accept being happy. If you feel like the love you have for someone isn’t good enough, you might not be able to accept being loved … the effects go on and on … until you’re not even good enough for yourself … which leads to other things, such as depression and loneliness.

It is a destructive cycle.

Ending the cycle begins with instilling a good, loving sense of self in our children and nurturing that sense of self though every phase of their lives.

Going back to my sports editor and coaching days, I am not saying every child should get a trophy. I would never advocate that.

There are more ways to motivate children, regardless if they are athletes. I used “I can tell you really worked hard this year, but they (insert team) were the better team this year.”

Letting a child know their work is recognized doesn’t instill a sense of entitlement, rather, it instills a sense of accomplishment through hard work with the trophy being the culminating “prize” and sense of a greater accomplishment.

Every negative word we speak to a child has lasting negative effects and the more negative words spoken, the bigger toll it takes.

I still struggle with the “am I good enough” train of thought in almost every aspect of my life, but it is something I work on every day.

It has affected many aspects of my life, even as late as today, but I also know that while I may still doubt myself at times, I have chosen to recognize it for what it is – a byproduct of negativity and something I have remain vigilant on so I can lessen the effects.

It is also important to let your significant other in on your thoughts about the issue, so they don’t have to try to guess your feelings of inadequacy.

If you don’t feel like you are good enough, re-evaluate. Focus on your positive attributes and try not to question yourself. Everyone is worthy of having a good life and feeling good about themselves, relationships and accomplishments.

Find that little crease of light in the darkest corner of your mind … it is there where you will find a way out of the darkness and a way to shine.

 

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