How to feel good enough
WOMAN, WIFE, MOTHER, GODDESS: how my role in society is slowly destroying my soul. I am good enough!
How it all started…
When I started University, young, carefree and blonde at the time, a charming man wearing a black shirt approached me in a nightclub. He wrapped his hands around my waist, looked deep into my eyes and told me I was “the woman of his dreams, the mother of his future children and the most incredible person” he’d ever met. He then screwed me in the dirty club toilets, which were littered with toilet paper, make-up and shattered glasses. Afterwards he said he would get us some drinks and then left me high and dry.
At the time, I honestly just wrote it off as a one-night stand.
His words meant nothing to me.
His actions were, between you and me, also not the greatest (I mean seriously, the toilets were minging).
But now, as a mother, as a wife who has had her fair share of sexual and spiritual encounters, as a woman finding her place in life, those words have awoken a few questions inside me.
And so this post is to address the struggles we face every day when we strive to be a woman, a mother, a wife, a goddess. Trying to do it all, wear all the hats, check off all the lists. And, at the end of the day, be good enough.
Let’s start by looking at that last part: be good enough.
What does “ good enough” even mean?
Good enough for who, for what?
Who are you fighting for?
So ask yourself right now:
Who are you trying to be good enough for?
Because if it isn’t you then, oh wow, you need to take a step back and re-centre. (Check out my MUMMYS_COMING)
I would like to break “good enough” into some bite-size parts that revolve around this societal concept of having to appease others and play some sort of role in this world. Don’t worry, I’ll circle back to my story at the end. We just need to be on the same page for the big bang finale.
We speak of ourselves poorly most of the time.
When did you last tell yourself that you’re great?
That you’re proud of yourself?
As little kids, before complex emotions and peer pressure clouded our judgement, we were confident. Sure, we had “big feelings” a lot too, but what others thought did not bother us.
Meanwhile, we try so hard to play so many roles and lose sight of ourselves entirely by doing so.
Self-love, self-confidence and self-worth
These words and concepts all start with the word self. Remember that. You are wanting to be good enough for yourself. And what that means, is up to you. Not what it means to Susan or Karen, only you.
Self-love: I am good enough for myself.
Here is Wikipedia’s definition of self-love, let it sink in a minute. Synonym: goddess.
“Self-love, defined as “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage”, has been conceptualized both as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with amour propre, conceitedness, egotism, narcissism, et al.”
It is a human necessity.
Self-care is a human necessity.
I’m not talking about a hot shower once a week. I’m talking about being kind to yourself, showing yourself the compassion you show others. We spend so much time taking care of little humans (or big humans), how about we take some time giving ourselves that love?
You know, how in airplanes, they tell you to put your oxygen mask on before helping other in case of an emergency?
Start. Putting. Your. Oxygen mask. On. First.
Easy ways to practice self-love:
- Stop comparing yourself. Especially on social media. Ugh.
- Make mistakes. If you don’t, how will you learn? How will you grow?
- Your value is not measured by your dress size. Yeah, read that again.
- Let go of things (and people) that don’t make you feel good.
- You come first (you know, the oxygen mask thing).
- Go to therapy! We’ll all need it (that generation trauma has a bit to go till we stop it in its tracks)
- Find magic in the small things (it’s not all about life goals, bake a cake or enjoy nature: that’s pretty special too!)
- Stop getting hung up on how your life is going and live it instead!
- Speak up! Don’t let others make you feel small. Be bold!
- Trust yourself. In most cases, it all turns out fine.
Self-confidence: my skills and talents are good enough.
Our confidence (especially women) is often clouded with feelings of shame and guilt. We can also be caught with a case of impostor syndrome, feeling phony, putting on a happy face when we’re actually dead inside.
You need to let go of the pretense that you have got where you are through sheer luck.
You have worked hard, you have survived.
Trust that those skills will manifest themselves and you will look back in another ten years and be in awe of all that you’ve achieved.
“Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well, and have a positive view of yourself. …” Source: USF
How to improve your self-confidence:
- Review your achievements and hype yourself for all you’ve already done.
- Find a hobby that gives you short-term successes (knitting, drawing etc. You don’t need to be the next Picasso, it’s meant to fulfill you and make you feel proud)
- Stand tall: our posture changes our entire attitude!
- Take risks, make mistakes and own it.
- Improve your physical health. Mental strength is directly related to how you treat your body. By feeling stronger and healthier, your mindset will change.
- Ask your friends to name two things they value about you.
Self-worth: I am good enough to be loved.
To begin with, only you can validate your actions, your successes. Sure, it can feel great to receive compliments, but you should be your number one fan.
Guilt, shame, self-hatred, shame… so many words we use in our daily lives to express ourselves. How negative! Instead, we should be forgiving ourselves on a regular basis and feeling worthy of love because we are humans with all our faults.
A little example as a mum:
“I’ve neglected my child today, that is why it is behaving badly.”
“I have not been present this morning (for reason XYZ), I will now give my child my full attention.”
Did you see how I turned it around?
Be aware of your thoughts and change your way of thinking.
Don’t focus on the negative.
The problem with our self-worth is that we base it on specific events and completely ignore all the positive aspects of our personalities and actions.
Self-worth mantras to try right now:
I am enough.
I am grateful.
I am proud of myself.
I am strong.
I can create change.
I am thankful.
I am powerful.
I deserve love.
I am worthy of pleasure.
“Self-worth is the internal sense of being good enough and worthy of love and belonging from others. Self-worth is often confused with self-esteem, which relies on external factors such as successes and achievements to define worth and can often be inconsistent leading to someone struggling with feeling worthy.” Source: UNCW
Avoid comparing yourself and your life to others.
It’s just not worth it.
Be kind to yourself. Starting now.
How it’s going…
So let’s circle back to that fateful night in the club toilets.
What was he trying to tell me? (Or was he just trying to get in my pants?!!!)
The things he said were, unconsciously, the things I wanted to hear. I would one day aspire to be the perfect mother, wife and woman. And I still do.
But now? Now I want to be them for myself and on my own terms.
No longer will I bend this way and that to conform to society’s expectations or to those of anyone else for that matter.
So finally, what am I, painstakingly, trying to tell you?
You can not be everything to everyone ALL THE TIME.
But you can be good to yourself. And out of that, all your roles will naturally blossom.
So here is my final advice on little changes that will make a difference in the long run (thanks to the wonderful Guardian).
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE A LITTLE BIT
- Set aside 10 minutes a day to do something you really enjoy
- Start a Saturday morning with some classical music – it sets the tone for a calm weekend.
- Ask questions, and listen to the answers.
- Set time limits for your apps.
- Eat salted butter (life’s too short for unsalted).
- Send postcards from your holidays. Send them even if you’re not on holiday.
- If possible, take the stairs.
- Stretch in the morning. And maybe in the evening.
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