“Why can’t I be more like her?”
Though we may never admit it, most of us are guilty of comparing ourselves to the person next to us. No offense to this person, she’s great! However, this kind of constant comparing ourselves to each other is so damaging to our spirits. I have felt especially moved to talk about this subject recently, partially due to my own personal struggles with this as well as being tired of seeing so many awesome people constantly talk themselves down.
We all have feelings of inadequacy at times. Not skinny enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, creative enough, funny enough, likable enough, productive enough. The list goes on, and if we live too much inside our own heads this can become all-consuming. I believe part of the reason we have these thoughts is that we all do have this inherent drive to be the best versions of ourselves. Therefore, we analyze ourselves, pinpoint our short-comings, and try to find ways to improve ourselves in these areas.
However, what ends up happening is that we may attempt to improve ourselves in these areas, but change is hard. We struggle to make these great improvements in ourselves, and in-turn beat ourselves up even more because we are not living up to our self-perceived potential. Or, perhaps we are so frozen by the realization of our short-comings that we do not even attempt change. We wallow in our self-pity, and conclude that it is pointless to attempt change or self-improvement. Either way, these thoughts lead to a snow-ball of negative self-talk that weighs us down and breaks our spirit.
How do we stop this cycle of negative self-talk resulting in feelings of inadequacy?
Let me tell you something right now sister. You. Are. Enough. You are truly, beautifully, and endlessly enough. You are SO much more than your monetary income, your dress size, your career, the car you drive, the dirty dishes in your sink, that important project that did not turn out the way you wanted, and especially more than someone else’s negative opinion of you. Because you see, I don’t think we feel bad about our actual short-comings, but we are afraid that other people will recognize them and think we are inadequate because of them. If someone does, then shame on them. Show me one person who has no flaws, and I will show you a fake and a phony.
We are human. Wonderful and magnificently made in God’s likeness. Though we are not perfect like Him, if we are made in his likeness then how can we have such disapproval of ourselves? We are not made to do it all. We are not made to be perfect in every aspect of our lives. We are called to be the best versions of ourselves in order to share our gifts and talents with the world, but not everybody can perfect every part of their lives. Not everybody can work 40 hours a week, plus keep a perfectly tidy home, plus raise perfect children, plus cook a homemade meal every night, plus have all the clothes put away, plus exercise and keep an awesome body, plus pursue outside interests to keep ourselves interesting, plus keep a smile plastered onto our faces and be the most joyful person to be around. We just cannot do this! And I want you to know this is perfectly fine!
You need time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. You need time for this so you can bring the best version of yourself to the things and people who are most important to you in your life, rather than to every single person and endeavor you encounter. And I guarantee you this, you mean so much and make someone’s life so much better just because you are in it. Think about that for a second. You! Unique and beautiful you, make someone else’s life worth living. Now that is a HUGE accomplishment; that simply existing would be such an enhancement to someone’s life.
You’re doing it without even trying, and that says a lot about you and your heart.
Alright, so maybe out logical brain can remind us “I am enough,” but how to we defeat these voices in our heads that tell us we are not? How do we defeat our enemies who try to make us feel like we are not enough? I have a few specific actions that you may try on the days the devil is making you feel low.
Make a list every day of all the things you accomplished that day. The action of writing down your accomplishments of the day and seeing them in front of you can help you see that you probably accomplished more than you thought. Don’t leave anything out! That phone call to your mother? That counts! That phone call probably meant the world to her, so write down every little thing. No matter how seemingly big or small.
Intentionally doing something good for someone else without expectations of the favor being returned. Any small good-deed can be an instant boost for your feelings of adequacy. Holding the door open for someone, buying the person’s lunch in line behind you, calling up an old friend just to let them know you’re thinking of them. Each self-less act is a blessing to another person. That person could be having the worst day of their life, or they could just be having a bad day and need a bright spot. Either way, there’s a very good possibility that you will be that bright spot, making you incredibly vital and important to this person. Even a perfect stranger. Never underestimate the power of a good deed.
When all else fails, just remember that God made you to be uniquely different from everyone else on this earth. He created you with special talents and gifts that NOBODY else possesses in the way that you do. There is someone in this world that you are their entire world. So regardless of the bad days, the haters, and the demons in your own head remember these things. Remember the amazing blessings and gifts God has given you, making you a gift to the world.