Not Good Enough

One of the most ubiquitous conclusions we make about ourselves growing up is ‘I am not good enough.’ As young children, we are not concerned with whether or not we are good enough. We are simply engaged in our world, exploring and learning. We learn, however, to feel not good enough, from other adults, and primarily in the educational system. Certainly, parents can, and do, instill in children a sense of being inferior, less than, not good enough, by words spoken in harsh tones. However, more damage takes place in schools where grading compels students to compare themselves with others. If one student gets an A, and another a C, the C can conclude they are not good enough. This kind of grading system instills in children a comparative standard in which some ‘authority’ assigns a letter grade from superior to inferior. A is superior. B is better than average. C is average. D is below average and F is inferior. The not good enough model of self can build up into a complex, what is referred to as an ‘inferiority complex.’ The tell tale sign of a person with an inferiority complex is their over compensation by all kinds of efforts to appear as superior, such as lying and bullying, accumulating acquisitions and even violence or being overly helpful, a rescuer, and perfectionistic. The notion of ‘better than’ is equally problematic as is ‘not good enough.’

But, who sets the standard of what is and is not good enough, and in what context? A student may not be good enough in biology, because there is little if any interest in the subject, but exceptionally superior in music, because it is of great interest. The industrialized model of one size fits all for compulsory education is a travesty of intelligence. Children love to learn. Give them something they are interested in and you can’t keep them away. Force them to learn something of little interest and their natural instinctive drive to learn is damaged. More than that, their sense of self-efficacy is damaged. There is a tendency to generalize a single failure in some specific area into inferiority as a person. Realistically, we are not good enough regardless of who set what standards in many areas of life. You are probably not good enough, very inferior, as a theoretical physicist, or a seamstress, a chef, a barber, a bookkeeper, a sales person,an electrical engineer, etc.,etc. The United States Department of Labor has over 800 categories of different occupations with each category housing hundreds of titles. You are not good enough for a huge percentage. You are good enough for a few. But, again, this is equating behavioral skills with person-hood, and that is a false equivalency.

The imprinted impressions of growing up remain in the both the psyche, the mind, and the soma, the body. Our sense of not being good enough is a psyche-somatic condition. It can be countered in both domains. In the psyche, one can counter internal statements that affirm or reinforce this notion of not being good enough, as a person. Also within the psyche, we can acknowledge that we are not behaviorally good enough for many settings, and that even in settings we can be good enough, we learn through making mistakes, and making corrections. At the same time, we can acknowledge that as an individual person, independent of behaviors, opinions, beliefs, conclusions, we are good enough, to be alive, because, we are alive. From the soma perspective, treat your body as though you are good enough. Act as though you deserve quality, and bring quality to every act. Take care of your body, treat it as though it is a preciosu gift.

There is a difference between superiority and excellence. For example, a person who like to race bicycles may enter a competition and lose the race, but ride their best time ever. It can be said that because they lost the race they are not superior; but, that they rode their best time can be said to be excellence. Striving for excellence is based more on internal standards and goals. Striving for superiority is based on external standards. You want to be better than somebody else, contribute to making them feel not good enough.

To be not good enough is based on a comparative analysis and ought be discarded. It neglects the very core of individual consciousness. The highest level of good enough is superior, and that only has meaning when contrasted with it’s opposite of inferior. There is something inherently inferior about a person who needs to feel superior, by comparison and contrast. As an individual person, you are good enough to embark upon, and achieve excellence in, whatever you find of interest and relevance to you. The damage done from forced compulsory industrialized education can be remedied with casual and yet consistent reinforcement of that spark of intelligence which resides within you. Affirm to yourself that although you may not be good enough for a thousand occupations or behavioral skills, you are good enough to be alive, good enough to learn and grow, and to thrive as an individual in this crazy world.

Will there be opposition? Yes, both from external and internal sources. Other people within your field of experience, your sphere, may want you to feel not good enough, so they see themselves as superior. They have a vested interest in you feeling not good enough, because they themselves feel this way, and want to elevate themselves by comparison. Within you are the established imprinted impressions of memory, telling you who you have been, and, therefore, are now. Memory though cannot dictate who you will become. For that, you have imagination. Imagine what it feels like to see yourself as good enough, as an individual person in the world; not superior, not inferior, not even average. Good enough. Good enough to wake up and meet the day; good enough to excel in those areas of interest. Perhaps you can visualize that now and feel it, feel good enough, for the life that yet awaits you.

“No man is good enough to be another’s master.”

– William Morris

Related posts:

Master and Slave

Told What To Do

The Imperfection of Perfectionism

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