From as far back as I can remember, I believed I was not good enough. It always showed up in different ways: not feeling pretty enough, not feeling smart enough, not having enough to offer, and even sometimes being too much.
As I got older it slowly changed from feeling it, to believing it. It was like I had become so numb to the nagging in my head to “be better” that it was no longer a loud noise that brought me down each time. It had become a constant hum in the background of my life that I actually agreed with. Every time I messed up or underperformed, I agreed. Every time I doubted myself and came up short, I agreed. Every time another person hurt me because of issues in their own life, I agreed. Everything became about how I wasn’t good enough. Things outside of my control, that I couldn’t have influenced in any way, still helped me to agree with that feeling. Dating brought in another level of this lie, and it was toxic. I began giving away parts of myself to people who didn’t deserve it, and when they left with no care for the parts of me that I’d given them, the lie grew. When I would be compared to porn or worse, picked second to it, the lie grew. Not only was everything I had to give not good enough, but someone who isn’t real meant more than I did. It all peaked in a relationship that was pivotal for my journey. One where the lie was able to grow so big, that it finally burst. All the time I had been begging for scraps of love from others left me unable to understand what love was even supposed to look like. In this relationship my begging became depending. When he was happy with me, I could be happy. When I did something wrong – which I often managed to do and not do, but still had to experience the guilt for – it was like the world was crashing down. I know that seems so childish, like a middle school girl who thinks that life is over after her first breakup, and maybe that’s exactly what it was, but by the age of 20, I had never received enough love for me to understand that the lack of someone else’s love doesn’t have to be the end of the world. And every time he made me feel inadequate, it only helped me agree with the lie, and now with him. I remember my sister looking at me alone in the car and asking where I’d gone. She cried as she admitted she felt like she couldn’t even recognize me anymore, like there was no happiness left in me where I had once been so joyful. Agreeing with the lie for so long had robbed me of my life. I began to agree so deeply that I eventually believed if I wasn’t here at all, it would be better for everyone. The thought resonates in memories from my childhood like truly wishing to be in a car crash and be the only one to not make it. At the age of 21, it resurfaced brutally, and my life finally depended on me to begin to defeat the lie. On a night where I began to think of how I could make myself disappear, I cried out to God. I told Him that if He was even real, and if my life mattered to Him, then He would have to show up. The next morning, I was sick at the thought of going back into the job that I was working at Twin Peaks. I physically could not make myself put those clothes back on, so I contacted the general manager and explained that I couldn’t do it anymore. Looking back, I know it was God encouraging me to leave behind a place that only helped me believe that I wasn’t good enough, but the feeling of absolute discomfort was so strange. The following day I went to apply at a new place, and one of the first things that the general manger said to me was “I think we might have hope in the same thing,” as he pointed at a cross bracelet my mom had given me, that I’d never worn until that day because it matched my outfit. In that moment, I knew. I was sitting across from a man who had hope in something, when I had no hope at all. I was hired that day and immediately things began to change. It was ugly and it was hard, but I slowly had to leave behind parts of my life that continued to make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. That manager became one of the first voices speaking encouragement over me daily, always telling me that I had someone in my corner, that I had a fan cheering for me. I found a church – a few actually – and began asking questions to help me work through my doubts. I met women who built me up, and I surrounded myself with people who loved me without conditions. But the biggest part of those people who I finally allowed to love me, was that they really truly loved me… and that meant loving me enough to stop letting me wallow. The general manager I told you about? He refused to let me walk around mopey. Yes, he encouraged me and taught me I was valuable and worthy, but that also included refusing to let me continue to act like I wasn’t. Don’t feel pretty? Tough! Go for a run, put on some lipstick, do something to fight it! Don’t feel smart? Too bad! Recognize your value and do something that makes you feel like you’re growing and learning! Don’t feel good enough? Stop comparing yourself to others and recognize that every day is an opportunity to grow, and failure is an opportunity to find a new road. Part of changing my environment and trusting God meant attracting new people – new friends, new jobs, and new approaches to existing relationships. I am no longer surrounded by environments and people that feed into that feeling of being unworthy. I am filled with Gods truth that I was bought with a price, I am at a job that recognizes my value and work ethic and rewards those who put their best foot forward, and I am surrounded by friendships that don’t let me tear myself down; friends who speak life, truth, and love while refusing to let me tear myself apart in moments of feeling less than. Walking through life feeling inadequate left me lower than I can even explain, and finally choosing to let go of the lie that I was unworthy is something that was necessary for God to move in my life. Don’t walk through life feeling unworthy. Cry out, call a friend, make a change, or let something or someone go. Most of all, don’t be scared to share.