I’m not good enough

Categories: PsychologyBy Published On: 9 October 20215 min read

The illusion of perfectionism

When I’m talking to people, I often hear that they still have to work on everything. They can name a whole list of things they want to get rid of. Because when they are freed from that, then they are finally ‘good’, they say. As if they would have achieved something after which they finally have peace. And yes, I know it. I have often fallen into this trap myself.

The paradox of Inner Growth

Especially during the period when I started exploring the path of inner growth: I had all kinds of fears that I had to get rid of, my insecurities had to go, and I still had a lot to grow before I would be worth anything. I created my own healingloop because of these thoughts. The more I wanted to get rid of something, the stronger it got. Sometimes it seemed as if my fears literally became demons of which I just couldn’t get rid of. What was the key?

Self-acceptance and No Judgement

Self-acceptance & being non-judgemental towards everything that was inside of me at that moment.

So it actually seems to be a kind of paradox: in order to further develop our inner selves, it is very important that we are completely okay with how we are right now. That we are totally okay with all our shadows, themes, patterns and sharp edges.

This can feel contradictory because you do feel the drive to further develop your inner self (for example, you want to work on certain themes), but at the same time it is so important that you do not want to get rid of it. Because the more you want to get rid of it, the stronger it often gets. If you really want to get rid of something, it means that you now have a judgment about certain aspects of yourself. And growth begins with being non-judgmental.

Enlightenment: Acceptance of All

Many do know the story of Buddha who is enlightened and sitting on a mountain. He has a smile. Why the smile? Many people think enlightenment means you have no more emotions, no more thoughts, and no more shadows. No. Enlightenment means that you see ‘through’ everything within yourself and are detached from this. That you have become aware of everything living within you.

And at the same time you think nothing of it! You have become completely judgment-free. Hence Buddha’s smile. He sees all kinds of thoughts passing by, but it does not touch him because he knows that thoughts are illusions. He pays them no attention, puts no label of good/bad on them. No, he watches them go by and laughs at them. So he doesn’t fight them, he accepts that they are there.

Awareness in a Modern Society

Now it is not necessary that we all sit like a Buddha on a mountain all day. It is precisely the challenge to develop more awareness about all aspects of ourselves in the midst of modern society. And this society is one big learning experience because we are continuously triggered by others. In addition, we experience painful situations and we make mistakes. So the trick is to deal with this differently.

Practical example: Setting Boundaries

Let me give a practical example. Suppose one of your themes is that you find it difficult to indicate your limits. Every time you let others go beyond your limits and you give too much of yourself. This is at the expense of your own energy. So you decide that you want to work on this (possibly with the help of someone else). You feel the inner drive to see through these kinds of patterns and to heal them within yourself. A week later you have planned a quiet day for yourself to refuel, until the neighbor suddenly shows up on the sidewalk.

She would like to have a chat. You remember from previous times that the neighbor complains a lot and is mainly negative. You got very tired of this every time. But hey, you also think it’s a shame to say no and you tell yourself that you just have a quick cup of coffee. That should be possible right? While drinking coffee, it turns out that your neighbor wanted to come by to tell her (negative) story again. She just keeps talking and talking and she lingers for a very long time. After she’s gone, you’re left exhausted and empty.

Reflection and Self-Judgement

Tired, you lie on the couch and think about what went wrong. SHIT! You’ve fallen into the trap again. You’ve given too much of yourself again. The neighbor went home charged, and you were left empty. How can you be so stupid as to get this wrong right away? You thought you worked on this.. Stupid, stupid stupid…..

Do you recognize this?

Transformation of Old Pain

You can probably also imagine that things are not getting any better for yourself. You step into an old pitfall and then you have an opinion about it. You reject it in yourself. Your inner critic is playing with yourself. But do you really feel better about it if you react that way? This only creates more tension in yourself.

Moreover, we do not solve the inner cause if we deal with it that way. In this example it may be that you have always been taught that you should be of service to others. Only if you were subservient and ‘lovable’, then you felt accepted and loved. If you indicated your own limits, this was frowned upon. Or it is a pattern of one of your parents, and you have adopted it. There can still be a lot of old sorrow and pain here. So if we want to transform this theme it is first important that we recognize this old pain.

How could you have handled it differently in this example?

Reflection without Judgement

For example, you say to yourself, “Okay, I see I’ve crossed my own limits. Interesting that this happened. I’m going to investigate what kind of feeling comes up.” Then you can sit still for a moment and try to feel if something comes up. You may feel sadness, or a feeling of powerlessness. Let this be there for a while. Don’t judge this. It’s not right or wrong.

Every time you see yourself falling back into an old pattern, all you need to do is be aware of it. Being aware and feeling the emotions. Every time we ‘see’ it again, without judging it, and at the same time allowing the feeling or emotion, there will be room for healing. Then at some point it can let go. So we don’t have to fight for this!

It can be very nice to have someone who can make you aware of your themes or patterns. Someone who is a mirror. Take a look at my private- or small-scale group retreats if you’re ready to build a strong inner foundation.