And how I think I’ve found a way forward.
I’m scared of many things — failure, heights, pain — and it turns out, not being good enough.
I’ve discovered that when we peel back the layers the define our complicated lives, it’s one thing that we fear. Yep, one reason alone sits behind all the worries of suffering, failure, and conflict. What holds us back or pushes us forward is defined by one thought and one thought alone — we’re not good enough.
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” George Addair
I’m writing this on the back of a search. A search to find out why I’ve failed, and to find out why I’ve done some of the stupid things I’ve done. But also, I want to get on with my life, I don’t want to be in this position any longer. When I ponder the quote from George Addair, I know it’s true. Everything I desire is on the other side of fear — but I can’t get past my fear.
I know I’m to blame. It’s my stupid fault I’ve done the things I’ve done. The problem for me is this mindset is holding me back. I’m stuck in the past, unable to get past my guilt and the fear of doing it again. There are more nights in the week than there aren’t when I dream about my past. It seems I’m intent on punishing myself for the failures I’ve created.
This is what happens when you believe you’re not good enough.
Self-Talk Keeps Me From Believing I’m Good Enough
It is easy for everyone to say you can’t keep living in the past. But letting go, accepting that what’s done is done, is hard. Even more so when it frames a failure, repeated failures.
This is where I find myself. I think about it every day — hell, I dream about it too. I tell myself I need to let go, to learn the lessons from the past and move on. It’s hard though for the guilt I feel, for the pain I’ve caused. It’s hard to accept.
It’s true, no one died. But I know I caused a lot of trouble and I put my family into a period of turmoil. They have stood by me, I have their love, but still, I’m racked with the guilt which stems from the suffering I caused.
I’m tied to the mistakes of the past and like a ball and chain, I can’t shake it off. Day after day, all I do is come back to this same situation. Nearly three years on, I can’t shake it off.
I did so much good, I worked hard and was praised for my efforts. But that couldn’t and shouldn’t have atoned for what I did, despite my self-talk. I’m consumed as much by the good as I am the bad of my past. I keep thinking one should cancel the other out, but it doesn’t. My past glories were simply no match for the errors I made.
I Might Have Found the Answer
Not much of this has made sense to me, until now.
Over the last three years, I’ve managed to hold onto one thing. It’s somewhere I can go and escape the guilt for a while. Reading, and more recently, writing.
The written word, both in the consuming it and sharing it has helped find a place to escape. I’ve read so many great books and so many even better articles — some of the writers in the blogging space today are exceptional. It inspired me to start writing as well — hence why you’re reading this.
But it is in reading where I might have found some reasoning, and at last, an approach to help me move forward from my misery. A book has finally defined the problem I’ve got. It turns out I am grounded by the self-talk, which drives my mindset; one where I believe I’m not good enough.
Feeling Unworthy is Just a State of Mind
This crucially is the crux of my problem. This self-talk of negativity is all fear. Fear that it will happen again, fear that I’ll fail — again. It’s a place my brain is trying to protect me from, by keeping me in my current state of fear.
This self-talk has taken hold and now I’m stuck.
Although I had victories in the past, I can’t get past the bad stuff — and that’s wrong. Why should I forget all the good that I did, I can, and should be proud of what I achieved — six promotions in a twelve-year career. That was me. Instead, I have allowed the self-talk to overrule the good by dwelling on the negatives.
The negative self-talk has created a negative mindset. Regardless of how I dress it up, whether it be the fear of failure that could come from doing it again, or the suffering my family and I would have to deal with. It all relates to one core issue. That I’m not good enough — it is the ultimate human fear.
But I’m coming to understand that this fear is only in my head. Who am I to say what will happen in the future? The reality is none of us knows. What is clear is that I must change my mindset and with it my habits.
I’m Better Than I Was Yesterday
The wonderful book I’ve found has given me something to focus on. It says I must change my mindset and I can only make this happen through my behaviours.
The narrative in my head needs changing. I must move from my default belief of ‘I’m not good enough’ to one of ‘I’m better than I was yesterday.’
To do this I have to challenge myself — every day — in small actionable steps. Each step should be a challenge. Whether it is making the bed, doing something quicker, trying to be nicer — whatever it is — I must aim to do it better than yesterday.
Each of these small steps, done multiple times a day will — according to this book — prove to myself that I am good enough. This will, with time, change the narrative in my head.
This is how I’m going to change — I don’t want to be ‘not good enough’ anymore, instead, I aim to be better than I was yesterday. But there is still one last thing to overcome and accept.
I Am Not My Past
What is done is done. I can’t change it, I can only acknowledge, process and move on from what I’ve done. Others might define me by my past, but I mustn’t and nor should I. Yes, it happened, but there is nothing to say it will happen again. My mindset keeps saying otherwise, but I must accept it’s wrong.
When I look at the facts in the cold light of day, I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, the day after, next week or beyond. So, I must stop thinking that what happened before can happen again. It is all an excuse; past trauma is no reason for my current position.
I must be brave; I must put my fears into a bubble and crush them. I need to become angry and motivated to move forward and beat each fear I face. What matters is right now. Not the past, for I can’t change it and the future, for I have no control over that either. All I can do is prepare myself to be the best of me.
I’m hoping I might now have found a way forward.