Welcome to our fifth post in the Good Enough Series. Today’s post is by Thomas Ives, the first man who joined our conversation. We are all affected by this feeling, male or female….
Am I good enough?
This was a question that I struggled with for a very long time. I still have my doubts about myself from e to time but I have come a long way. Depression is a horrible mental illness and this question as a child is what I believe got the ball rolling so to speak. There were many aspects of my life that was negatively affected by it and I wanted to share with you just a few of them.
I truly do love my brother and I will never blame him for how I perceived my worth as a child. I also do not put any blame towards my parents because there is no absolute correct way to raise children. Each child is unique and grow up differently. The most difficult part is trying to help them understand what they are perceiving as children. For me, my parents never knew how I saw my life until I told them about it as an adult.
My brother was taking medication for his ADHD and also had a hard time in school. On the other hand, I did very well in school and was sort of self-sufficient. My brother required a lot more attention, support, and time. He got praises for bringing home C’s and D’s on his report card while I was given a hard time if my grades were less than an A. These are just two examples but they are important ones. From a very young age, I began asking myself….am I good enough?
I am the oldest child in our extended family. With the pressure from my mother about my grades, I also began to feel that I needed to be the best among my cousins. I started to believe that I had to be the first one successful, married, with children, own a house, etc… My mind was slowly being filled with goals and dreams of the future. I started coming up with plans on how I was going to achieve them.
Then my cousins began to achieve before me the very same things I was trying to. Each time it felt like a punch in the gut. After I caught my breath, I was determined again to still try making the goals and dreams possible. One setback and then another and another kept happening. I have finally realized that those dreams and goals were never mine. They were dreams and goals that I thought my family wanted me to accomplish. Even though I did have that realization, the damage from questioning my worth still remains.
I have only been in five relationships but there have been plenty of times in them that I had doubted my worth. Whether it was because I felt I had to be better than someone else or worried that I was failing the other person for some reason. Yes I did fail them but not because I was not good enough. It honestly was because I was so caught up in questioning my value, that I was blind to the things causing the relationship to fall apart.
The game of “Am I good enough?” is just as dangerous as the “What if?” game. It takes you down a very dark path that you can get lost in. I know this because I have played both games. I am lucky that my current relationship allows me to ignore those thoughts. It was rough at first but once I accepted what my true worth was in our relationship it has gotten better.
Even though I am adult now, I can’t erase the thoughts, feelings and emotions from my childhood. I actually wouldn’t want to because I know that there is someone out there dealing with the same issues of self worth. They need to know that there is someone in the world that truly understands what they are struggling with and to be reminded that it can be overcome. I am fortunate to have my family because they have helped me progress farther than I could alone. Our life is like a rose, you can’t enjoy the beauty of it without accepting the thorns.