A Real Human Being

You Are Doing Better Than You Think You Are

How do you feel about yourself?

Do you feel like you are measuring up to expectations or do you, perhaps, feel overwhelmed by their weight?

Do you feel like people like you? Do you feel like they even should?

Do you feel lovable?

Do you feel like you are enough?

For much of my life I really struggled with a lot of these things. I think to say I had low self-esteem would be an apt description. I struggled with self-image, with confidence, with social anxiety and depression.

This post was originally going to be specifically written to mothers because, although I am a man and therefore not a mother, I have a mother. And I know the weight that moms put on themselves. How much they go unnoticed. How many of their needs go unmet. How many of them feel like their individuality disappears and they are seen as nothing more than a mother, which certainly is a noble calling. But I know many mothers wish they could also be seen as people, too. As women. As individuals with minds and hearts that move and beat the same as they did before they became somebody’s mom.

I know many mothers feel a tremendous weight. Feel that they are not measuring up. Feel that they can never keep up with those around them. Feel inadequate and incapable and overwhelmed.

But as I was writing, I realized that this applies not only to mothers, but to probably every person alive, to one extent or another.

So this message is for all who need it:

You are doing better than you think you are.

Get a FREE Copy of My E-Book You Are Enough

Comparison is the Thief of Joy

We put far too much pressure on ourselves. We live in a world that is infused with the comparison mindset. Social media has its positives, but it certainly has a lot of negatives, too. And one of those is the effect it has on cultivating a comparison mindset in people.

Look at this person’s post, they are so perfect. That girl is so beautiful. This guy is super rich. This family is going on extravagant vacations. That person is traveling the globe and doing all kinds of admirable things. Or even at a lower intensity, people who are really normal people are posting beautiful photos of themselves and crafting the perfect captions, or filming videos of themselves in ways that make them seem so perfect and put together and wise and authoritative. 

Social media is nothing if not a comparison engine. And generally that comparison is based on outward appearances.

It’s a giant popularity contest, with everyone competing for attention. For likes. For views. For followers or subscribers. The analytics are in our face all the time. We post something and then tell ourselves that we don’t care how many likes it gets, but we find ourselves incessantly checking and re-checking to see if there is anything new.

It’s human nature to compare.

Literally our brains are comparison engines. That’s how we understand the world around us. How is this thing like that thing? How are they different? The comparison helps us put things in their proper place.

But it can also be crushing. And social media has taken it to an enormous extreme.

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up not knowing what it’s like to not have a smartphone. They are also the most anxious and depressed generation in history.

But it’s not unique to them. 

We all get sucked into the trap of comparison.

We all seem to look at other people and think they are doing better than we are. They are prettier, more successful, richer, funnier, more confident, more talented than we are. We see all of their talents and only our own faults.

Mothers certainly are prone to this comparison poison. Looking at other mothers out there and other families and feeling an enormous weight to keep up. To have a perfect home and a perfect family. And these days many feel they must also have an amazing career and compete with men in that arena. 

But it’s not just mothers. It’s probably everybody. We may all have different standards that we hold ourselves to, but they are all so often unattainable.

And when we fail to meet them, we might slip into a very destructive pattern of shame.

I have been a fan of Brene Brown for a long time. If you don’t know who she is, Brene Brown is a professor and researcher from Texas whose specialty is shame and vulnerability. She has written several books on the matter.

I like her differentiation between guilt and shame:

Guilt is ‘I did something bad,’ whereas shame is ‘I am bad.’ Guilt: I’m sorry I made a mistake. Shame: I’m sorry, I am a mistake.”

Or this one:

I believe that guilt is adaptive and helpful—it’s holding something we’ve done or failed to do up against our values and feeling psychological discomfort. I define shame as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging—something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”

Sometimes we do make mistakes, and that’s okay. Feeling guilty for making a mistake is healthy and normal – as long as it doesn’t slip into shame. Guilt can help drive us to make positive changes in our lives and our behavior. 

But shame is something different. Shame infects our worth. It comes to us and says that we are bad. That we are unworthy of love and that, really, we never can be worthy of it ever again. 

That is the real destruction that comes to us in the comparison mindset. It’s fine to look at other people and admire their positive traits. Their beauty. But when that leads us to feel shame about ourselves, that’s when it is unhelpful.

Someone who has achieved great things can be an inspiration to us. Or we can look at them and feel like we are worth less because we are not living the life they are.

There are many expectations for our lives that we either inherit from society, our families and friends, our teachers, tv or media, or that we place upon ourselves. And so often they become heavy burdens that are impossible for us to lift.

But why is that? Is it really bad to have expectations, or standards for living? Of course not. It’s good to have standards. To reach for something higher and better. To improve ourselves. To have morals that guide us in doing what is right and best for ourselves and others.

But then why do we sometimes get crushed by these standards? By these expectations?

I think it really comes down to one thing.

We just want to be lovable.

To be acceptable.

To be enough.

For love.

That is why we are really doing so many of the things we are doing. We are chasing love. We are trying to make ourselves worthy of love and acceptance.

If I just make enough money then people will love me.

If I just get that promotion at work then people will love me.

If I just buy that big house and have that nice car then people will love me.

If I just have a perfect family then people will love me.

If I just prove that I’m the perfect mom then people will love me.

If I just make myself beautiful enough then people will love me.

If I just get funny or fun or confident enough then people will love me.

If I just get enough followers on Instagram or subscribers on YouTube then people will love me.

If I just…

So many of us live our lives subconsciously this way. Chasing enough. Chasing love. And it’s brutally exhausting. It’s crushing. Because the truth is that we will never get there.

We will never become enough.

Because we already are.

Not perfect. But enough.

Enough does not mean we don’t have room to grow. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things we need to improve on. It doesn’t mean that we should just lay around and do nothing with our lives.

But it does mean that we don’t have to do any of those things to be worthy of grace. To be worthy of love. To be worthy of acceptance.

I think that improving ourselves and reaching for our full potential is a good thing. We can do and be so much. We can add so much value to the world and experience great joy and peace as we learn to develop skills that invite it into our lives.

But it depends on why we are striving. And I think it also depends on how we do it.

If we are striving for greatness, or feeling the pressure to strive, in order to make ourselves enough for love, then I think it is an unhealthy endeavor. Or I think that it will result in a lot of mental and emotional pain.

And ultimately it is a losing game.

When we believe that we are not enough now, as we are, but if we just simply achieve something more we will be, not only will we exhaust ourselves chasing enough but we will also never get there.

The reason is that we get trapped in a mindset of never enough. It keeps us always looking for more, and because there always will be more – more that we can do or achieve, or more ways in which we can improve – we will just forever be stuck in that mindset.

So even if we do achieve our goal, the goal posts will move. Once we do get that job or make that money or get that plastic surgery, there will be more money, or better jobs, or more beautiful people to compare ourselves to. And because we are conditioned to think in the never-enough-mindset, we will feel, yet again, that there is more we have to do before we can be enough. Before we can be loveable.



You Are Enough

The truth is that you are enough right now. In this very moment.

Let me quote from a little book I wrote a few years ago, called You Are Enough:

“Enough was with you all along. Inside of you. A part of you. Intricately intertwined with the fabric of your very being. Inseparably connected to your core. It is your identity, not your ability, that gives you worth. That identity never changes.”

“It’s time to remember who you really are. You are made of the stuff of eternity. Your soul is eternal, immortal, glorious. You are of noble birth. You are a child of God. Divinity runs through your spiritual veins.”

We humans are emotional beings. And that is such a beautiful thing. Emotions make life worth living. They add richness and fulfillment to our lives. 

But sometimes emotions can be very misleading. 

Sometimes we may feel as though we are not enough. But those feelings come because of our beliefs about our worthiness. We may inherit or develop beliefs that are inaccurate and destructive. And then we have emotions that support those beliefs, and they cycle on each other. The beliefs make the feelings stronger, and vice versa.

In order for us to change our lives and stop chasing enough, we need to change our beliefs about ourselves. We need to practice speaking to ourselves “like [we] would to someone [we] love,” as Brene Brown has said.

Take note of the way you speak to yourself. Is it kind and compassionate or is it harsh and critical? 

Would you speak to someone you love the way you speak to yourself?

We should speak the truth to ourselves, being willing to own up to our mistakes, but not without grace and mercy. Not without hope. The truth is important, but it must always be accompanied by grace.

Practice every day speaking to yourself in a more positive way. Practice noticing the harsh or unhelpful or unhealthy things you say to yourself. Build yourself up. Encourage yourself. Remind yourself that your worth is not dependent on some outside achievement or accomplishment. Your worth is eternal. 

I am a Christian, and you may not be, and that’s okay. But let me tell you something that I believe as it relates to your worth and you can just take note of how you feel and see if there is any value in it for you.

You are worth so much that, even though you were flawed and imperfect and filled with sin, Jesus came and suffered in ways and intensities that caused Him to bleed from every pore. He had spikes driven through His hands and wrists and feet and was hung on a cross until He, after hours of excruciating pain, died.

And He did this all to save you. Because that is how much you are worth to Him. All the suffering of eternity just to save you.

Because He loves you.

Because you are worth it.

Regardless of what you believe about God, you should believe this: that you are enough for love and acceptance and grace. Right now and always. And if you will just open up your heart, and keep opening up your heart each day, you will be able to feel the truth of your eternal worth. And then that feeling will begin to carry you forward.

And then you can stop chasing enough.

Because you will always have it.

And then you will know that you are good enough for patience and gentleness along the way. 

And you can believe that you are doing better than you think you are.

Share the Post:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts