It’s a fear that’s been rattling in my bones since I can remember, quaking my knees, shirking my voice, making me tremble from the inside out. “I can’t,” I say. “I’m not good enough.”
But the fear is never really that matter of fact when it shows up in my life, of course.
Sometimes it manifests itself as long, hard hours spent toiling and taxed, practicing and trying to perfect things as much as possible before I ever let anyone within earshot of them.
Sometimes it manifests itself as stagnation and procrastination, to delay the inevitable act of doing the thing that I haven’t actually convinced myself yet that I’m even capable of.
Sometimes it manifests itself as excuses and (totally logical to me) arguments to prove to myself, and everyone else, that I’m not good enough to do that because of xyz and this 31-point list of reasons why.
And sometimes, it just sits there, dormant and dull inside my quaking chest, a heaviness anchored in want. And shame, for feeling like I don’t have what it takes to get what I really want.
But in those moments, of greatness or small everyday ordinary, when I seize the courage to say “fuck you ‘good enough’, I’m gonna do it/say it/write it/play it/create it/share it anyway,” I remind myself of something we hurried and hungry humans tend to forget all too often – what really matters in this life is not whether or not we’re good enough, but whether we try at all.
Doing it is good enough. Just being here alive, as you, is good enough. Want proof? You’re here.
It’s the paralyzing expectations we have of ourselves that aren’t good enough.
It’s the way we talk to ourselves – belittling, badgering, bullying – that’s not good enough.
I, and you, deserve far better.
So I’ve been trying to talk to myself more kindly lately – with patience, and understanding and compassion. I’m trying to root myself on like a proud mama, clapping and cooing as her toddler takes his first steps.
I want to be encouraging to myself. Show myself a little respect. It’s a totally wackadoo concept, I know, but I’ve been trying it on for size and it has reshaped me. Body and mind, the outlines of myself have begun to shift.
Now, when I notice my mind chiming in with its crap talkin’, I talk back like a protective friend, “Hey! I’m learning, here. At least I’m out here, trying. It’s easy to shout insults from the sidelines, brain, but I’m the one playing the game. And if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” (If your brain’s acting like a tantruming 5-year-old, it’s best to reason with it like one.)
And in those still all too infrequent moments (but I’m getting better at it, brain. I told you, I’m learning here) when my mind actually does shut its incessant yapping trap, I feel it sink in – calm. Clarity. Sureness.
And what I feel surest of is that, in this moment, here and now, I’m not enough, no – I’m far more.
I’m busting the buttons off enough. I’m beyond. I’m and then some. I’m the cherry on top. And the only reason I haven’t believed it this whole life of mine is because I’ve been letting my brain tell me something different all along.
But in those moments when I can taste the silence of stillness and hear what my gut, rather than my head, is saying, I know it’s the truth – that I’m good enough to do, and be, anything I want in this world, and more.
And so are you.
Jena Coray is a writer, soothsayer and perspective-shifter who doles out her mojo to fellow creatives looking for more freedom & happiness in their lives & businesses. She’s also one-half of The Maven Circle, a community for creatives offering practical tools & advice to help you unleash your inner awesome!
Krystle: Jena, I’m a big fan of everything you do. You’re mojo happenin’ maven-ness has inspired me many times to dig deeper and celebrate my inner awesome. But we’re all battling fears, and “not being good enough” is so common among creative folks. Putting our art and energy out there makes us feel vulnerable, and all it takes is one negative comment for us to descend into that dark place. But you’re so right. Putting ourselves and our work out there is good enough. Thank you for the simple, powerful reminder.
Fear Confessions is a series of essays by creatives who share personal stories about facing their fears. It’s a celebration of vulnerability.