You’re struggling, burnt out, anxious and overwhelmed about daily life. You dive into projects and check tasks off your list, trying to climb your way up to the next level of success. Yet you somehow still never feel like enough, no matter how many achievements you acquire. It seems you’re always working on something else, yet you never feel satisfied. You yearn for the sweet taste of approval, all the while disconnecting from yourself and the world around you. You wonder, when will you feel complete? When will you stop living only to prove yourself?
I think we can all relate to feeling this way at some point in our lives. I know I can. For a long time, I did everything I could to prove that I was worth something. What I came to understand is that no matter how many times I worked on changing the world around me, I still didn’t feel good internally. Changing everything on the outside did nothing to change what I thought of myself on the inside.
Whether it’s society’s pressure, our culture, or the drive to try and make everyone happy around us, we all face obstacles. This can leave us feeling unfulfilled, anxious, and depressed, searching for meaning outside ourselves. We search all over for that peaceful sense of fulfillment, and we struggle to find it. Because it’s not outside ourselves; it’s within us. Once we understand this very concept, we can finally become good enough for life. We can finally start seeking approval from the only person who matters: ourselves.
How do we do this? Well, there are a few ways…
1. Become an Observer of Your Own Life: Instead of acting without thinking, or doing whatever feels good at the moment, wait and observe yourself in your environment. Pay close attention to your body, aim to observe your life from a more objective standpoint. Become curious and open-minded. Whenever you feel the need to impulsively react to a situation, slow down and check in with yourself.
2. Understand Our Fundamental Need to Live from Within: Use a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least and 10 being the most, to rate how much of your life is lived from within. When you don’t live from within, your emotions fluctuate a lot; you never know what will agitate you from one minute to the next. If you start to live more from within, your moods won’t fluctuate as much, and you’ll be able to enjoy a nice day, even if things don’t go your way.
3. Know the True You: Do you have the bad habit of telling people what they want to hear, instead of being upfront and honest with your thoughts? (GUILTY!) This form of people-pleasing will ultimately negatively affect your relationships. Make an effort to become more aware of the things you think, say, or do to gain acceptance from others. It takes a lot of energy to constantly play a role and try to make others happy with you. By becoming aware of how your desire to be accepted began, and by seeing how much of what you say is inauthentic, you’ll have an easier time speaking the truth.
4. Your Power Space: Are you particularly sensitive to any form of perceived criticism? Do you blow up and get defensive? Start to slow down your inner processing system whenever you experience real or perceived criticism. This gives you the space you need to choose how you want to feel about the situation, instead of falling into an instinctive reaction. Your reactions may be based on assumptions rather than facts. You might be confusing what you think of a particular situation with the actual truth. By giving yourself space to assess one situation at a time, you will be free to bring your rational mind into the picture and come up with more helpful responses.
5. Your Influential Power: Become capable of loving yourself and being in relationship with others, without needing to always do and say what they want. The more you accept and love yourself, flaws included, the more capable you’ll be of accepting and loving others, even with their faults.Work on staying focused on others’ needs as well as your own, even when others are disapproving or critical of you. Let people know that you appreciate their input, but you can make your own decisions.
6. The Benefits of Delaying Gratification: Are you the king or queen of using temporary forms of instant gratification to ease discomfort, regardless of the consequences? If so, it’s time to get clearer about your goals and tap into the fundamental value of living life with a long-term outlook, instead of seeking short-term gain. Continue to identify moments when you really want to do something that you know won’t benefit you in the future. In those moments, call to mind your long-term goals, which will help you avoid satisfying your desires at the moment. The more you sit with your discomfort, the easier it will get to resist temptation.
7. Living Intentionally: Most of us live on autopilot, reacting to our circumstances instead of making decisions based on our long-term goals and values. This leads us to be discontent, never satisfied, unaware of why we aren’t happy. If you want to live from within, keep making decisions based on what will make you happy, instead of basing your happiness on outside circumstances. Write a list of your beliefs and values to refer back to whenever you feel lost or impulsive. By having a purpose and making decisions more intentionally, you’ll finally take ownership of your life. Feeling healthy, knowing your worth, managing your emotions effectively, and enjoying your personal relationships are what living good enough for life is all about.
Sometimes we think we know what will make us happy and feel good enough, but we’re mistaken. We’re so sure our unhappiness would be resolved if only we could make more money or find the right partner; but in reality, those things wouldn’t do it either. By slowing down, becoming more aware, looking within, and responding rather than reacting to life, we’re able to connect with our true intentions, and finally, feel good enough for life.