Not Feeling Good Enough

I’ve never felt pretty enough.

I’ve never felt smart enough.

I’ve never felt confident enough, rich enough, stylish enough, witty enough.

I’ve never felt good enough.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been painfully shy, self-conscious and socially awkward. I find it hard to ‘mingle,’ hold conversations and generally socialise. I tend to hide behind humour then remove myself from the situation as soon as I can.

Writing is my outlet. Typing fervently behind the safety of the laptop screen and not having to hold eye contact, not having anyone see me.

It’s not a pleasant way to live.

Over the years, feeling permanently inadequate has cost me friends, opportunities and probably my career as a lawyer.

I was always inwardly crumbling in the Courtroom. Yes I managed to put on a brave face and get the job done, but surrounded by beautiful powerful women with their expensive designer suits and heads held high made me feel completely rubbish. I was nervous, awkward and wearing a £40 suit from Next.

Stupid inadequate me.

I dreaded going to work. I dreaded making mistakes and even dreaded someone more senior making conversation with me. I felt stupid and convinced myself I was going to be sacked because I wasn’t good enough.

Pathetic aren’t I?

In the end I quit my job. I made all sorts of excuses but really I wanted to be at home with my children and the only people in the world I feel good enough for.

Some days just being in the shops is problematic. I see women with smaller waists, nicer clothes, shinier hair, better behaved children and the familiar feelings of total inadequacy follow.

Luckily I have a supportive husband. He tries to convince me of my worth and has weathered every ridiculous decision I’ve made to cancel plans, ignore phone calls and leave my career.

But it’s of no use and at times I don’t feel good enough for him either. I should say that nothing he has done has caused me to feel like that. He works hard to provide for us and is loving and extremely supportive. But the old feelings of not being good enough remain the 3rd party in our marriage.

I don’t have many friends. I’m not someone who can just go out for coffee without knowing someone really well and there are very few people I feel genuinely comfortable around.
Again, it’s the good enough thing. I worry I’ll say something stupid, offend them, make a fool of myself. I’m scared they won’t like me. And unfortunately many people have mistaken this for conceitedness or just plain weirdness and so the invites, texts and phone calls have all but stopped.

I’m sorry. I can’t help it.

Is there a cure?

My lovely GP has been really helpful in setting me on the right path to try to gain some control back over my life. But can doctors nowadays alter our DNA?

The whole point of me writing this was to help anyone who also feels not quite good enough.

YOU ARE.

But I know you don’t believe me.

I know you’ve ignored every compliment you’ve ever received. I know you’ve dismissed them as people just trying to be nice. I know you’ve convinced yourself they didn’t actually mean it.

And I know you’ve dwelt on every remotely negative comment. I know you’ve turned comments into negative ones. I know you’ve turned them over in your head and analysed them constantly until eventually the passage of time dulled the hurt.

Nothing I can say will make you feel like you are good enough. But you are precious. Your life is worth living. Your life is worth fighting for.

I’ve eventually made some peace with myself but I still have a way to go and am taking it one day at a time. I have my writing and I have my children. That’s all I really need for now.

Please don’t give up. Don’t hide away. You have something to give to this beautiful Earth.

Maybe we’ll even have coffee one day.

xx

You know you’re a parent blogger when you scribble out a blog post in your 6-year-old’s coloured gel pens then your 10-month-old daughter rips it up and tries to eat it.

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15 Comments

  1. 15th September 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Jemma, this is so courageous and beautifully crafted. You should hold your head high because you’re a marvel and an inspiration to me. You were the first blogger I really followed and still the one whose writing I admire most. You are more than good enough, you are a wonder. I look forward to the day we have that coffee

    • 15th September 2017 / 8:42 pm

      That is so very kind of you to say Jonny and means more than you’ll ever know. I know you can identify when I say that writing is a complete tonic for me but it’s still nerve wracking to share personal stuff like this. The world needs more people like you in it Jonny. Hope you all have a lovely weekend

  2. The Mummy Bubble
    15th September 2017 / 4:49 pm

    Oh Jemma I’ve teared up reading this because I can totally relate. I am my absolute biggest critic and I put myself down every chance I get. I envy people who are really up their own arse, even though they’re annoying, because they are so confident! As you said, I know how to fake it but it is fake, I’m not confident at all. I wish you lived here or I lived in Ireland because I would definitely love to have a coffee. Big hugs and well done for writing such a brave post xxx

    • 15th September 2017 / 8:48 pm

      I completely know what you mean Vicky. Although it amazes me that you say you aren’t confident, you always seem to have all your plates spinning and you write with such insight. Thank you so so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it means a lot. Such a shame that the Irish Sea had to plonk itself between us!!! Maybe I’ll venture to BritMums one year and we’ll get a coffee (probably wine) xxx

  3. Nols
    15th September 2017 / 6:10 pm

    Well said…
    I feel like this too. I’m terrible, always comparing myself with others (who look like the have it all together). I’m exhausted just trying to keep everything above water!
    I’m a SAHM too and I’ve become even more isolated.
    You are so very brave writing this and putting it out there. It scares the sh1t out of me.

    • 15th September 2017 / 8:50 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment, it means a lot. Being a SAHM can be isolating and I can relate to feeling like you’re just trying to keep everything above water at times! I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you say people who look like they have it all together – sometimes the reality is very different!!xx

  4. 15th September 2017 / 6:24 pm

    This! We should have coffee! Mind you, neither of us would talk and we’d both spend the next week wishing we’d never gone! Such is life! Big love xxx

  5. 26th September 2017 / 7:30 pm

    I think that we all feel this way to some extent – there is always someone who seems to have it more ‘sorted’. At the end of the day we all need to learn to love ourselves a little bit more. Eaasier said than done. A brave post. #TwinklyTuesday

    • 1st October 2017 / 9:46 am

      It’s definitely easier said than done. The rise of social media has raised the belief that perfection exists when it really doesn’t!x

  6. Tracey Abrahams
    26th September 2017 / 10:05 pm

    I know exactly where you are coming from. I have spent most of my life feeling the same. Too fat, too stupid, too deaf!
    Blogging is a great way of overcoming this to some degree because your voice is heard by others without all the stresses and anxiety thay come from face to face interactions.
    As for you not being good enough, dear lady of course you are. Your husband thinks so your kids do, and it is clear from the comments here that other bloggers do too. Xx #Twinklytuesday

    • 27th September 2017 / 5:39 am

      Thank you for your kind comment and I completely agree with you about blogging – it is a form of therapy! Thank you for reading x

  7. 30th September 2017 / 8:29 pm

    This is such a great and brave post. Well done for writing it, you have hopefully helped anyone else feeling similar to you. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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