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.
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.