If you feel as though nothing you have or do is ever quite enough, it’s not because everyone is superseding you in life.
It’s not because you really have no comparable strengths or accomplishments, it’s not because you’re less successful, it’s not because you’re not as stylish, it’s not because you’re not living in the coolest place with the coolest clique.
It’s because the way you were trained to think about the world is in a “them or me” and “all or nothing” dynamic. It’s a black-and-white way of thinking that’s usually adopted by kids whose parents or caregivers were too hard on them, and made them feel as though what they had was not enough. Maybe, in other cases, you were relentlessly bullied, and didn’t know why you were seen as different.
What you are really doing is trying to protect yourself.
When you were young, your happiness was dashed by someone who did not reconcile their own self-worth issues. To protect the things you love most, you began to identify their flaws first. If I already know that this isn’t the best, you think to yourself, nobody else can knock me down.
In this process, you began looking for what you thought would be “good enough” to be worthy. You began to identify everything that you perceived to be beyond you, or out of your league. You began to idealize the body type that you could never have, the city you’d never live in, the work you didn’t even really want to do.
You were trained to think that what you did was never enough, so you began to associate anything that wasn’t yours with adequacy.
When someone is incapable of loving you, they make you feel as though who you are is not lovable. What you interpret from this is that you have to become someone, and something, you are not in order to earn it. In adulthood, it’s no longer about earning the love of your parents or friends. It’s about earning love from yourself.
If you never realize that you were doing this in the first place, you carry it throughout your entire life.
First, it’s the kids in school. They’re always more popular, better liked, have nicer houses and clothes. Then, it’s your peers, and your coworkers. Then, it’s strangers on the internet. Your perception of others is entirely skewed, because you’ve pretty much been trained to seek that out.
If you want to start feeling good enough, you have to start validating your own life choices the way you have spent so many years validating others. You have to start falling in love with where you live, focusing on the positives of the work you do, wearing the style that makes you feel most like yourself. You need role models who look like you, and sound like you, who remind you that it is more than okay to be who you are.
You have to consciously and intentionally learn to love, or at least appreciate, what you have more than what you don’t. The only reason that one seems better than another is because there is one you are idealizing in your head, and another you are downplaying.
You get to choose how you see this. You get to choose what’s enough for your life. Take back that power and take back your existence. Make it your own. Make it something that defies all the rules you set up your social hierarchy with. Create a world that you are proud to live in, and let others who see you for who you are inside of it, too.