What is your definition of being good enough? And is there an actual finish line with a prize when it’s reached?
I believe we always need to reflect on these two questions whenever we feel ourselves spiraling down into that “I hate myself” rabbit hole.
In school, I was definitely one of those girls hung up on buying the coolest jewelry or clothes based on what I saw on my classmates. These were the girls who constantly socialized, the popular ones who stood out from the rest. They caused the most trouble with the teachers, yet still maintained to be stylish, funny, and put together. To me, they carried themselves so well with effortless confidence, even when they’d get detention. It was as if they weren’t bothered at all for causing some ruckus. It was perhaps their purpose to be so free and outspoken. I saw something “special” about this type of personality. I was jealous.
By nature, I was always the shy quiet one. And then of course was the kid who had both braces and glasses. So whenever a few of these popular girls spoke to me, I’d freeze. Like why are you talking to me?
I later realized that because I looked like a geek and because of the known Asian stereotypes, they wanted help with homework or the lessons we just learned. But in truth, I was not the best at all in my studies. Especially with Math, which of course being Asian, everyone thought I excelled in.
This made me feel even worse about myself. Yet, I still strived to be like them and be cool, hoping I’d get their attention and thus enter my dream circle of friends.
It wasn’t until years later during my accident recovery that one of the popular girls reached out after I posted an authentic photo of my injury and a few words about my hardships. Though this was a difficult time in my life, I was encouraged to share who I was now as more people began to hear about what happened to me, and ask questions. There was no use hiding if this was my life now. Even if that meant I still felt imperfect and not good enough. I decided I’d never be.
This girl, who I’ll call Kat, wasn’t one of the girls who asked me to help her with homework or anything schoolwork related. She was already smart. But I admired her outgoing spirit. Kat was always vocal about certain topics yet also told fun stories and jokes. And she was that student who attended all the important school events and was involved with a lot of school activities. This was what made her “popular” with everyone, practically the entire school including the teachers, not just our grade.
When she contacted me, she told me about how courageous and beautiful I was and at the end of the day, this is something I should celebrate in surviving through. As we continued to talk, she began to open up and tell me about her own issues with family matters and even her struggles in school, specifically trying to measure up to other students’ studies and grades.
This message taught me three things:
There is no such thing as an end product as I believe we are evolving creatures of an evolving world. We’re all on different paths so if you like competition, compete against yourself. Be good enough for yourself. Do it for yourself.
And if there is a prize, it is pure personal happiness given once you embrace and show off the true you.
The best way to be the truest form of yourself is to think back on who you were before, and acknowledge how far you’ve come, the lessons you’ve learned. This may include the hardships you’ve faced internally or physically. You survived and more importantly, you are the person you are supposed to be today.
And the more you embrace that this is good enough for you, then the more you’ll spread happiness and inspire others to practice this mindset as well.
Today, I’m sure glad I have friends who support who I am, like Kat. Having deep genuine conversations like what I had with her and continue to have are only beneficial in making us create better versions of ourselves. Don’t underestimate connecting with others or checking in. You never know who is going through something similar as you.
With that said, be sure to surround yourself with positive authentic people, who will empower you even further to feel good enough.
July 19, 2020