Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Enough?

I often wonder when I'll ever feel like I'm good enough. I'm not even sure what constitutes "good enough" but I know that I don't feel like I'm there.

It's strange to me how I can go through such incredible growth experiences and have to do new and scary things and see some success in them, but then quickly revert back to the young woman I was at 18, huddled on a bathroom floor crying from the emptiness within.

It's not like I don't recognize that I have worth in God's eyes, but somehow that knowledge has infiltrated my mind and not my soul. I know that I'm of enough worth to God that I shouldn't be treated like crap. I also recognize that I have some potential within me, but I honestly don't see where I'm of any real use to Him or to anyone else on this world. If I wasn't here, someone else would have taken my place and life would still be going on the way it is.
I'm not digging for compliments or reassurances from friends and family with this statement. I know that to some of you I've made a difference and that many of you love me. The problem is that I just don't have that inner conviction that I matter. I can see how I have grown, matured, and become a better person, but I still have no sense of what my purpose is on this earth. Surely it's more than being a good housekeeper and a decent wife and mother?

There have been times in my life when I've glimpsed what it feels like to really know I'm of worth. Unfortunately, most of those times it still came down to being of use to someone for a specific reason. Outside of being "useful" I don't feel any sense of self-worth. And I really don't know how to "fix" that. I've studied the scriptures, prayed, served, and accepted challenges to grow. Each experience has helped me feel better about myself during the moment. But it never lasts. It's like I start over fresh with each new challenge. I'm still just as scared, just as insecure, just as frightened of making a mistake, and wanting nothing more than to hide back in my shell again.

There's no point trying to trace the cause of this problem. Placing blame or living with regrets doesn't help. I accept that whatever happened in the past, including the many bad choices I made, this is the result. But what I want to know is- when and how do I feel that sense of worth that I long for? Is this to be my "thorn in the flesh" for as long as I live? Will I never be able to truly feel worthwhile and loved?
The answer is: I don't know. What I do know is that I trust God enough to keep taking one day at a time and I believe in Him enough to push myself out of my shell and continue becoming the woman I think He wants me to be. I know that He doesn't want me to feel like this, and that thought alone gives me comfort.


Papa D said...

Patty, I wrote the following last year, and it came to mind again as I read this post:

I modified that post for a group blog and added a few things. The main parts I want to excerpt form the modified post are:

" I do believe deeply, however, that all of us have manifestations of “disabilities” (intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) - most of which are not severe enough to prompt a clinical diagnosis and the vast majority of which we are unaware."

"Our second Article of Faith says that we will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression. I believe this means that we will be punished only for what we choose to do in those areas where we really could have chosen differently. I believe that there are things we do as a result of the physiological baggage we inherited as a result of the Fall (Adam’s transgression) - things that, in reality, we do that we couldn’t have chosen to do differently. I believe that those things will not be judged to our account - that, just like my mother’s episodes of paranoia won’t be held against her, there are many things we do that will not be held against us. Accepting that we are inherently flawed and yet, through the Atonement, capable of being redeemed if we simply try our best to change what we are capable of changing is an amazingly liberating view of the “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ - a fundamental but subtle shift in our understanding of repentance that makes it a wonderfully gracious gift and not a burden."

Maybe what you describe is a thorn of the flesh that won't go away fully in this lifetime - but you've identified the way to endure to the end, even if that's the case.

God bless you in that journey.

Patty said...

Papa- what's weird is that I have a complete belief that the atonement covers everything that I see as lacking. I don't have any problem with accepting forgiveness and I don't carry a lot of guilt over those things that I struggle to change. I just don't feel that I have any intrinsic worth, even without any disabilities or other issues I have. The lack of self-worth stems from something deeper than just feeling like I'm not good enough in the world's sense because I know that with the Savior's atonement I'm good enough to be "saved."

Mama D said...

You have made a difference for me - and you have the courage to say things that I sometimes feel but don't have the courage to put into words...

I think you nailed it - you just have to keep trying, one day at a time, to instill the knowledge of your intrinsic worth into your soul.

Not giving up, even as you trust in Christ's atonement, is the journey.

Sarah said...

Scott gave me a book once called "Being Enough" I only read a couple of chapters (I don't do so well without fiction on a juvenile level!) But it is a good one (At least the chapter I read!) If you want to borrow it you can.

Mama D said...

Over the past few weeks my girls have been listening (over and over) to this song by Francesca Battistelli, Free to Be Me. They were just listening to it again, and I thought of you and this post.

Listen - and remember you are free to be you, with your weaknesses and strengths and joys. It's okay to have a few dents in our fenders and rips in our jeans. <3

chelle said...

I am so there...every day. It is the also the reason I am afraid of dying. I am so afraid of not being good enough. (especially when being summed up by someone perfect.)
And yes, I too know all of the above mentioned things, but it still doesn't sink in and let me accept it.
You are more than "good enough"! (and so am I....I think...maybe...err maybe not. =\

Red said...

HI Patty,
OH my, I could not read this and exit without leaving a comment. You do not know me. My name is Patty too. I can hardly believe I randomly came across your blog and this specific post. I know exactly, exactly how you feel. You have the heart of so many woman I know but you are rare in that you can actually put words to it. I have walked that road you talk about more than I would have cared to. I have so much to say to you! I have so much I want to share with you. Patty, there IS hope. Not some temporary hope or relief from life that is cyclical, or temporary; but permanent hope and fulfillment and contentment. It's opposite what you think; it is not anything that lies within you or your capability or your being good enough either.

You have found out just like I found out; why this emptiness, this longing to be good enough to be of worth? Even when we give ourselves pep talks and hear encouraging words from others, deep inside we have this nagging feeling; how good is good enough? Am I...(gulp) good enough? That empty dead feeling inside. I mean 2 Nephi says liars are thrust into hell. Who has not told even a small lie? Jesus says to be wrongly angry w/ someone is guilty of murder. Moroni 10:32 says, "deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you." The latest lesson in RS about sacrifice; it seems like we are expected to be better than we can be and then improve some more. Just how righteous do we have to be to make the mark? How worthy? I mean what does denying yourself of all ungodliness look like? How good is that before we get grace? Didn't Jesus say in Matthew,"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." It seems like your emptiness inside is not at all what Jesus describes here. I bet you would like that rest for your soul. I sure did. No, this is not your thorn in the flesh you have to endure the rest of your life. This is very specific to many, many people I've met, myself included. Listen, John 10:10 talks about how the Lord came to give us not just life, but an ABUNDANT life. I'm sure you have many great blessings, but I hear your hurt and heart ache. I know your pain personally, AND I know what the Lord is referring to here in John. I know what it is you need.

Start here. I found something you HAVE to read!! It answers so many questions. Oh please please take the time to do this: 1. Pray for wisdom 2. Ask yourself these questions and see if you can find the answers in Galatians starting in chapter 2. Finally, 3. Review the third Article of Faith. Here goes:

1. How do I become worthy or righteous?
2. How are we viewed as just or right in Heavenly Father's eyes? How are we NOT just before Him? Gal 2:16
3. How is "grace" frustrated? Gal 2:21
4. What makes Christ's death a vain or meaningless thing? Gal 2:21
5. In Galatians 3:8, who will God justify? How will He justify them?
6. Who is under the curse? Gal 3:10
7. How is man NOT justified in the sight of Heavenly Father? Galatians 3:11.
8. What has Christ redeemed us from? Gal 3:13
9. Gal 3:21 Righteousness does not come from doing what?
10. Gal 3:22 The promise goes to whom?
11. Gal 3 23-25 The law is a what? What are we no longer under?
12. Christ is of no effect for whom? Gal 5:4
Also: Ephesians 2:8-9,

That is a start. It is fabulous that of the thousands of blogs, I ran into yours and read this exact post! I would love to share my testimony with you. My email is