you are good enough

Why You’re Already Good Enough

What are your goals for the next year of your life? What about five years from today?

With goals for our future, we’re better equipped to avoid the minor distractions of daily life and ignore what isn’t important or doesn’t provide our lives with some kind of value. Goals fill us with a sense of purpose and intention, and they help guide our decisions, actions, and behaviors. For these reasons, setting and achieving goals is a powerful way to improve our lives.

“Without goals, you are living reactively, letting life push you around. With goals, you can live a proactive life, steering toward a destination. You know where your path is supposed to lead.” ~ J.D. Roth

But with a constant focus on creating our future (better) selves, it’s easy to fall into a cycle of self-improvement that leaves us feeling perpetually unsatisfied with the person we are today. While we’re focused on the next thing we want to change, we ignore all the progress we’ve already made and everything we’ve accomplished. There’s a nagging feeling inside us that something isn’t quite right, that we haven’t yet done enough or aren’t quite good enough.

Instead of filling us with hope for the future, our dreams have left us feeling unfulfilled…

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Buddha

We should all seek to improve and become better people, but at some point we need to take a moment out of our busy lives to just be. To stop, look around, and reflect upon our accomplishments. Our days needn’t be spent in an endless struggle for improvement. Our purpose in this world isn’t to toil and struggle everyday … even if doing so makes us a “better” person.

Sometimes we need to take a break from the personal development treadmill to accept ourselves for who we are and be grateful for our lives just as they are … as imperfect as it all might be … to remind ourselves just how fortunate we are. Instead of paying attention to the flaws, focus on all of the good things life has to offer; the things that bring you joy and make you smile when you think about them, the things that make you feel proud of yourself, and the things that remind you how important you are.

“The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.” ~ Desiderius Erasmus

In our quest for self-improvement, we become so focused on making our lives better that we fail to appreciate all that we have, often forgetting about those whose with lives less fortunate than our own. Be appreciative for the life you have and be proud of who you are. The best person you can be is the person you are … and chances are, you’re already good enough.

Steven is the author of the blog Hundred Goals where he writes about following your dreams and accomplishing your goals. Stalk him on Facebook.

Photo credit.

  • We do need to take time to accept ourselves for who we are.  This takes constant awareness, especially when we’re focusing on our personal development. I wrote a post with the same title with a bit of a different focus –

    • And to enjoy everything we’ve accomplished. It’s too easy to overlook all that we’ve done when we’re focused on creating a better future for ourselves. Looking back to see how far we’ve come is just as important as preparing for tomorrow … and enjoying this moment is more important than either the past or the future because now is the only reality we truly have.

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  • L Jamesmcfarland

    I had a teacher that would say, “you have a choice of looking uphill or downhill in life- you can look at how much further you you have to go, and at all the people who’ve gotten a way better deal than you- or you can look at how far you’ve already come and how many people who got a way worse ‘deal’ than you.” Part of moving through life effectively is being in control of where you focus.

    -Jim McFarland

    • You have to know where you’re going if you’re ever going to get there. If you don’t have a destination, you’ll spend your life wandering aimlessly. Of course, even the best laid plans don’t always go as expected, but having a plan is still better than none at all.

  • Jihan_747

    The problem is not in feeling unworthy because of what we believe we should be in the future, rather it is in feeling that we’ve ended up to be a less version of what we once aspired to become. I wonder where my younger me is gone, when in my life I lost my passionate and confident self. Where did that girl who believed that she could make whatever the hell she wanted come true get lost? The problem is that what we become is just a disappointment to our younger selves.

    • It’s not always just about the child in us that we’re disappointing, but the younger version of ourselves from last year, last week or one minute ago. Each decision we make (or fail to make, for that matter) might lead to disappointment in our current selves. We try to set our lives up so that our future self will be happy, but how can we forecast what will make us happy next year or ten years from now? People change, life changes…we just need to continually adjust our sails. If you (today) aren’t happy with where your life is (today), that’s a sign that something needs to change. Don’t worry so much about letting down the child version of you; there’s no way you had the knowledge or perspective you have today that could predict the challenges you’ve had to face until now.

  • Zack

    Thanks for this – great reminder!

  • I keep a gratitude journal so I can focus on and appreciate all the good things I currently have in my life. I’ll continue to set big goals for myself, but taking the time to see how many blessings I have right now keeps me in a positive mindset.

    • That’s a great idea! While I don’t journal, I do blog … and I find that to be a good way to get my thoughts out there. When I write, it gives me an opportunity to develop my ideas about life. It also provides a place for me to collect my accomplishments … and seeing it all in one place reminds me how fortunate I am.

  • Julianne Le

    I totally needed to read this today. I was dealing with a quarterly crisis last night, feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Thanks for this!

  • abeardsell

    You quote Buddah and I have heard people talk about separating “Clocktime” from living in the present moment. 

    What you say about goal setting is true in that it is a useful process and once you have set your goal and devised an action plan to achieve it, then forget about it and just concentrate on what you are doing at that moment. 

    Clocktime is deliberately setting aside time to plan, set goals and review your previous action. It is a deliberate distraction from concentrating on the “now” and once we have planned, set our goals, and reviewed what we need to review, then we can switch our minds  back to focussing on the present moment.  In this present moment there is no room for self critisism, doubt or worry as you are too busy absorbing what is going on right now.  

    Great article.  Thank you. 

    • Glad you enjoyed it!

      Goals are a must (Leo Babauta would disagree … but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this point.) But so is enjoying the rewards of all your work, and in order to do that, one must appreciate their current situation, even if it’s not perfect. There’s always time for improvement (unless there’s not) but the only time one can enjoy the moment is at THAT moment. I think we’d all be a little better off if we’d have more of those moments than worrying about the future…

  • Alyssa

    I second this. Its an interesting topic for meditation. Who are we trying to be good enough for? The standards we set for judging ourselves are often set on unrealistic standards. When we stop trying to be good enough for others and start being happy for ourselves life really happens. Its an awesome freedom we can have to be grateful that only I am me, and that’s pretty awesome. 

  • Rudolph

    I so needed those words…I got mad and was about to snap at any time but then I realized that this web page offers articles really rewarding…thanks!!
    And from now on, I will be appreciative for what I’ve got and what I’ve accomplished so far.

  • Templar

    If you’re already good enough, why do other people constantly criticise you? I’ve never been good enough. Doubt I ever will. How can I be proud of who I am when I’ve been a failure all my life?

    • Hi Templar,

      I understand how you feel.

  • bonz04

    As a good person, I can’t say that I was already good enough.
    I never feel that I achieved the goal that I wanted to be. Always trying to be best.

  • Love that Erasmus quote.

    The point you made towards the end is incredibly powerful. If people did just that (appreciated what they are) it would change their outlook for the better.

    Here’s a quick tip to help your readers take that excellent point to the next level:

    Get a notepad (one of those big spiral-bound ones) and write all the things in your life that you have and that you’ve achieved that you’re grateful for.

    Include things like your relationships (only the positive ones to start with), things you’ve achieved at work, holiday memories you cherish, everything.

    As you progress and start to accept yourself and your life more, you’ll be able to add the ‘negative’ things in too, as you’ll see the positives that came from them.

    Each day for 30 days, spend 10-15 minutes looking through it and being grateful. 

    Then see how much better and happier you feel after 30 days.

    Before you ask, I can’t take credit for this. Credit must go to Andy Shaw and his excellent book series, ‘A Bug Free Mind’.