I am so tired of feeling like I’m NOT enough. Not doing enough, not organized enough, not pretty enough, not in shape enough, not a good enough mom, not a good enough wife, etc. The list goes on and on. It’s really starting to make me feel down and depressed more often than not. I feel like there’s no way to live up to expectations. Is there anything I can do to break this way of thinking so that I don’t end up with a serious case of depression?
In the days of social media where everyone else’s lives appear so perfect, it’s difficult not to start comparing them to our own. We’re often bombarded with photos or comments about the perfect meals, the amazing workouts, elaborate children’s parties and photographs that are edited beyond recognition.
The first step, as you’ve already done, is to recognize what you’re doing — comparing yourself to these very high, often unrealistic expectations. It’s also helpful to identify where these expectations are coming from. Are they coming from what you see on social media or entertainment news stories; is there a certain person in your life who’s pushing these high expectations; was there some past experience that made you believe you were never good enough? These are things to consider when helping you decide whether this is something you can work on by yourself or you may need to seek out additional support, like therapy.
Here are some ideas on things to think about when you start feeling like you’re not enough.
Remember these types of “perfect” expectations truly are, unrealistic. No one posts photos of the giant mess that actually exists in their living room with toys on the floor and stained carpets. Not many people are willing to share photos when they just wake up in the morning with no make-up and hair sticking up everywhere.
It’s human nature to sometimes compare our lives with others, but it’s important to see everyone, yourself included, for who they really are, beautifully imperfect human beings. When you can start showing compassion to others, rather than frustration or jealousy, it becomes easier to show compassion to yourself as well.
Remember that your mind can be very convincing, though not always accurate. Everything you think may not be true. Take the time to examine the thoughts or messages you’re telling yourself, one at a time.
For example, “my house is a disaster; I have to get more organized.” Stop and think: Is your house really that bad? Do you see bugs crawling everywhere and the walls caving in or are there just toys on the floor from the kids having a good time? I’ve seen a quote that shows a good way to reframe this type of situation: “Sorry about the mess; we’re just making memories.”
Take the time to think about all the things you’ve done to get yourself to this point. Be proud of yourself for a little while. Make yourself a “Feel Good” file. Keep a folder or notebook and write down any time someone does and says something that makes you feel good about yourself. Include drawings from your children or special notes from family members that help you remember what a great person you really are. You could also keep a “thankful journal” where you write down 3 things you’re grateful for each day.
Comparing yourself to others can be a big temptation, but when you remember that each one of us is unique with all of our strengths and weaknesses and you have lots of people who love and care about you for exactly who you are right now, you can change those negative messages. If you find yourself continuing to struggle with feeling depressed more days than not or avoiding activities you used to enjoy, please don’t be afraid to seek professional help and support.
Therapists at Ozark Guidance would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback.
Disclaimer: This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.