I am worthless and unimportant. I am not enough. And last year proved it.
I was in a job that wasn’t good for my mental health for a variety of reasons, so I left. I wasn’t enough to withstand it. Little One had some teeth pulled a year ago. I wasn’t a good enough owner to keep all her pearly whites pearly white. I didn’t complete a novel in 2017. I’m not a good enough writer. Sometimes it takes me longer than I’d like to return texts that friends send. I’m not a good friend to them. Sometimes it takes friends a long time to respond to me. I’m not good enough for them. I barely read any books this year. I’m not a good enough reader. I don’t think I brushed all of Little One’s teeth last night. I just keep failing. I don’t spend as much time with my niece and nephews as I could. I’m not a good enough aunt. My parents probably hoped for more from me when I was born. I’ve let them down.
And there are so many more examples I could give.
I am worthless and unimportant. I am not enough. And last year proved it. Just like the year before. And the year before that. Scroll through the text messages on my phone, read the names in order, and I will tell you how “not enough” I was in 2017.
This mindset of being “not enough” is something I worked on last year. It popped up a lot as I journaled through a Bible study. It was such a constant refrain in the first six months of the year that when I saw a friend write “enough” on her arm to remind herself that she is enough, I did the same thing. For most of April and all of May I kept writing the word enough on my arm, placed specifically where I could see it peek out of my sleeves and have the reminder, but where no one would be able to see the whole word.
So. Here’s the hard truth: I’m not perfect. I’ve failed at things. I’ve let people down. I’ve let myself down. That’s part of human nature.
I am a work in progress. There are areas in my life I know I want to work on. And I’m fairly confident that when I feel more settled in those parts of my life, other areas that I need to work on will be revealed. That’s part of life. I always want to work on becoming a better version of myself and, as the imperfect person I am, that will be a lifelong pursuit.
But. It doesn’t mean I’m worthless. It doesn’t mean I’m not enough. It just means I have things to work on, just like everyone else.
So, why am I sharing this cheery (ha!) post as my first post of the new year?
Because I know I’m not alone. I got the idea to write enough on my arm after seeing a friend do it — a friend who felt the same way. And I know we’re not the only ones. Who and what are on your list? Who have you let down? Who have you failed? And what have you told yourself about your value and your worth?
It doesn’t take long for that mantra to seep into our consciousness. It doesn’t take long for those words to take root, to grow, and spread. It doesn’t take long for those words to start to define us.
Don’t let them.
The people I feel I’ve let down probably don’t see me the way I sometimes see myself. And, most importantly, my failures–real or perceived–don’t define my value, my worth as a human being. I’m reminded of this every time I look down at my wrist. After I stopped writing “enough” on my arm, I started drawing a cross on my wrist; a cross I eventually had tattooed over the summer. All I have to do is look at that cross to know that I am loved, I am valuable, and I have worth.
And you are/do, too.
As we head into 2018, I hope we all make a promise to ourselves: that we will watch what we say and think about ourselves. That even as we all strive to become better versions of ourselves, we are gracious to ourselves, just as we are gracious to those who may believe they’ve failed us. And I pray that we know our worth doesn’t lie in the things we do or don’t do.
Is this something you struggle with too?