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The Fear of Not Being Good Enough

Fear of not being good enough

It scares the hell out of me to admit this and it scares me even more to share it with you, but I’m going to say it anyway: I am so afraid of not being good enough.

Maybe this is a sign that my quarter-life crisis is just around the bend (or maybe this is the beginning? is that something you only recognize in retrospect?), but lately I’ve been finding myself paralyzed by indecisiveness because I am afraid that I am not good enough and that I am undeserving. Staying in bed and surrendering to Netflix has never been a more appealing option.

There are some parts of my life that are out of my control and I accept that. It is easy to complain about something that the universe forced upon you because it isn’t your fault after all, you just have to react to it. It is the parts that I have control of that scare me the most.

We are so full of expectations of ourselves that we tend to hold ourselves to impossibly high standards – standards that we will never live up to. (I’m using “we” here because I am hoping that I am not alone in feeling this way). We hold others to standards too, but these standards are far more balanced and reasonable. We’re starting to get over surrounding ourselves with people who bring us down, that is no longer a problem. For the most part, we are proud of our friends, their accomplishments, and their life choices – even if we wouldn’t choose them for ourselves.

Considering things and making decisions about issues that will affect us more than six months down the road are nearly unimaginable. Some of our goals are so far off it seems like we will never reach them. But now that I am working my way into my mid-twenties, I have started to reach some of those goals and now that I have, I have absolutely no idea what to do next.

Even with all that said, I am scared of not being good enough.

I am afraid that I am not a good enough person, not a good enough wife, not a good enough friend, not a good enough sister, not a good enough daughter, not deserving of a good job or a happy life. I am afraid that I will never be. I fear that I will never live up to the expectations I imagine that others have for me and that I have for myself. I am afraid of letting people down and I am afraid that the way the world sees me is not the way I want to be perceived. To add more fuel to the flames, I’m not really sure how I want to be perceived to begin with.

I have noticed that in the blogosphere and on social networking sites such as Twitter, rebrands are becoming increasingly popular – even after a blog or site has been live for a month or two. It seems that many twenty-somethings don’t know what to do next and are living in fear of not being good enough and not presenting the right image publicly.

The fear of not being good enough sounds rather similar to the fear of failure, I think. We have all failed at one thing or another. I fail at things everyday. I’m starting to think that recognizing that failure as part of growth isn’t good enough anymore. The two differ in that failure is a personal thing, but not being good enough is a social thing. It is reflected in our decisions to play it safe, our decisions to change our branding, our decisions to not reach higher and dream bigger.

To some extent, I know I need to get over it and get on with things, but I also think that expressing ourselves and our feelings is so, so important. As much as it may feel like it, we are not alone in our struggles.

Can you relate or do you completely disagree? 

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.