I am at an online conscious parenting workshop. As we are sharing our deepest fears, one fear stands out in particular:
I am not good enough (IANGE)
It stands out not because of its originality but out of familiarity. Every single participant has it, some even share they “have been doing a lot of work around it” but it is still there:
The sneaky, persistent voice whispering: “you’re not good enough”. The voice that stops you in your tracks just when you are feeling good about yourself.
I got curious,
- Why are we so attached to it?
- Why do we even listen to it? It obviously wants to keep us small.
- Why don’t we just release it and be the best versions of ourselves?
If it were so easy, everyone would be flying in space, being a super parent, a multimillionaire entrepreneur, and a stellar lover with a healthy, fit body.
On the other hand, it should be easy. Look at nature. No such drama there.
Have you seen a flower refusing to blossom because it doesn’t feel good enough? Have you seen a bear refusing to come out of its cave because it doesn’t feel good enough? It’s ridiculous.
Now, that we agree that we humans come with a ridiculous IANGE built-in, how do we deal with it?
Let’s unpack the fear of not being good enough.
IANGE = Judge
Imagine, you’ve just reached a milestone. Congratulations! Now you’re good enough. Wait, wait, BUT NO! The “good enough” mark has also shifted. Again, you have to catch up. It’s a never-ending chase.
If the IANGE voice will keep on judging us, let’s make sure it is a fair judge, OK? Let’s define the size of the field we’re playing on, competing for a medal in “good enough” -ness.
Who is good enough, who is good? What’s the measuring stick? What’s the golden standard?
When we measure against our potential, it’s an encouraging thought. We are only competing against ourselves. We have potential, it’s in us. It’s a matter of developing it.
When we measure against some external person still there is hope. Good enough-ness, even greatness, is possible, here’s how it’s done, here’s a role model. If they can do it, I can too.
In the worst case, we measure against a fantasy. An image that we’ve somehow unconsciously put together, an unattainable set of standards. An impossible collage of the flashiest Instagram influencers, the smartest of our co-workers, Tim Ferris, Oprah, and Gisele Bundchen.
I bet you recognize this unconscious fantasy as your measuring stick. In this case, congratulations, the measuring stick has just converted into a shovel that will bury you dead underground.
IANGE = Warning
The fear of not being good enough protects us.
Don’t fly too high, it warns.
Air is thinner up there. Be aware. Stay safe.
From an evolutionary point of view, it makes all the sense.
Know your place in the herd/pack. Don’t go fighting bigger guys cos’ you’re not strong enough and you will lose, even die.
Animals have this fail-safe instinctively. Except for small dogs with grandiose delusions that get them to charge dogs twice their size.
IANGE is the parking assist beeping when you approach a barrier.
IANGE is the low fuel warning on your car’s dashboard.
Thank you for the warning, but no thank you. I know I can probably have at least another 20cm to maneuver or another 20km to drive before something really terrible happens.
You have the bandwidth. You’re not going to break. Take IANGE as a warning and still do what you are up to.
IANGE = Comfort
There’s something comforting about IANGE.
Poor me, everyone else is good and I am not good enough. I am in my familiar misery, comfortable self-pity and stuckness.
Since I am not good anyways, why try?
There’s an element of giving up and waiting for someone to come save us.
Hanging out in the deepest of our miserable Comfort zone and refusing to take responsibility has its own charm, but eventually, it gets dull and boring.
Please, pretty please, come out of your comfortable, boring IANGE. Be a Baron Munchausen, pull yourself out of the mud by your hair. Let’s go out and play.
Plus, no one is coming to save you anyways.
“Not good enough” is good enough
Last but not least, the truth is “not good enough” is good enough. For now. Otherwise, we would have changed it, wouldn’t we?
I leave you with a beautiful, good-feeling quote to spark some further insights:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.
– Marianne Williamson
Author, Spiritual teacher