What if the Desire to “Be Better” Actually Holds You Back?

Cartoon image of a tired woman walking through wilderness carrying a heavy, full sack over her shoulder

Today’s article was written by Change Coach Kristina Bruce


I’ve noticed a theme amongst the clients I work with who are recovering from life-long dieting and weight loss attempts: they want to be “better”.


I deeply resonate with this drive, and I’m sure you can too. If not in the area of wanting to change your body, then in some other area of your life: wanting to be a “better” spouse, a “better” parent, “better” employee, etc.


My earliest memory of wanting to “be better” was when I was 2 1/2 years old. I know I was this young because “Christina, 2 1/2 years old” was written on the back of the drawing my little mind was critiquing at the time (I changed my name to be spelled with a K later in life, but that’s another story).


I was drawing a picture of our family dog and my father was impressed. I remember him saying something along the lines of, “Wow! That’s so good!” I felt a moment of pride, and then went about trying to re-create the drawing.


I started drawing the dog again and couldn’t quite get it right. I was so frustrated. I felt deflated. The drawing wasn’t “good enough”, and it felt like I, as a person, wasn’t good enough.


At 2 1/2 years old. This stuff runs deep.


Maybe this feeling of “not good enough” isn’t “mine” or yours personally. The feeling of “not good enough” has been in the collective consciousness for centuries. Perhaps we inherited this pattern and then our minds ran with it. Innocently trying to “protect” us in this dog-eat-dog mentality we were born into.


“Being better” feels safer to a mind. But feeling “not good enough” (the place we’d have to be in order to believe we need to be “better”) feels terrible.


It feels sad. Lonely. Just wanting to feel loved.


While in my personal journey I’ve done lot of work to see that my body doesn’t need to be X number of pounds or my face covered in makeup to be “good enough”, the habit of the mind to find ALL the places where I’m not “good enough” continues. Whether it’s in how much money I have, or the success of my business, etc.


The mind continues on searching, finding all the places where I don’t measure up.


And in those moments where the thoughts are intense, I BELIEVE it. No matter how much I can “see it’s thinking” at other times, when I’m in the middle of the thought storm – I just can’t. It feels true. I really feel not good enough.


My mind even takes the understandings I’ve come to see and wants me to “be better” at it. To be better at awakening, to be better at healing.


‘Cause to the mind, I’m never enough. Ever.


Ever, ever, ever.


That’s why it’s been SO helpful in the moments I’m not fully caught up in my thinking, to know that who I am really am is NOT my thinking. “I” don’t really believe I’m not good enough. It’s just a story my mind tells me.


What ACTUALLY feels better is sitting with how I am right now – WITH all these thoughts and feelings of “not good enough”, and seeing how it’s ALL actually OK.


What’s been helpful is playing with the feelings of “not good enough” and allowing them to be there as they are. Without trying to change or make them go away. Allowing them to be loved AS THEY ARE.


I do this in my states of clarity, before the next thought storm rolls through again.


This is how it seems to go: getting caught up in thought storms of unworthiness and not-enough-ness, thinking I need to be better, disliking and resisting it. Then coming back to a space of clarity after it passes, and feeling love being offered up.


Love for who I am right now, as I am. With no requirement to be better.


Strangely, I “arrive” at the place I was hoping “being better” would get me to.


I just didn’t realize that I was already there.


And that you are there, too.


Learn more about Kristina here: https://www.kristinabruce.com/



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