The “If is not great, it is not ok” trap. Fight against the fear of not being good enough.

I don’t feel particularly proud of this but I have a tendency of wanting to be the best.

Personally, I don’t think there is nothing wrong with seeking overachieve as long as you don’t let failure break you down, because this disappointment and frustration is rarely caused by a real failure. It is more like nothing is ever good enough. You are always looking to prove to others and to yourself that you can do everything and be the first at doing it and then you look around at your social environment and see their success and you are convinced you are not doing enough and you get frustrated thinking you are not good enough.

Seeking to be the best

Do you want to be the best you can be or you want to be the best in comparition with the rest? If the answer is the first one, there’s no problem with that and it’s even positive and highly recommended but if the answer is the latter… well, we have a tiny problem there…

You can try your best at being the best version of yourself and still not being as good as the other person you are comparing yourself with, and that shouldn’t frustrate you because everybody is different and that person might be great at a certain skill and you might be great at another.

The thing is that when you compare yourself with others you are more likely to end up frustrated because there is always a part that you won’t be able to control and that is the excellence of the other person, the only excellence you can control is yours, so you better focus on that.


I have a thing with mediocrity. I am scared to death of it. I think this is one of my biggest fears, I rather die than be diluted between the normality of the vast majority.

So, nothing wrong with wanting to stand out and to not mingle into the dull average but, again, that difference should come from inside you not from a willing to be different just for the sake of being different, like a form of teenage rebelion. You are what you are and the good news is you are already different and special, like everybody else is, so there is no need to force yourself, just be true to yourself.

The trap of stand up

This is the trap I have being falling all my life, always trying to be the best amongst all the people around me, or trying to stand out for some quality, and always feeling miserable and  frustrated because more often than not I couldn’t. This situation is doomed to crush your self-esteem, which is the biggest problem one can face to. You think you are not up to the mark just because you are not up to others’ mark, oblivious to the effort, time and previous failures of the others, and oblivious to your own effort and circumstances.

When you want to achieve things in relation with other people, I mean, when you want to achieve something that someone else got, you are bound to fail because you’re a different person and you won’t get that exact same thing, you might get other thing though, something that belongs to you according to your being.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

I am learning this lesson the hard way. I might have heard “don’t be so hard on yourself” multiple times and I agree, but it took me a while to interiorize it.

  • I understood that I won’t always get it right and that’s not that bad. Accept that you will be wrong more often that you will be right, accept it and learn form it.
  • I am learning that is ok to fail because that offers you the chance to learn what doesn’t work and follow another technique.
  • I stopped thinking in the third type conditional. Eg. if I had done that differently I would have succeed… I’m a language teacher and I tend to think in grammar patterns sometimes, I’m dramatically biased by my profession! 😉 The thing is that there is no point in analysing events we can’t change. Let go about the mistakes of the past, embrace the present and act towards the future.
  • Aesop said “Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything” and with that I said it all.
  • The last thing I consider as essential is to believe fully that you are good enough, because despite all the flaws we have, we do have a lot of virtues too and the combination of both is that what make us unique. In order to believe  this, I started to chant “I am good enough” to myself every morning in front of the mirror because  I have been overwhelmed by stress and frustration lately. I am sure if one chant it enough, you’d finally believe it’s true. We are all good enough, so let’s start living like it.

4 thoughts on “The “If is not great, it is not ok” trap. Fight against the fear of not being good enough.

  1. I truly can relate to this one!
    As a recovering perfectionist (one that at least can hit publish more often), I find myself asking if my work is good enough, sometimes this just freezes me. But I have learned that I can just take a break and come back and finish what I was doing.
    I also have found that I underestimate my own work. Sometimes I think my articles are bad or not worth the time reading and then I see a lot of visits and shares that day. I just learned to stop judging myself, it’s not worth it. Beside I am always improving, the more practice I get the better. 🙂
    Thank you for this awesome post María! 🙂

    • I understand, I always have doubts about the quality of my work, sometimes I am right about having doubts because the work could be better but other times I get surprised by the positive feedback. One can’t be perfect all the time! Lol I guess is just a matter of allowing yourself to suck from time to time.

  2. Great post, Maria!

    I probably take myself a little too seriously at times and as such I get really down when I compare myself to others. It’s so damaging to my self esteem and I know I shouldn’t belittle what I have accomplished just because others have been better than me or arrived to answers a lot quicker than I have.

    I need to learn to stop comparing myself to others and just focus on being who I want to be!

    • Well said! Comparisons are odious and they are even worse when one compare yourself with others and wind up losing out.

      We are what we are, so we better focus in achieving the best version of ourselves and stop competing with the rest.

      Oh, and thanks for commenting! 🙂

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