Would I ever be good enough?
My Freshman Year at a new high school started smoothly. Even though I’m not the most social person, I found some good friends and tried to make the best of this new experience.
But there was one problem. I was caught up in wondering how other people viewed me, or how valuable I was based on what other people thought. When my older sister invited me to join the swim team with her during the winter of my freshman year, things got even worse.
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I used to swim when I was younger, and had enjoyed the experience. But I really struggled when I began swimming again. Everyone was prettier or skinnier or more fun than I was. I also struggled because I wasn’t a fast swimmer. It felt like I wasn’t making any progress, while other people seemed to be advancing effortlessly. My self-worth and self-confidence were declining rapidly, and it was all because of a simple glance at the person next to me in the pool.
I was caught up in wondering how other people viewed me.
I came to the conclusion that I would never be good enough. My grades weren’t high enough; I didn’t have enough spontaneity; I couldn’t be loved. I saw the best in everyone, but I couldn’t find the best in myself. Thoughts like these plagued me for weeks. I would cry myself to sleep most nights. To make matters worse, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I kept all these detrimental, suffocating feelings trapped inside me.
It was a long time before I could tell my mom that I wasn’t doing well; when I finally did, it gave me some relief, but it wasn’t enough. I couldn’t figure out how to stop comparing myself with others—until I realized what could help: Christian Science. Praying and thinking about things in a more spiritual way had always helped me in the past. Why not now?
I started addressing this issue by reminding myself of what I’d learned in Sunday School: that as a child of God, I was perfect in every way because that’s how God created me. The book of Genesis in the Bible says that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (1:27). I like a related passage in Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that says, “. . . you learn that neither mortal mind nor matter is the image or likeness of God, and that immortal Mind is not in matter” (p. 71). These two passages helped me understand that I needed to look past a superficial sense of identity based on my looks or even my accomplishments and get a deeper understanding of who I am, based only on God.
The way I viewed myself began to change. I learned that we are all God’s children, expressing the diversity of God’s qualities, which are totally good.
Two of my favorite synonyms for God are Mind and Love. I knew that there is one Mind and that because this Mind is Love, Mind would not tell me terrible things about myself. So why should I believe them?
The way I viewed myself began to change. I learned that just being myself was enough. Everyone is different, but we are all God’s children, expressing the diversity of God’s qualities, which are totally good. Understanding this helped me a lot, and I improved substantially.
Later, though, I found myself in a friendship where I spent so much time with this friend that everyone started comparing us, and I fell back into thinking negatively about myself.
I needed space and time to remember who I was. I prayed and realized that this wasn’t about other people loving me; this was about God loving me. I stayed with the idea that God loves me unconditionally and that as His reflection I am truly worthy because He made me worthy.
Like all of us, I still compare myself to other people sometimes. But I know I am more at peace with myself because of the way my high school experience helped me recognize who I am as God’s expression and understand that only what God as Mind says and knows about me really matters.