Keeping on toes

The fear of inadequacy plagues us throughout our lives. We’re always afraid that we wouldn’t be good enough at our job, our relationship, our friendships, and pretty much everything else right down to lawn bowling. We spend our days wondering if we got that press release right, if our boss is silently scrutinizing us and thinking they might be better off without us, or if we’re really what the other person wants, or if we measure up to their expectations of us. Even if things were going all right, somewhere in the back of our minds the question will always lurk: Is it all enough? Am I enough?

When we feel inadequate, we try harder than we can afford to to show that given the chance, we can be good enough. Unfortunately this applies most to a relationship, because whether or not we like to admit it, no matter how bad a time we’re having at work, no matter how difficult everything else is, and no matter how self-sufficient we’d like to think we are, we just need to know that there’s someone we can come home to at the end of the day and who (hopefully) loves us just the way we are. Even then, twenty years down the road, we could still harbor the fear that what we say or do will never be good enough, and we might still be spending a good deal of our time looking at them as the person who second-guessed us so much before that we have to wonder if they’re still second-guessing us now.

We would lay down our lives to show the boss that we’re really not as inept as we may seem, to make the other person realize that we can really can get this relationship thing right, to comfort ourselves that we really can be good enough at life itself. This then begs the question: are we sticking to the job, the relationship, or whatever endeavor we have at hand because we know we really want it, or because it has reached a level at which we just want to prove our point?

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