(In)adequacy.

Are you happy with yourself?

Let me be a bit more specific.

Are you satisfied with who you are, what you are doing, and the directions you are heading with your life (career, relationship, friendship, lifestyle – yes, all of these directions) right now? Are you chasing what you want at the moment, or are you unable to? If you are unable to, why? Do you know what do you truly want?

I want to know. I honestly do.

We’re all inherently driven. The only difference is our motive. I’ve always found the why behind actions very fascinating. I think of it as catching a glimpse of someone else’s thought process and a learning opportunity.

I’ve struggled with the issue of inadequacy for a while. I know, what a banal issue to have, as everyone suffers through similar experiences. Why read another post by a random person about a problem that you are personally familiar with? I’m not sure. You’re welcome to close the page now and do something else that’s more meaningful to you.

What does adequacy even mean? Is there even a system to measure whether how sufficient someone is?

I think our upbringings partially influence our individual definition of adequacy. For example, when I was a child, my sense of how much I was worth depended on my grades, because of how much my parents (especially my mother) cared about them. Then as I got a little bit older, there were other factors that got mixed in, so test scores were not the only determining components of my adequacy. It wasn’t only about the report card letters anymore, but also about my plump physique and reticence.

I’ve associated my self worth with the clothing size I was wearing / the weight that appeared on the scale and how popular I was at school (this kind of got extended to the first and second year of university, too). I’d categorize myself as sub par unless I were a size zero and had people blowing up my phone with invitations to go to lunch / dinner / parties all the time.

…essentially, I was inadequate for most of my life according to those standards.

Don’t get me wrong and get disillusioned for a split second and believe that I’m a mature, functioning, and healthy adult.

Unfortunately, I’m not. I’d love to be one though…or at least a somewhat healthy, occasionally mature and functional adult.

I still fall back into the traps of feeling inadequate because of my clothing size (I know I’m not fat. I don’t know my weight, because even though I’ve passed through my binging, purging, and restricting days, I didn’t / don’t want anything to trigger this obsession anymore. I do think I’m in a place where I can purchase a scale soon and accept my weight now as long as I’m working on my body through eating healthier and working out though) and how often I go out with my friends / how much interaction I have with my friends (which is kind of difficult considering that most of my friends aren’t in Taiwan, and I haven’t been the best at actively putting myself out there to make new friends).

As we grow, we’re exposed to new people, fields, and experiences. Our measurement of self-sufficiency evolves along the way, too. My adequacy isn’t determined by my body type or the amount of attention I’m getting from different people anymore. If they were the deciding factors, I’d just exercise rigorously, eat cleanly, and just start using Tinder / Bumble again (these apps are too easy for women). There’s so many more factors, such as the quality of my relationships, how my business is developing & the future of it (as I’ve never felt like I’ve belonged to my parents’ empire, albeit how impressive it is), whether I’m making an impact / about to make an impact, or how honest, expressive, and genuine I am towards not only others but also to myself.

I’m sure you have certain characteristics that you use to determine how you’re doing in life right now.

What happens when you feel like you’re adequate in some areas, and inadequate in other areas?

Great question. I’d like the answer to that, too.

I’ve had the recurring mentality that I don’t really deserve anything unless I’ve checked off the list of accomplishments and prerequisites beforehand. A somewhat relatable, personal example would be: I was a fat girl. How could I even have the hope to attract the athletic, fit guy? I wasn’t even in great physical shape then, let alone eating properly. I couldn’t really justify attracting someone who was like that before for obvious reasons. This is a really superficial instance, but I suppose it’s clearer to explain my frame of mind through this.

Note: Physical appearance is important. We all care about it. Don’t even deny that. However, one shouldn’t be with someone solely on looks. It will end sooner than it starts. Compatibility, chemistry, connection, backgrounds, values / cores, and personality are so much more important than looks.

So, based on my new standards and this occasional mentality, am I enough?

Absolutely not.

I’m not pretty enough (thanks, hormonal acne due to menstrual cycle and stress). Okay. Even without the acne, I still don’t feel pretty enough. I’ve been visiting a dermatologist for that as well as drinking more water and eating cleaner though.

I’m not fit / skinny enough. According to society’s standards…but I’m working out consistently and that’s important.

I don’t have enough direction in my life (career-wise). At least I’m a lot better compared to the beginning, when I moved back to Taiwan. I was pulled back, given a job and told what to do. I didn’t, and still don’t feel like I belong until the new opportunity arises. I try my best to pursue and chase, but sometimes I reach a dead end, and it’s difficult to think of how to proceed. I do give myself credit for having enough grit to carry myself on for so long and seeing it thrive though.

I’m not appreciative enough in general (background, resources, family, and my relationships).

I’m not as verbally expressive as I should and want to be. Hear me out. I love writing. I think I’ve already established that. I can write posts about reasons why I love some people who are in my life now, but it’s different from actually saying it to them. It’s hard for me to talk about how I really feel sometimes. I have so much feelings and it takes some time to sort through them, and usually by the time I do organize them and know what to say, the moment has passed. It sucks. I’d like to tell people how much I appreciate them more, but they’re all really busy in their lives, so it makes me feel a bit guilty to pester them to read my blog.

I haven’t made enough impact yet. I want to be able to influence others. How? I’m not sure as of now, but I’m doing what I can right now within my community. Ideally, I’d love to be able to exert some sort of influence through my work as well as my writing.

My current magnitude is small – I’m feeding the three stray dogs outside my house dog food and figuring out other ways to help them permanently. They have a hard life. I’ve also donated the “expired” olive oil (don’t worry, oil doesn’t expire, it goes rancid after five years, and it hasn’t been that long – I’ve also educated the representatives of the charities beforehand, too) to different charities, low income families, orphanages and nursing homes for usage. I’m also planning to donate more oil as well as some money since it’s Chinese New Year soon (there’s a charity that I’m looking at that hosts a banquet and provides new years gifts to individual elders without any kin). I can live without some material possession.

I’d love to expand and to do more. I want to make a positive impact, and the actions I’m doing now are positive, but they are also temporary. I’d like them to be more permanent if possible.

I’m not confident / secure enough at times, which causes me to overthink too much. This is self explanatory. How can I expect anything healthy if I’m incredibly unhealthy at times? It’s okay to not be confident and secure at times and express vulnerability, but overthinking is something I do need to fix, and have been trying to change. It’s work in progress, but it’s getting there. Never assume too much. Most of my overthinking thoughts are negative and also extremely unlikely, and I’m aware of it.

I’m not outspoken and honest enough. Sometimes I am too scared of how people I care will think of me, but I’ve been breaking my comfort zone. If they were to like me less due of my beliefs and thoughts…then I can’t control that. I have to be honest with myself and stand up for what I believe in. I’ve done the hardest part, which speaking up for the first time and using my voice. Now I just need to remind myself to repeat said action during necessary times. I am honest to myself, and I should be like that to others more, too. Being honest doesn’t mean that I should be rude though. I should be firm yet polite with issues that I care about.

My ways of expressing myself / my feelings are not strong enough. What does this mean? It doesn’t mean that I suddenly like something / someone and then dislike that same person / thing the next day or have fading / changing feelings within a month or two. No. I’m actually pretty stubborn and persistent regarding my feelings (friends, romantic interests, family, values, etc), and sometimes a bit too much. I’d like to think it’s because I respect and am in touch and is honest with how I feel.

Sometimes I feel the need to escape and be radio silent for a while. Sometimes I feel the burning need to latch onto some people I love. It’s literally the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”. I crave personal space, yet I also crave intimacy. I need yin and yang. I need a balance in between, or my introverted mind goes insane. I get that this seems like I’m hot and cold. It’s rude and confusing at times, and I should be more verbal about this side of me so there’s no misunderstanding from friends and romantic interest (yes, this has happened in previous cases before…and I’m sorry) in the future.

Basically, I can still go on about my inadequacies. As a never-changing perfectionist, I’ll always stay along the lines of insufficiency. Perhaps you feel the same way, too, that no matter what you’re doing right now and how hard you’re trying, you’re just never really…there. You can always do better, and that you should be better.

I think there’s a difference between striving for improvement and constantly beating yourself down for not being adequate enough. The feeling of inadequacy is a motivator, but it shouldn’t consume you. It used to control me and I lived with anger and angst. It’s unhealthy to constantly believe that you’re never enough. I’m fully aware that it’s ironic for me to say that, especially because I’ve listed a few of my personal inadequacies. Use this feeling and gear it towards improving or obtaining whatever it is that you want. That is more powerful than you think.

You might not feel enough now, and it’s okay. We are all going through the same thing. There’s never a point that’s enough for us to let us feel contentment, as we’re a species that strive to better ourselves. Don’t chase for perfection, chase for what you want and seize that the best way you can. And if you fail the first time, try again and again. When you want to give up, go back and see if whatever you are pursuing is in line with what you truly want and your values. Don’t chase for only the sake of chasing. If it’s the case, drop it and shift your focus on what actually matters.

In the end we’re all just chasing a sense adequacy through our individual inadequacies.

3 thoughts on “(In)adequacy.

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