On Measuring Up

By Shelley QueenAugust 4, 2016

When I am in a dark place, two words can sum up almost everything I feel: never enough.

These words are a ghost haunting me.

They are a bell that tolls, the echoes heard in every corner of my mind.

These two words apply to everything I do.

I’m a daughter… but I’m never enough.

I’m a writer… but I’m never enough.

I passed my test… but it’s never enough.

I got out of bed today… but it’s never enough.

I measure myself constantly – comparisons and scales – because I want a logical way to think about things. If I have numbers, I can read them. I can understand them.

But I know that they’ll show that I’m never enough.

And not only am I not enough… but I also believe I’m not even hurting enough to excuse the darkness dragging me down.

Who am I to hurt?

What right do I have?

There are people out there with real problems. Yet I can’t get out of bed. I can’t look in the mirror. I can’t get through the day.

There are other people who have it worse.

There are people out there starving. Who don’t have homes. Who walk miles for water. Who have absolutely nothing.

When I sit and think of every awful possibility in the world, I get caught in a cycle: I’m hurting…I hate myself for hurting because I have no right to hurt…I’m so selfish…and I hurt some more.

But here’s what I’ve learned:

Knowing your place and privilege in the world is important. But it doesn’t mean you aren’t hurting. Someone else’s struggles don’t make your pain any less valid.

The thing about pain is: It’s important because it’s yours.

And pain is relative. You can’t compare pain because it’s so unique to each of us.

Some people can get through so much and fight battles without a flinch. They wipe anguish away like dust off their shoulder.

You might look at these people and think, I can hardly breathe trying to wake up today. I’m suffocated by my thoughts, and I feel paralyzed. And yet… I’ve got nothing valid or worthy to fight. I don’t have real struggles in my life.

And there are other times you’ll have good days within the darkness, and you’ll second-guess yourself.

You’ll think that because you’ve had a good day that you’re OK, that people who really need help would feel bad every single day.

You might start to believe that you were faking it, that maybe you were doing it all for the attention. You attack yourself for feeling this way. You try to measure your pain again, and you still end up feeling like you’re not worthy of help, of love, because you’re not hurting enough.

But what is enough?

Is it measured in marks on your skin, pounds gone, days lost?

You might think you need to do more, to feel more, to hurt more in order to be worthy of a helping hand.

If it feels like your world is collapsing, if you feel numb, if your life is devoid of color, you are worthy of help. You are worthy of love.

It’s enough. And you are enough. And whatever pain you are feeling is enough.

You don’t need to hit your 10 on the chart to ask for help.

Whether your pain is a 2 or a 12, you deserve to heal.

You aren’t wasting time. You aren’t being a burden. You aren’t taking away resources from people who “need it more.”

You need it. You deserve it. You don’t need to be over it.

You aren’t too young to know pain. And you aren’t too old to still be fighting it.

No matter your age, sex, religion, or background, your bones can ache, your heart can hurt, and your soul can feel heavy. Your mind can be filled with shooting pains that attack every part of your body.

And of these, there is no lesser pain. One doesn’t rank above another.

It’s OK to not want pain. It’s your right to get help.

Even if you think it doesn’t measure up.

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Comments (21)

  1. Jill

    This post was like a mirror for me. It is so important, thank you.

    Reply  |  
  2. Diane Randall

    How beautiful, eloquent, real… Thank you so very much

    Reply  |  
  3. Isadora

    I really & truly enjoyed reading this article. I do feel as though I am one that needs it – but feel like others need it more then me – or my situation is not that bad – but after reading this &

    Reply  |  
  4. Pingback: well | Sunshine Eddy

  5. Sheila Bergquist

    This hit so close to home for me. I keep thinking about others who have it worse than I do, even though I’ve been through some real hell. And then I feel so weak and helpless and ashamed that I can’t get over my anxiety and depression. Thanks for this…it really made me feel better.

    Reply  |  
  6. Bellla

    I’m so sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing it with us
    Have you heard of Sophia Bush? She said great things in an article not too long ago about let it be enough and how lots of us struggle with the idea and perceptions of enough.
    God bless

    Reply  |  
  7. Jennifer

    WOW- Your description hits right on target. I’ve never known how to explain it , You hit the nail on the head!

    Reply  |  
  8. Jess

    Thank you. I needed to hear this.

    Reply  |  
  9. Jordan

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at [email protected].

      Reply  |  
  10. Jada

    Thank you for this.

    Reply  |  
  11. Peter tsilfidis

    I’m looking to write a blog is this how I should write it

    Reply  |  
  12. Peter tsilfidis

    Is this how I should write my blog

    Reply  |  
  13. Rosemary Williamson

    Thanks for posting this

    Reply  |  
  14. Bella

    I’ve been looking for quite some time to find a story, a blog, something, that resembles in any way how I feel. This was just what I was looking for. This was just what I needed to hear, but I can’t seem to be able to tell myself. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply  |  
  15. Michelle

    This really hit home for me. I feel currently, as though I am not good enough. As if I am a burden and a waste of space.

    I feel as though my friends should forget about and would be better off without me. I feel as though even my daughter would be as well.

    I have actually been called selfish recently, actually last night, for feeling this way. All this did was worsen the feeling that I am worthless.

    Every day is a struggle for me. Opening up is a struggle for me. My daughter’s daddy has made fun of me for expressing my feelings. I’m miserable, its a constant. I know there are people who have it much worse, and yes, I do feel as though I have no real reason to feel the way I do. He even told me so.

    My point is this, I’m still here, by some miracle. It’s not for wanting to not be anymore, because I want so badly for it to end. It was just nice to read this and read about someone feeling exactly as I do, and knowing I am not alone in it. Thank you for your courage in sharing your story and inspiring others, and giving us hope.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert


      You are not a burden nor a waste of space. Not at all. You are needed and wanted, even when you don’t feel that way.

      We want you to know that you can contact us. We are here for you. You can email us anytime at [email protected]. We read and respond to every message we receive. We also encourage you to seek out help. A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ And if you are in need of immediate aid, please text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor free of charge.

      You are needed, Michelle. Please continue. Please stay.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  16. Deb

    I applaud your willingness to share your heart. I pray that in the darkness you will meet Jesus, who walked on water, healed lepers and brought people back from the dead. He then paid the ultimate price and died on the cross for all of humanity. If you call out to him, he will hold you, walk beside you, ahead of you and behind you. You are loved by the Creator and the Sustainer of the world. Your darkness may not totally disappear, but he will light your path.

    Reply  |  
  17. Ana

    Wow….it’s like you read my mind. I needed these words so badly..

    Reply  |  
  18. Y. S

    This is exactly what I was looking to hear today. I’ve been struggling with s/h a lot in the past years. I came to a point where I had stopped. Then someone close to be began to S/h. I was mortified to see this; they had more marks on their body in less time then I had. It was like, what do I have to show for all my pain? So I fell back into the cycle of hurting myself. I want to stop right now, but it feels like I can’t until I leave a bunch more marks on myself. If the scars fade, was anything I went through even valid?

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      We’re so glad you found these words. We are, however, sorry that you can relate. Comparison seems to be human nature, but if there’s anything that isn’t necessary, it’s measuring ourselves to another. Your pain is real, it’s valid. But you are not it, you are not defined by it.

      Wanting to stop is a big deal and we’re proud of you for recognizing that you don’t need to hurt yourself to measure up or have self-harm be part of your story.

      We hope you’ll use our FIND HELP Tool (twloha.com/find-help) to locate professional help. You can also email us at [email protected] as well.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
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