Armina Dobrică

We live our entire lives being told to be good. Be a good boy if you want Santa to bring you presents; be a good girl and mommy will buy you a new bike; be good to me and I’ll be good to you; be a good Christian and you’ll go to Heaven.

By any chance, do you happen to know someone who has a check list with what we’re supposed to do to be good? Moses did his best, he passed along the Ten Commandments. Too bad facebook wasn’t around back then, they would’ve gone viral. We just love quick, easy, bulleted advice. However, I’d say he did a pretty good job spreading the word. But…is that enough?

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

Ok, so the first three are not that easily broken. We pretty much choose a god and stick to that belief long term. Maybe we refrain from hard labor on Sundays anyway. Many of us love our parents and have good relationships with them. Murder is off the table for (almost) everybody. Adultery…not so much, but let’s be honest, fidelity is doable if you’re committed to it. Not a lot of people steal. We sometimes lie, but not always with bad intention. And coveting…That’s a bit tricky. It’s probably why they left this one at the bottom.

I referred to Christianity simply because it probably has the most famous “guidebook”, but as you well know, each religion has its own set of rules. Each culture has its own set of values. Each person develops its own set of moral principles. It doesn’t matter which system you relate to. My question is: how do we know when we’re good enough?

If you follow the Ten Commandments like a saint for ten years and then you tell a lie, where does that leave you? Are you no longer good enough? How can you redeem yourself? 

These are obviously silly, rhetorical questions. No man can offer universal answers to these dilemmas. Because in fact, these are not dilemmas, but illusions, and we’re knocking at the wrong door. There are two steps in trying to determine whether one’s good enough or not. Step one: define good and enough. Step two, evaluate according to the criteria identified in step one. Good luck with that!

The “good enough” illusion

We are all a unique mix of qualities, experiences, values, opinions, beliefs. And there are, literally, infinite combinations and infinite opportunities to grow. We can never reach our highest potential. Today, we are older than we’ve ever been and younger than we’ll ever be again. There is no better or worse, there’s just evolution. So not feeling good enough right now, just as we are, means that we will never be good enough. There is no best version of ourselves out there that we have to reach. It’s just us, one day older or younger, one experience more aware or more ignorant, one moment happier or sadder. And we become good enough the second we decide to be.

“Searching all directions with your awareness, you find no one dearer than yourself. In the same way, others are thickly dear to themselves.”


What often happens is that we pass this responsibility on to other people; our parents, our teachers, our friends, our lovers, our children, our managers. Deep down, we hope that if we’re good enough to or for them, then maybe we’re just good enough. The flaw in this reasoning is that sometimes people don’t react the way we want them to. Sometimes they’re expecting something different from life, from us. They might even tell us that we have to be better in order to get love, respect, appreciation, praise. That is also an illusion. Their perspective is nothing more than a perspective and they don’t get to judge whether we’re good enough or not. It’s a matter of…well…perspective.

Getting feedback from others can be helpful though. “Using” them as mirrors to better see ourselves pushes us further, it wideness our awareness, but this is our choice. Should we want to change, should we want to adopt a new behavior that stronger resonates with our being, that’s fantastic. It’s only getting us closer to our true self. A better self? Absolutely not.


If a guy that’s 6 ft. 3” asks a girl out and she refuses, telling him that she likes taller guys, he’ll probably think she’s crazy. Because he already knows he’s tall. In fact, there is no doubt in his mind that by all human standards he is tall enough. If a blue-eyed blonde gets rejected on the account that the girl likes brunettes with brown eyes, then he might start wondering. Are darker men sexier? Is he not attractive enough? Still, there’s the thought that some girls actually prefer the Justin Timberlake type, so there’s no better or worse when it comes to skin or eye color. What if she were to say that he’s not smart enough for her? Like…how smart is smart enough? Genius smart, rocket scientist smart, lawyer smart, street smart?

If the guy is totally comfortable with himself, he’ll wish her all the best and not give it another thought. If he already feels like he’s not good enough or that he underperforms in any way, then the rejection might come as a kick in the…back. It’s the same with women too. The “good enough” illusion is highly tolerant and all inclusive.                        

What are we really comparing?

There is a reason why these illusions exist in the first place. Most people are guided in life by their ego. But our souls still want evolution to happen. They still want to experience as much as they can. There is a fine line between believing that you are good enough and believing you are better than others. The latter pertains to ego alone and it is more a matter of arrogance, than acceptance. The former needs no comparison. It is merely the acknowledgement of who we are – accepting that person without casting judgement. Again, should we want to change something about ourselves, that is a choice. A decision that comes from the joy of evolution and experimenting, one that pushes us closer to our true selves.

One question still remains: How do we build self-worth? How do we begin to love ourselves?

It all starts with questioning and doubting all the reasons against it. That voice in our heads that judges or criticizes is NOT us. It’s just an automated software that runs in the background. It has been programmed by past experiences and beliefs, but it can be rewritten. Once you start asking for undeniable proof, you’ll realize that it is actually feeding you a bunch of deceptive perceptions, assumptions and subjective opinions. When it comes to people, there are no absolutes. Nobody is 100% smart, 100% kind, 100% honest, 100% anything. So stand your ground. Argue with that voice until it becomes small and insignificant.

The second and most important thing is this. Truly acknowledge the illusion of comparing yourself to others. It is an impossible endeavor. Identifying and measuring every aspect of one’s being is beyond crazy. It cannot be done. So drawing conclusions based on just a limited number of criteria like money, looks, education, achievements is not only wrong – it’s utterly useless. Free yourself from all judgement and labels. It will be the wrecking ball that tears down the wall of self-doubt.

And know this: the simple fact that you are alive today is reason enough to feel deserving. Self-worth is a default state of the soul, a birthright, a given. You can choose to trash it, doubt it, rip it apart, but you will never change the very nature of it. You might as well just let it be.