How My Words Became Louder Than “Not Good Enough”: A Poem on Self-Love

the words you
feed your body

the world
will not tell you
“you are beautiful”
as they can not
profit off these

they will instead
feed you words full of
“not good enough”
and supply you with a solution
as dessert.

so you end up full,
and yet still starving.
still craving.
still questioning
your worth.

and so you buy
their words,
again and again.

you keep coming back.
keep trading in your wealth
for worth.

until when?

until you are broke.
until you have broken.
until you have too
many solutions,
and still not one
can solve the one

the root:
their lie.

they told you
these things,
not to satisfy you,
or give you peace.
but to fill their own
bottomless pockets.

you are their income,
you are their success,
but only if you are first,
a failure to yourself.

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you see,
they cannot
afford for you to
be confident,
to feel beautiful,
to be good enough
for yourself.

for how can they
profit off someone
who believes
they are everything
they are searching for?

they cannot.

so know this.
understand their logic,
their rooted message.

they are hidden in
plain sight,
targeted towards
young women
and girls like us.

find your cravings.
find where you still
believe the “not good enough’s”
and fill them.
not with their words,
but with your own
sweet words of love.

in the beginning
you will not
be accustomed to
this appetite,
but keep nourishing
your body.
soon she will be full,
fully satisfied.
fully confident,
and no longer
in search for solutions
wrapped in empty words.

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“Not good enough.” We all struggle with this. But is it just me, or does it seem that “not good enough” is hitting girls at a younger and younger age. I think I was around 8 or 9 years old when I started doubting myself and my appearance. Now I hear girls even younger than that wanting to be “thinner” or have “big boobs” when they get older. But besides this being completely insane, it’s understandable.

We are constantly being spoon-fed negative messages everywhere we go, so of course we’ve become programmed to believe them.

It’s just scary how these younger girls will have even a harder time undoing the damage, as they’ll have more accumulated years of negative programing stuffed down their throats.

This is why I almost everything I do now centers around female empowerment. Because I know what society’s negative messages and “not good enough’s” taste like. I know how they make me feel horrible about myself. After being bullied all through middle school and entering into a stressful high school, I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t keep racing towards perfection. I couldn’t keep crying myself to sleep. I knew something needed change. All I can remember asking myself my freshman year of high school was one question: “Why?”

“Why do I hate myself? Because you’re ugly. “Why am I not beautiful?” Because you’re too dark, curvy, and different. “Why can’t dark, curvy, and different be considered beautiful?” Because advertising doesn’t accept dark, curvy and different girls as beautiful.

I kept asking myself, “Why? Why? Why?” and eventually got down to this question: “Why does society want me to believe I’m not good enough?” Somehow, a wise, inner voice responded: “Because they want to sell you products as the solution to being good enough.” It hit me. All the ads I saw in magazines, on tv, and billboards all said the same thing, “You are imperfect, buy this, and you’ll be perfect.” At that point, I thought - forget it. I am not going to waste my life hating myself, so that a bunch of people can profit off my insecurities. Instead, I am going to profit off my confidence. From that day, 14-year-old me set out to find self-love.

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I began researching self-love and confidence, and back in 2014, the first search result was a link to a Pinterest page full of motivational quotes. I read them ALL and wrote down every one that touched me in a way, and rewrote, and rewrote them. I filled my notebooks with colorful quotes and would read them to myself whenever I could. These words made me feel whole, loved, and even a little beautiful. I kept writing these quotes down and fell in love with words in the process.

For the first time, I found words that weren’t being used to bully or put me down.

They were solely meant to lift me up, and I loved that. So much so, that I made it my mission in life to use my own words to empower people. I started writing my own quotes, set up my blog, and shared my story on finding self love.

Now I am 18 years old, and am an award winning author and speaker. (I still can’t believe it sometimes.) I built this foundation on self-confidence and choosing to feed myself my own words of love, instead of society’s lies of not being good enough. I now get to profit off my confidence, with my book, “Me Too”, a collection of quotes, messages, and poems on body acceptance, confidence, goal setting, and healthy relationships.

Words are powerful. Which is why all of us must make a choice about who we will listen to: society, our inner critic, or the small voice inside of us who wants to love us unconditionally. The truth is that society will always try and give you something new to chew on. Believe me when I say that your inner critic will never truly go away, but if you choose to listen to your own words of affirmation, eventually the other will drown out. You can finally stop running the race of perfection, and head towards your wildest dreams instead.

So if you haven’t heard this yet today: You are beautiful, you are important, and you are capable of achieving whatever you put your heart, soul, and mind to.

Illustrations by Jolie Brownell

Jolie Brownell

Jolie Brownell is an 18 year old, award winning blogger of Me Too Girl, speaker, and author of “Me Too.” In the past year, Jolie has spoken to hundreds of women/girls in Portland, OR on female empowerment. She has also received the FoundHER’s Award for her work with her Me Too Girl workshops and partnerships with Girls Inc., I AM THAT GIRL, Produced By Her, and ChickTech.