You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love

By Allie Beth Stuckey

Allie Beth Stuckey’s Relatable podcast has been one of favorite, never-miss-an episode podcasts for years which is why I’m surprised it took me so long to read her book, You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay): Escaping the Toxic Culture of Self-Love.

I hate to admit this, but for some reason I had pre-conceived notions about this book. Truthfully, I have no idea why or even what my reservations were, and it bothered me because I often gain so much insight and wisdom from her podcast. But then there was something she mentioned on her podcast that referred the listener to read her book if they were interested in furthering the conversation. As it turned out, I was intrigued enough to go to Barnes & Noble and purchase the book myself. 

I am pleased to announce that You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) has completely exceeded any expectations (or limitations) I previously had! 

You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) is the antidote to the popular self-love culture promoted by social media influencers, self-help gurus, and New Age-y “spiritual gangsters.” 

It is a refreshingly honest book that exposes some of the biggest self-focused lies many women believe and diagnoses the toxicity of “trendy narcissism” by directing the reader to seek the healing salve of God’s unchanging truth.  

Too often today women are told they are enough to do, be and have all the things their little heart desires. But what happens when these women, mostly young women, have it all, do it all, and become it all? When they pursue self-love, elevate themselves, and only look out for #1? Are they truly enough to fulfill their every hope, desire, and need or are they left depleted, defeated, and perhaps even self-destructed?

Allie confronts the “cult of self-affirmation” and dismantles the lies perpetuated through social media, politics, and yes, even the church, by tackling 5 common myths women often fall prey to – 

  1. You are enough
  2. You determine your truth 
  3. You’re perfect the way you are
  4. You’re entitled to your dreams
  5. You can’t love others until you love yourself

Throughout each chapter, Allie addresses the main issue of the self-love culture: 

The self cannot be both the problem and the solution.  

No matter how much time, energy, and focus you put into self-love, self-care, self-discovery, and the like, you will always end up feeling empty, unhappy, disappointed, or incomplete. It is possible to have the ability to do, be, or have all the things but the truth is, you will never have the capacity to fulfill that deep desire to be complete, whole, or perfect. 

In signature Relatable fashion, Allie does not shy away from tackling tough topics or controversial subjects and gracefully speaks the truth in love, weaving in her own experiences and testimony throughout, to uncover the hard fact no one wants to acknowledge – By your own will and strength, you will never be enough. But guess what? You were never meant to be. And that’s okay.

Plain and simple, committing to a life of self-love is to pursue a life of selfishness and Allie lovingly explains why throughout this book. Sure, it is important to love ourselves and be good stewards of the earthly bodies we were given. Afterall, our body is a temple and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). But the point is, low self-esteem, self-doubt, self-criticism, and all the other selfie-theme pursuits for happiness can never be achieved through the elevation and prioritization of self. They will always fall short or crash and burn. True love and acceptance comes through the death, lowering, or deplatforming of self.

John the Baptist said it best – “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30)

The lowering of one’s self along with a life of service instead of a life that is self-serving is not just freeing but is also rewarding. It’s counter-cultural to be selfless and to put the needs of others before yourself yet doing so provides a life of purpose. Going outside of your self brings fullness into one’s life. And that fullness is received through the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ, dying for the sins of humanity to redeem and unite us back to the One who made us. Because of Him and only because of Him, we are enough for the Maker of the Universe. 

I thoroughly enjoyed You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay), the diverse topics and themes it covered, and the theology it reinforced. My only negative feedback was the absence of a bibliography or works cited either through footnotes or in a section at the end of the book. Allie referred to many articles, blog posts, data findings, and statistics yet never includes where to find the sources. This is a disappointing oversight (by the publisher and editor) and one I found to be quite important in non-fiction books published over the last several years, especially in those that discuss politics, media, and other aspects of modern culture. 

You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) is packed with scriptural reference and context that counters every attack brought on by the selfie culture. Additionally, Allie includes many personal stories as well as her personal experiences drinking the Kool-Aid served during a millennial’s coming-of-age years. I highly recommend this book for young women (college-aged through 20s) but as a 36-year-old married mom of five, I found much value in reading it, too. In fact, You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) is so relatable that I saw glimpses of my former self through the pages of this book. 

I’d also suggest this book to women who are new in their faith journey, to those who are exploring the destructive path of self-affirmation or are currently tangled up in the self-love/self-help culture, to those who may not have ever encountered Jesus or who have never intentionally pursued Christianity. You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) could be a great starting place or spiritual nudge of conviction for individuals who are looking for renewal, restoration, and ultimately, an unconditional love that never fades and forever sustains. 

Regardless of where you are in your season of life or walk with Christ, You’re Not Enough (and that’s okay) is a book well worth the read for any millennial or Gen Z woman. It’s one of those books that is easy to read and contains truth that is freeing to receive. In a word, it is relatable and I’m sure it is a book I’ll be recommending for years to come. 

*I personally purchased this book. Any thoughts or opinions expressed are my very own. 

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