I met the most interesting person the other day. We met totally at random. I had stopped to take some pictures of some gigantic murals that adorn the freeway walls here in town. He happened to live across the street. I didn’t even see him but he was watching as I parked my car and was engaging me in conversation before I had a chance to get out of my car.
I had some time on my hands, and have a morbid sense of curiosity, so I just flowed with the whole conversation. We ended up chatting for literally 5 or 6 hours. Now, this man had a very bright and thoughtful mind, and that kept me intrigued as to what he would say next, and I want to preface the following with — nothing he said was meant with any guile or negativity. But…
As we chatted, and chatted, and chatted, he managed to judge and disparage me in every way he could. There was something wrong with everything about me. My shirt was cheap. My car had the wrong sport gear. The manufacturer had chinzed on the paint job. My dog was too fat, and the color of his fur was too boring. My hair wasn’t good enough. The way I’d shaved my scruff was wrong. For hours, this man put me down in more ways I could even keep track of. Not good enough. Not good enough. Not good enough.
Now, many people would be offended by this guy’s judgments. Many people would feel chagrined or embarrassed. I was unphased partly because I don’t base my self-worth on what others think of me. Partly because, again, I didn’t sense he was judging me out of malice.
The point is that he was judging me according to his measuring stick for life. What’s good enough. What’s not. What’s acceptable. Or not. And, the point of this podcast is to point out just how much that message is out there: “You’re not good enough.”
We are surrounded by these judgments and expectations about how we have to be. Apparently, to be good enough we have to meet an endless list of expectations: how to look, dress, act, speak. Who we hang out with, possessions we own, where we should live. So, let’s talk about being “good enough.”
Quotes about “good enough”:
“I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” ~Stuart Smalley
“THE WORLD IS increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturiser? You make someone worry about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new smartphone? By making them feel like they are being left behind. To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business.” ― Matt Haig, Reasons to Stay Alive
1. There are three problems with trying to be “good enough”:
- The list of what will make us “good enough” is endless and self-contradictory. If we keep one rule for being “good enough” we inevitably break some other good-enough rules.
- The list is someone else’s list. Society, friends, family, colleagues and peers, movies and media. Trying to please others all our lives will only make us miserable. Period.
- This is the biggest problem — when we adopt others’ expectations of us as our own. We honestly believe that we have to look a certain way, feel a certain way, act a certain way. This is a problem because we don’t even realize when were trying to live our own life according to others’ rules and measuring sticks.
2. Life isn’t a competition. The only measuring stick for “good enough” is your own. There’s a phrase that went around semi-recently: “You do you.” I love it. It annoys the hell out of me, but I love it. It’s succinct and all too true. Stop trying to please others. Stop trying to be what you think others think you’re supposed to be, because they’re all walking around trying to be what they think YOU and others think they should be. What a circus. Life is about achieving YOUR very best, not trying to be as good as or better than anyone else.
3. The Infinite Universe made you just as you are. You might call it “God.” Whatever you call it, that which is perfect and all-powerful created you. Who are we to say that this miraculous, marvelous creation we call “you” or “me” is not good enough? That’s incomprehensibly arrogant of us. You’re perfect, just the way the Universe made you. So, embrace it. If the Universe thought you should be different, it would have made you different. But it didn’t. It made you just as you are. That makes you as beautiful, and awe-inspiring as the stars in the heavens, the majestic mountains, deep blue oceans, and the glorious sunset. Yes, you are that beautiful, just as you are.
4. We are continually evolving. It’s our nature to evolve. There is always something that we will feel needs improvement. Guess what, that’s okay. That urge to improve ourselves is simply the power of evolution moving within us. By embracing this nature you can make sure the process changes you into something “better.”
5. Follow your heart. Our heart and our dreams are always calling to us. If we aren’t following our heart it feels like a yearning that aches to be obeyed. If we ignore our heart it feels like suffering, like suffocating a precious part of our soul. As you follow your heart to create beauty and joy in this world, what you evolve into will be beautiful and joyful.
Homework ideas for practicing peace:
- Start a journal of thoughts and fears that pop up that say, “I’m not good enough.” It could be your own mind chatter where you put yourself down. Or, it could be a reaction to something someone else says that triggers that little demon within us that says, “They’re probably right, I’m not good enough!” Write those thoughts and fears down. I urge you to work on this journaling exercise for one month. Don’t be afraid, it will be freeing to shed light on some demons that have been dancing around in the shadows of your mind.
- Surround yourself with positive messages. I listen to a YouTube video with hundreds of positive messages in it. Many people post sticky notes around their home, office, car to remind them they ARE good enough, smart enough and just… enough. The more you surround yourself with these thoughts and repeat them to yourself, you will shift the programming of your own mind away from self-defeating belief-systems to self-loving belief-systems.
Final quote about being “good enough”:
“Maybe my best isn’t as good as someone else’s, but for a lot of people, my best is enough. Most importantly, for me it’s enough.” ― Lindsey Stirling
Great thanks to…
Photo credit: Ron Smith via UnSplash
Music credit: Music was provided by Lee Rosevere. Album “Music To Wake Up To” (http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/Music_To_Wake_Up_To/). Minor alterations made with permission, copyright license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.