Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I'm Not Good Enough.

I truly believe that phrase holds the key to the pain of so many. While it's something most of us wouldn't admit to anyone, the majority of us feel it in some form or fashion. Not that it's our fault. We've been taught, conditioned and told we aren't good enough; some of us from birth.

It's the overzealous parent that teaches us our best is not quite up to par and that in order to receive their "unconditional love," we must try harder, do more, be the best. And not just be the best we can be, but be what they expect us to be. Anything less may be good, but not good enough.

It's society, always throwing a new gadget, face cream, car, brand of shoes and the latest diet fad down our throats. Every commercial, every print ad screams, "Don't you want to look like this? Don't you want to have this? You NEED this. See how happy these people are? This will make you happy just like them! All you need to do is be a little skinnier, a little blonder, have a few less wrinkles, wear these shoes, carry this bag and drive this car and you'll be able to achieve the satisfaction that they have." In essence what they're saying is,  "What you are and what you have is not good enough."

And believe it or not, sometimes the worst form of this mindset comes from a place in which comfort and peace should be found: religion/spirituality/the church (whatever you choose to call it.) I wrote a post on my Facebook page awhile back regarding my thoughts on the "I am nothing" concept that seems to be a widespread epidemic among religion. This was prompted by more than several posts I have seen in the recent months stating how mankind is not good enough without God, nothing without God etc. And it's not just an online thing, it's something I've heard my entire life and on more than one level.

I was taught by religion that unless I met guidelines A,B,C & D, that who I was wasn't good enough for the church. Oh sure, it was good enough that it allowed me to sit on a bench each Sunday and watch those much "better" and much more "in tune" with God receive public acknowledgement as to the wonderful people they were. And were I to change and become A,B,C & D, then I too, might find myself worthy of such adoration.  But unless I did, who I was wasn't good enough.

Not only that, but in order to become good enough, I had to change my very core, because I, as a human, was no where near good enough for God. I was taught that while yes, God loved me unconditionally, unless I followed stated (biblical) conditions that my best wasn't good enough.

The list goes on and on; ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, teachers, coaches, etc. So many people in our lives (whether intentional or not) bombard us with the message that something is lacking inside of us. And for many, the desire to beat the stigma will become a lifelong battle. People with this stigma often become  perfectionists, materialistic and superficial, seeking approval in whatever facet they can get it, somehow hoping to lift the label of "not good enough" from above their heads and out of their hearts.

I am one of those people. Yes, logically, I know my best is enough. But shaking a lifetime of being told otherwise is not a task that can just be accomplished overnight by chanting a few "I am good enough" mantras.  Uprooting something of that magnitude takes time and dedication.

While laying in bed last night I tossed and turned with my label hanging ever so nearby. I fought internally trying to find a way to go back in the subconscious of my mind and tell the little girl that I used to be that she WAS good enough. Because perhaps if I could convince the little girl that she was good enough, the woman that I am today would recognize this in her heart and truly believe it.

As usual, in the midst of my pondering, "why don't I feel good enough?", the voice that I've come to treasure above all the others spoke loud and clear. "Good enough? Good enough for what? To be lovable? You ARE lovable. I love you. And that's all that matters. Of course I made you good enough, you're my child! Why would I make you any differently?" Many other things were said, but what stuck out the most was the parent/child comparison. I was challenged to look ahead to my daughter's birth and to think about whether or not I would feel that she was lacking or would I feel that she was enough, just the way she was.  Of course I cannot fathom telling my child through my words or actions, who you are, just as you are is not enough for me. With that revelation I felt a huge weight lift off of my shoulders as I realized the point that was being made. I am His child. I am good enough and I've always been good enough.

I was also issued another challenge. I'm not allowed to put myself down anymore; at all. I can't talk about how I look bad today, about how my skin is too pale, I'm too thin, I'm too tall or how my feet are too big. Instead I'm encouraged to see myself how He sees me; as a parent. And after all, what parent doesn't think they have the most beautiful child ever?

So starting today I am making it an active part of my life to put away the voices of those that would tell me that who I am isn't good enough. It will take time, but I will get there. Taking it one day at a time, one step at a time, one thought at a time. But for today, for right now at 10:08 AM on Tuesday, March 12th...I AM good enough.