Not being Good Enough has come up a lot with clients lately. Maybe it’s the time of year. New Years resolutions are officially abandoned, income taxes remind us of our financial “worth”, it’s almost swim suit season…a million little things seem to highlight our inadequacies. People feel badly about themselves. They rack their brains for something to accomplish or something to buy that will magically make them feel Good Enough.
Are you Good Enough? How do you know? Paint a detailed picture—what exactly must you have, do, or be to consider yourself Good Enough. Who is Good Enough? Is anyone? Are newborn babies Good Enough? What qualities do Good Enough people share?
If you think you aren’t Good Enough, you’re keeping yourself stuck and unhappy with these arbitrary standards. Yes, arbitrary. That’s the thing about our definition of Good Enough—we make it up as we go along.
Being Good Enough is a choice you make, period. Instead of deciding you’ll be Good Enough when you meet some external markers, think about how you’ll feel when you’re there and choose to feel that way now. The only powerful position in any situation is to choose the way you want to feel and then act consistently. It’s always your choice.
I love the poem Wild Geese by Mary Oliver:
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves, because we’re all just making it up anyway. The sun rises and sets and the geese fly home. They don’t care if you got the promotion or gained 10 pounds or if your kid made the honor roll.
Our time on this earth is too short to spend it judging ourselves and questioning our own worth just because that’s what everybody else does. Don’t sell yourself short just to fit in. Love what you love. There are no wrong answers.