Tuesday, October 27, 2015
It's Good Enough to be Good Enough
You can see what trouble I’m in when I tell you my passing thoughts. And thanks for your books by the way. I am learning so much. I don't watch much TV and select movies very carefully because I don't want to feel badly about myself for not measuring up. I also don't want to fill my head with trash. Got to the point that I was thinking "I need to get into acting or I am a total failure and have not lived my dream. I should get some minor plastic surgery improve how I look. I should leave my husband for a rich man."
I could not have a better husband, by the way...he is simply one of the most sincere, hardworking and kind persons on the planet. But it's like you pointed out, he's not rich so I tend fall into the trap of thinking he is not as good as rich people, and neither am I. So easy to fall into that. Things really seem to be out of hand in that regard to my thinking these days. How can I stop thinking like this, I hate it.
There’s a phrase in the Desiderata that seems to describe the problem you are writing about “…if you compare yourself with others you may become vain or bitter for always there will be greater and less persons than yourself.”
Of course, notwithstanding we know better, we all tend a little toward this kind of comparing ourselves anyway. It’s human nature. We are a herd animal and we need to feel connected to our fellow in order to feel secure. We also want to check ourselves out so that we do not do anything or become anything to cause our fellows to reject us. For a herd animal this is like being given a death warrant. For us humans, of course, this is hyperbolic to say being rejected is like a death warrant. But for all of us that flash of hurt is sometimes overwhelming because the primal instinct that we need to “belong” is still strong within us.
As humans beings, though, unlike other herd animals, we have our higher deductive reasoning powers which can come to our aid if we have sufficiently inputted into our memory banks some education, some ethics, some reasonable familiarity with calling upon our courage that we can access.
Remember that our brain is a defense mechanism. Its default position is fear. So when we compare ourselves with others, fall short of our own or other’s expectations or accomplishments we are vulnerable. If we know in advance about all this we are, of course, better prepared to deal with it when it comes upon us.
For all of us, I propose, the thought “not good enough” is our fall-back position whenever we feel vulnerable. When we walk into a roomful of strangers. When a friend bests us in some way.
From this automatic fall-back position, if we have educated ourselves, another neural pattern can trigger through learned association with our vulnerable position that reminds us “Hey, I’m good enough. RELAX. I may not be perfect, but I’m a person who tries to do the right thing, I am doing the best I can, I’m a person of good will, I try to give others their due. Why am I kicking myself and knocking myself out to be better. Than who? For what reason? Ordinary and hardworking? Isn’t that me? Isn’t that enough? And if no one likes me right now. This is just the time I have to stand alone. Everybody has times like this. I’m no different.