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When will you be good enough?

dockSo many of us are sitting on the sidelines in life, waiting for the moment when we’ll be “good enough.”  When we’re “good enough” we’ll begin to live fully! When we’re “good enough” we’ll start loving freely and completely! We’ll risk and speak up for ourselves and for others and for what we believe in against anybody! When we’re “good enough” we won’t feel anxious or depressed. We’ll go after that job we’ve always wanted and we will definitely not have any reservations about going after that man we’ve been desiring. But not until we’re good enough. Until then…..until then, we wait. Until then, we settle and we numb the sadness and the anxiety in our tummies with food or alcohol or TV, sleep, harlequin romances or some similar mind-numbing material.What exactly are you waiting for? Who is the judge who will determine that you have finally arrived at “good enough?” What are the criteria that you must meet in order to arrive with the “in” crowd. And who set those criteria? Are they even your criteria or are you just perpetuating someone else’s belief system and fears in your own life – over which you have complete power by the way!

Your good enough-ness can’t be dependent on anyone else – it can’t ride on you being the best looking, the smartest, the fastest, the richest, the kindest, the nicest, the most generous, etc. It has to be determined by you clearly identifying your core values and principles; the key roles in your life that you have now or would like to put in place; and the goals that you have for yourself in each of those roles. Once you are clear on what is reasonable to expect of yourself, rather than just desirable, in all areas given the goals you have (including those for balance and self-care), you will be able to set reasonable goals to maintain or attain your highest ability in each of those areas.

You will never be good enough if you try to set goals or identify standards in any other way. All other approaches put too much emphasis on what others think, feel and do and have an element of competition with others rather than a challenge from within to be the best you can be.

What is good enough? What does it mean? And, good enough for what? Good enough for whom? The term itself is nebulous and judgement-laden. Most of us don’t know the criteria for good enough; therefore we have no way of knowing how to get there or even how to assess when we’ve arrived – we only know we aren’t there yet. But if we don’t know clearly where the goal post is, how in the hell can we ever hope to score? And if the goal posts are constantly moving depending on who it is we’re dealing with and their own unique standards, what then? That means we can’t just focus on being good enough for one person, we have to be “good enough” for everybody – no one can have judgement of us or criticize any element of our being or behaviour or we have failed completely.

No wonder so many people are depressed. No wonder so many people struggle with anxiety. We’re anxious because we believe we can’t relax and start living until we’re good enough but we don’t even know how we’ll know when we are!  We’re depressed because we believe deep down in our core that we never will be good enough (whatever that means), therefore, we’ll never get to have what we want and we’ll never get to really start living. If that’s not depressing and anxiety-provoking, I don’t know what is. It’s our own private hell and we live it every day: Waiting to start living fully until we’re there, all the while feeling anxious and overwhelmed because we don’t have a clue where “there” is and we keep telling ourselves we’re not good enough to figure it out.

It would be one thing if we just accepted that we’re not “good enough” (whatever that is) and settled for who and where we are. I’m not advocating that, I’m just saying, if we’re telling ourselves we’re not good enough and that we likely always will be, wouldn’t it be better to just say, “Okay, I’m not ‘good enough,’ what do I want to do with where I’m at?” Sure it would be better. But we don’t consider that. We do this insane thing. We tell ourselves we’re not good enough, that we can’t start living until we are good enough, that we’ll never be good enough because there’s something fundamentally flawed in us, and then we beat ourselves up for not doing anything about not being good enough. We tell ourselves there’s nothing we can do to change our predicament and then we give ourselves a hard time for not changing our predicament.

That’s like my dad, who used to yell and hit me and my brother if we said anything that he didn’t like or that he disagreed with, giving us a hard time for not being honest with him and coming to him with our problems. Come on man! Really!

Rather than paralyzing ourselves with crazy thinking, why don’t we try something else? How about we figure out what good enough really means to us. Then how about we identify as honestly as we can, where we are now vs. where we’d be “if” we were “good enough?” What would we be experiencing in our relationships, our careers, our communities, and our self-care if we felt we had finally attained “good enough” status?

Then how about we identify the steps we’d need to take to get from here to there and set realistic goals for taking those steps (when and how)? And how about if, at the same time we’re starting to move forward towards our own definition of “good enough” we start to explore new ways of thinking and behaving that will allow us to feel deserving of having what we want?

The path from here to there involves both inner and outer change. We have to change our behaviour but in order to do that we have to first change our thinking from the old, paralyzing, nonsensical circular argument (I’m not good enough because I’m not good enough to do anything about the fact that I’m not good enough) to a rational, honoring, clear process of identifying what we need and developing the skills that we need to get it.

It’s a simple process really. And I’m going to walk you through it, step-by-step in 2010.

In the meantime, how about you take some time to sit with your computer or your pen and paper (I hear some of you groaning!! But hang in there, this will be fun!) and give your Drill Sgt. free reign for 5 minutes – only 5 minutes – to write down everything he can think of about you and your life that he judges as “not good enough?”

If you’re having a hard time getting started, you can approach it in reverse: What does the Drill Sgt. think you and your life should look like and where are you now in relation to those judgements?

Now that you’ve identified the myriad ways you’re “not good enough” look at each item on your list and ask yourself: Is this my definition of good enough? Where did I get this idea that I needed this thing in order to be good enough? Do I want to continue to believe that?

Write out your definition of good enough based on your assessment above. What does your inner dictionary say that it means to be “good enough?”

Email me what you come up with – and if you can’t actually come up with a solid definition, just know that you’re in great company, because there isn’t one!!! It’s entirely subjective! That’s the point. You can create your own definition for good enough or you can continue to live by someone else’s.

I personally vote for the former.

Thank you for a fabulous year of growth and change. I’m committed to continuing to grow and learn and experience life to the fullest in 2010!! How about you?

Love

michelle-signature

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Posted in: CEDRIC Centre, Relationship with Others, Relationship with Self

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6 Comments

  1. woolwhippy December 19, 2009

    My definition of good enough:
    Good enough is following my dreams without compromising my need for peace and leisure time with my family. Good enough is going at my own speed and enjoying the process. Good enough is living a life filled with compassion and free from external markers of success. Good enough is accepting where I am right now and celebrating all I have learned.

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  2. Avis December 19, 2009

    I was holding my beautiful grand daughter yesterday. As she slept in my arms, I was wondering what I had done to deserve to be holding her and loving her…she is so perfect and innocent and incedible. I could almost hear my mother (who has been dead over 30 years) saying that I didn’t deserve to be a part of Morgan’s life. Your message is so timely it’s uncanny – because My mother never thought I was good enough at anything…

    What you have written is timely and very powerful Michelle I am blown away and in tears…

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart…
    Avis

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  3. Denis December 19, 2009

    Excellent!
    Very powerful, and so ‘a propos’ (right on)
    Such food for the soul!…
    Thank You so so much for that!
    Thank you so much for being YOU!

    Hap

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  4. Denis December 19, 2009

    I meant to finish my last reply with Happy Holiday season.
    Since I am not perfect yet, the message got away before I could finish typing. So I take this chance to correct myself and be the best that I can be, just for today…

    Hugs!…

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  5. Mickey December 22, 2009

    Great timing for the wonderful reminder of the not good enough syndrome. This issue plagues me deeply and the more I can identify it, the more at peace I feel.
    Thanks Michelle and happy holidays.

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  6. Alexis January 1, 2011

    Based on the assessment above, my D.S. says:
    Good enough is having the quintet of socially desirable traits.
    (being pretty, funny, having a supportive family, having a well-paying job, and life experience appropriate to your years, all of which equal security).

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