Shortly after Christmas, I had the pleasure of having dinner with some of the amazing girls (yes, I still think of us as girls, and I mean that in the most positive way ever) whom I was fortunate enough to attend high school with. As we ate, drank, and were merry, we also shared some poignant moments with one another, as the laughter and chatter gave way, at times, to talk of our respective divorces, remarriages, struggles with depression & anxiety, concerns about our aging parents and growing children, career changes, etc. There is something so healing and comforting about being able to share the best and worst moments of your life with people who have known you since you were 14 years old and know that without a doubt you will be accepted, encouraged, supported, and loved. It was during this discussion that several people shared how they never felt like they were good enough in high school and that this feeling has followed them into adulthood. I was surprised by their admission for a number of reasons, and this conversation has been on my mind and in my heart since then.
Feeling like I am not good enough has been something that I have carried with me for as long as I can remember, and it only has been recently that I have been able to address its origins and effects honestly and completely, in order to diminish its hold on me. It is a definite process of letting go, but the fear is being replaced by love and acceptance for myself. So, as I sat listening to these incredible women talk about how they did not feel good enough then or even now, I was astounded, because that certainly is not how I saw them then or how I see them now. Whether it was when we were sitting around the cafeteria tables back in high school or sitting around the restaurant table now as adults, I always have viewed our diverse group of girls as smart, funny, beautiful, caring, generous, unique, and a host of other positive superlatives that still cannot capture the essence of each individual person. I could see these qualities and characteristics so very clearly in them, and it was not lost on me that they could not always see them in themselves, just as I have been challenged to see some of them in my own self.
As a teenager, you can be so caught up in your own angst that you do not see that others are just as insecure or confused as you are, and when the overall goal is to fit in, teenagers can be masterful at hiding and disguising who they really are. Some people remove their adolescent shield of armor to reveal their true selves at some point during adulthood, while some of us feel the need to hide behind our old personas until we learn that they do not serve us well at all, that is if we are able to come to this realization. Perception is everything, and it is funny how our perceptions of ourselves can be the most distorted, at times.
The discussion I had with my high school friends is one I have had with other groups of friends, so, I know that it is not unique to our class. So, what does it mean to feel and/or be “good enough”? The answer to that question and the definition of that term varies for each person, and while I can list a thousand reasons why I believe someone is most certainly good enough or listen to someone do the same for me, the bottom line is that only the person who does not feel good enough can declare themselves worthy. It is my hope and prayer that each of us discovers that we are good enough to be loved and accepted unconditionally for who we are, to succeed professionally, to have healthy relationships with friends and family, to be in a mutually loving relationship or marriage, to make our dreams a reality, to have the life we want and need for ourselves, and anything and everything else that we have denied ourselves based on the false and destructive belief that we are not deserving of all the wonder and beauty that life has to offer to us. It is ours for the taking, and we need to allow ourselves to go get it.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story