How often do criticize or chide yourself for not being “perfect” or “good enough”? Every day? Every week? Once in a while? How persistent is that nagging little voice in the back of your head in reminding you of your mistakes, your faults, your defects or your inadequacies? How open are you to listening to others, friends and foes, judging or somehow disapproving of you? How many are the days in which you look at yourself in the mirror but avoid truly seeing your reflection?
And now, how often do you praise yourself? When do you really authorise yourself to enjoy who you are and what you feel? How frequently do you look at yourself and let your thoughts wander in wonder at the good things in you or a the magnificent being you are? When was the last time you felt satisfied with the way you look? And the last time you felt like you were good enough?
Ours is a culture of constant improvement and excellence. As a result, we’re never satisfied. We always want more, better or different. Furthermore, most cultures in the world consider pride, satisfaction and self-value negative traits in human beings. Those who like themselves and publicly acknowledge it are deemed conceited, narcissistic and vane, and are recommended to “reflect upon their defects in order to become better human beings”! We’re thus taught to constantly look for the bad in order to “improve ourselves.” Since early childhood, the messages we get encourage us to critically look for our “defects” in order to correct them and become “better persons.” As a consequence, we always feel incomplete and need to keep on looking for new ways to better ourselves.
No wonder why so many people dislike themselves! We’re taught to do it! We’re told that’s what “good” people do! And it’s so engrained in us, that we don’t even realize how hard we are at sabotaging our own happiness and our love for ourselves. The lesson we learn as kids is: don’t you dare love yourself or else you will be conceited and vain, not a good human being. The same lesson we’re now teaching our own children…
That lesson becomes a part of our identity, of our principles and values. We stop loving ourselves because we’re taught to look for continuous improvement, to never settle for what we already are, as the being we are now can NOT be a perfect one and should not be accepted as good. Oh my! What a terrible, destructive message! You can’t imagine the dozens of clients I have who come to me because of this one belief. “I am not good enough.” And they will never be, as long as they continue searching for improvement. The mere search for improvement automatically implies imperfection, doesn’t it?
There’s no balance. The constant look for improvement leaves no room for self-acceptance. How can we accept, even less love ourselves, if we’re constantly seeking ways to improve or perfect the beings we are because there’s no way we’re good enough?
Beliefs, though, are personal. Believing something is a matter of choice. Did you choose to believe you’re not good enough? Yes, as a kid you probably chose to believe what you learned at home or at school. And kept it. But choices don’t have expiration dates. You can question any of your current beliefs and decide wether you want to keep them or discard them. I encourage you to do exactly that. Ask yourself what you believe and then decide if you want to continue believing it or would rather exchange that belief for a better one. Do you want to continue believing that you need to run this rat race for constant improvement? Do you choose to believe there’s no perfection in you? Or would you rather embrace a new belief that allows you to accept whichever you can like in yourself and enjoy it?
“Doing that,” some people may argue, “will only lead to laziness and lack of development.” Is that truly so? I respond. What if you believed that you are good enough and enjoy who you are, even in the search for growth? See, the difference rests in first accepting that you are good. Full-stop. Good. The way you are. Enjoy being who you are. Love the person you are now. And then decide that you want to explore new horizons, new developments, new avenues. Not because you’re not good enough but because you ARE good enough to grow, learn and continue loving yourself the way you are now and the way you will be later, too.
Stop now and love the being you are. Accept yourself the way you are. No buts. You are the best you that you could become in the time you lived so far. You’ve been working hard at it all this time! Then give yourself the credit you deserve for everything you did until now. Look for the achievements and celebrate them. Look for the good in you, both physically as well as emotionally and intellectually. Love those good traits. Value them. Cherish them. They also are a part of you.
And be happy.
Only then, once you’re happy and accept the being that you truly are, can you decide to venture into the unknown land of personal development in the safety of knowing that you already are good enough.
Enjoy life, ALL of it,
Jessica J. Lockhart – humanology – www.jessicajlockhart.com
Jessica J. Lockhart is a humanologist, bestselling author and renowned international speaker. Follow her here: