Recently, I had a conversation with someone who feels that—in spite of all the love, attention and kindness she showers upon a significant person in her life—she simply isn’t enough. Sadly, she’s isn’t the first person I’ve heard this from.
It’s hard for most of us to wrap our arms around the idea that for some people, nothing—and often no one—is ever good enough. And, if you’re someone who loves people like that, you realize that you can applaud them, lift them up, help them, take a back seat to them and sacrifice for them, but it’s never adequate—something’s always lacking. There’s an empty space that needs to be filled by power or subjugation.
These “never good enough” people are unable (or maybe unwilling) to be empathetic—to put themselves in anyone’s shoes other than their own. Their agendas supersede everyone else’s needs, wants and desires. On the rare occasion when you’ve finally accomplished the ultimate goal: making that other person happy/satisfied/content, you revel in the moment. You think, “Maybe I am enough!” but it ends too soon and you’re back where you started.
The givers, impacted so profoundly by the power of the person they love, spend their lives continually trying to make someone else “happy” by surrendering their internal desire for joy. Eventually, the still, small voice of the person who’s tried in vain for so long to be enough and give enough—to fill the void by doing whatever it took to get the nod of approval or even a smile of appreciation— is completely silenced. It’s “put in its place”—minimized and marginalized to the extent that it can no longer be heard. The silence is deafening. The pain is cutting and almost deadly, but death does not come. Instead the person becomes “less than” to mirror what they’re being told: “You are not good enough”.
If you’re in a relationship where you never believe you’re “good enough”, how did you get to that place?
Have you always felt that way?
Were you raised up to believe that you did not have value?
Please step back and look at it yourself through a different lens—the lens of value and love.
Or, on the other side of the coin:
If you’re the person for whom nothing (or no one) is ever good enough, how did you get there?
Have you always been that way?
Do you feel “entitled” because someone told you that you deserve (and should expect) it all: perfection, undying adulation and complete sacrifice to your whims?
If you’re the one who’s never really happy with someone (or with everyone) step back and look at how you’re impacting our world.
Who are we, that we need to make others feel “less than” so that we can feel “more than”?
What creates in us the need to feel potent in the light of someone else’s impotence or deficiency?
Why do we sacrifice others to feel the power of superiority?
In order to create peace full homes, we need to create peace full lives—We need to create peace full living. That requires attention to how we treat, respect and value others and ourselves. No matter which side you currently stand on the “good enough” equation, always remember that we all have value.
It’s always interesting to me how “real life” and what I choose to write about often intersect even when I haven’t planned it.
I started writing this post before Hurricane Harvey hit the United States on Friday. One of my dearest friends has her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter living in Houston. Yesterday, she found out that that they had evacuated their home, and made their way to a friend’s house. After not hearing from them for part of the day, the knowledge that they were safe was much more than “good enough”.
Late last week, I fell coming out of the garden when I got my foot caught on some wire that marked where the beans were planted. I went straight down, crashing onto the wall that surrounds the garden. I lay there, alone, for quite a while feeling pain course through my body, wondering if anything was broken. At that point, being able to simply stand up became “good enough”.
My grandchildren went back to school yesterday. Lauren changed middle schools, and it was her first day since orientation at the new one. When I saw her, after she got off the bus, she told me about a great day—nice teachers, lunch with friends from her soccer team and running into other girls she knew from grade school. She gave the day a “9 out of 10”, and her happiness was much more than “good enough”