If not now, then when? When is enough, enough?
In our culture, many people abide in the “trance of unworthiness” I wrote briefly about last week. What more must be perfected, learned, changed, honed and improved upon for us to like and accept ourselves, just as we are?
It’s curious how easily we accept the perfection of babies as they grow and learn. While knowing they’ll continue to change and evolve, we see them as perfect for the stage they’re at. Then, something changes. I don’t know when it happens.
Growing into the teen and adult years, that voice of self-doubt and dislike often surfaces. Self-judgment, self-deprecation and a feeling that we are lacking is common. Self-criticism overshadows self-encouragement as the internal voices become harsher.
Whether it is our physical attributes, such as our weight, hair or wrinkles, personality quirks or our intelligence, the over-whelming tendency is self-criticism and feeling we just don’t measure-up. Akin to being at war with ourselves, despite trying our best, those internal voices of never measuring-up hold court in our minds. If we knew people in our lives who were as rude and unkind to us as our internal voices, we’d never befriend them.
We deflect compliments, put ourselves down and are prone to continue striving for some elusive destination of feeling enough, like some carrot we dangle in-front of ourselves.
We’ve come to believe it’s arrogant and lacking humility to like ourselves just as we are. We may believe we’ll stay stuck if we accept ourselves as we are. This is not true.
In my life’s work, I feel blessed to journey with people during their end-days and talk about things that really matter. We talk about their lives, their accomplishments and failures, their successes, mistakes, regrets and satisfactions, and consider the legacy of their lives.
I’m drawn to ask them as they see their time on earth ending, whether they can look back over their lives—the good and the challenging, the successes and failures— and consider whether it was a life well-lived.
Even on our death-beds, many people are still caught in this trance and it’s tragic when people are unable to consider their life well-lived. Most people live good lives, endeavouring to lend goodness to life and make a positive difference in this world. But focussed on mistakes and failures and dreams never realized, they’re unable to acknowledge the good
Yes, each of us has regrets and instances where we wish for a do-over. But often those regrets and mistakes do not overshadow or outweigh the goodness that’s left in the wake of our living.
We’ve taken humility too far, and it’s costing us our happiness and ability to recognize the good we’ve created. It’s also interesting how we can easily see the good created in other people’s lives but fail to see it for our own.
I ask all to reconsider and start to take a kinder stance toward themselves. To be more forgiving of ourselves when we’ve tried and failed and consider we thrive and grow best in safe and caring environments, even internal ones.
A recent meme seems to capture it all, “In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.”
Please join the rebellion.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.