What Sarah McLachlan sings about in Good Enough, with such an achingly sorrowful voice, is an all-too common story. We often learn as children to understand that we’re not good enough, that we should be happy with whatever expressions we can find that seem to express love. Perhaps we learn it through the emotional or physical abuses we suffer from adults, people we are taught to respect, obey and trust, people we are told we should love, that we believe we should love, that we so desperately want to love, and love us back.
The abuse doesn’t need to be harsh, or physical. It doesn’t need to be a constant harangue or a consistent undertone. Sometimes, all it takes is the parenting of another adult who doesn’t believe they’re good enough either.
We grow up. We become adults. And we carry into our adulthood the deeply seated belief that people we respect and love express their love conditionally, capriciously, or weakly. We seek the smallest indication of love, as we did when we were children, and amplify it in our hearts, filling the aching emptiness there. We try, desperately sometimes, to make other people love us. But so long as the truth of our condition evades us, we’ll never find anyone who really will. We look for the wrong people, find them and settle for them. We must learn that we’re good enough. We must learn to love ourselves.
Sarah reminds us all, like a good friend or lover, you’re so much more than good enough.
thanks Staci, that’s a lovely quote we should all live by.
Is the trick falling in love with life, and thus yourself, accepting yourself, and having love in every form, the joy of reflection and the happiness of just being, the answer to accepting “you’re so much more than good enough?”
The objective is to love uncondionally but from a very young age, we are ‘conditioned’ (at least I was) to give more than we receive, so the ‘giving’ of love is much more obtainable than the ‘taking’. The thought of allowing oneself (talking about me here) to accept and be easy about being good enough is more often than not, a cultural thing, that teaches us to be “uneasy” with self admiration type thoughts.
This is a good little lesson in self worth though and Oh, how we all have our own versions or definitions of “worthy”
anyway, it was just a thought while reading your post, thanks
I’m going to have another listen to the words of the song and try to convince myself that I’m more than good enough (at least for today 🙂
Karen (& Staci 🙂 ),
I grew up in an environment of “You’re wonderful… grand… brilliant… now can we have more. More. More.” The ultimate message is that even at my best, it wasn’t good enough. As you observe, Staci, a lesson I learned from “people we are taught to respect, obey and trust, people we are told we should love, that we believe we should love, that we so desperately want to love, and love us back.”
You respond, Karen, with the question, is the trick falling in love with life…? In my mind I answered you with one small edit.
Yes, Karen, the trick is falling in love with YOUR life. Exactly as it is. With all its flaws and shortcomings and small beautiful moments. Recognizing that we are loved by the universe first and are an integral part of its beauty. We are loved through the hummingbirds in a garden. By the sun that rises. By the ocean that laps at our toes. This is the universal spirit (to me– God) loving me… loving us. There is no love that surpasses or matches that.
“Not good enough.” Some years ago, the feeling within myself became a burden. A sadness. A fog. I’m not capable of changing the people around me… or of healing their wounds (perhaps some people have that gift– I don’t). So I’ve taken to exiting those relationships that make me feel less than good enough for my world. The damage these realtionships cause to who I am… to my pleasure in the love offerd me by my world… is inevitably greater than the value of the relationship that brings in the fog. The universe– the one that extends beyond human relationships– that loves me gives me sunrises… so I must be worth something grand, hmm? This is what I say to myself when I feel the nagging suspicion that I should be something more or less in order to deserve love.
I suppose this post strikes me most because I woke this morning with a friend on my mind. A relationship I’ve ended (despite my love for her) because I could never measure up to her expectations. Because even at my best, she would say, you’re not enough, I need more… my heart is sad at losing her. But deep down I know that when I let the fog in, it grows thick and heavy and puts out the light that is me.
thankyou Sonny, that was heartfelt reading and I appreciate your response – I’ll take that on board and try to adhere it to MY life.
All that love that you just speak of is going to wrap me in its arms today 🙂
Hello Karen, and Sonny [smile]
To begin with an aside, I’m wary of ‘tricks’ in life, Karen. Yes, it’s just an expression, but words carry weight, and we can’t trick life into giving us anything. The universal spirit (nice, Sonny — I’ll add that to our Divine Synonyms) is just too intelligent to be tricked. Moreover, what we speak becomes what we do, or expect. (Peter, you should post that poem, “Be Mindful. . .” — it was the first thought on my mind while writing this.)
To get back on track: This subject throws me into a bit of a tizzy. All kinds of conflicting thoughts and emotions broil up so that getting a handle on a response is difficult. And, to be honest, I don’t like not having a handle on a response. [grin] But after taking a few abortive runs on this, I think I’ve got a handle on it. Your comment brings up two thougths for me. How do I receive love? And how do I give it?
There’s a very beautiful song, “Nature Boy,” sung most famously by Nat King Cole (Perhaps I’ll post it separately.) The whole song boils down to a singular and perfect wisdom.
You and I, and most other women, are taught to be love providers. Perhaps that is even part of our genetic makeup. What often frustrates us no end is when we feel that those we are loving aren’t accepting the gift. When I look to my own mother, I see it so clearly. She’ll want to do something for me, some thoughtful thing, “Would you like something to drink?” And if I decline, I’m not thirsty, she’ll ask, “Are you sure?” No, Mom, I’m good. “But it’s so hot.” Really, Mom. I’m fine.
Of course, she’s expressing her love, and I’m frustrating her by not receiving it. But it’s also frustrating to me because there’s a condition on her love … she needs me to receive the offered gift or she will feel she hasn’t successfully given me her love. I look at my own life, and see similar patterns, in my expectations for relationships, friendships. It’s not until we can offer without the need for the gift to be received is our love unconditional. Until then, we’re not loving; we’re placing a burden on those we love.
The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love.
It’s interesting that when we speak about “unconditional love” it’s always in the context of giving love. No one ever means being an unconditional receiver. And that’s the crux of Nature Boy’s wisdom. To love and be loved in return. Being around my mother is much easier when I moderate my frustration at being repeatedly offered things I don’t want by recognising that, really, she’s loving me the best way she knows how, and to the best of her ability. And if I give her a little love in declining, acknowledge that I appreciate her giving, it deflects a little her need to be successful. “Thanks for thinking about me, Mom, but I’m not thirsty at all right now.” Receive the love that’s offered.
Just be loved in return.
Being loved in return implies a more active love than we often imagine it to be, I think.
All that, and still no response to your original question, Karen! [smile] For the moment, I’ll just post this, and get on to that question a bit later.
OK. I’ll post that in a few minutes.
Karen – question
Whose expectations are you living up to….your own or someone elses?
If it’s yours….why do you have this self doubt, why do you question yourself?
And if, it is someone else….why do you allow them that right?
Quite separately from expectations, self-doubts and all that, Sarah McLachlan’s voice is so good and the acoustic sounds are so nice in her stuff… thanks for the nice music there.
You’re welcome Helen.
Sarah just touches me in ways that are difficult to describe. She reaches deep inside and brings up insights by the bucketful.
No doubt, one of those ways is just the perfection of her performance (I have read she has perfect pitch, which wouldn’t surprise me at all since her music is so often pitch perfect.)
I’ve been mulling over my response for a few days and have written and rewritten the answer to your question(s) and each time have edited and deleted, waxed and waned with my thoughts, and not posted because I couldn’t think of a reply that would be “good enough”…..aha, isn’t this the very topic of discussion??
So, a condensed version of what I was intending to write and very briefly, my answer is both, but it’s a situation that started with my upbringing, then I got myself into during the course of my life, always “trying” to please other people and in turn, be “good enough” which started me down a path of self destruction of sorts, that I always had to strive for something better to offer anyone who was willing to take, that has contributed to the way I feel today.
I’m happy to say, I have taken the first steps and am on the path to self belief, self worth and self esteem and my own evaluation, or appraisal of my worth, not to anyone else, but to be true to myself
Staci, Sarah McLachlan is playing in my home town this month and I am very much looking forward to seeing her – it’s a first time for me 🙂