What If We're Just Okay?

I may have written on this before. If so, I don't want to know. Let's just pretend this is a unique and original though, okay?
Today it strikes me particularly hard, this idea of self-concept.

If a child is told they are naughty, mean and bad all their life- how will that child will behave? Of course: the child will act like they are naughty, mean and bad. S/he will live and choose things that back-up that idea.

This make so much sense to us when we look at children, but we  often forget this about ourselves. In our heads we run scripts of negative, harsh, no-good, very-bad thoughts all day long. We see all the things we do not do well enough. All the ways in which we cannot measure up. We run lists of things unaccomplished, things left undone. We constantly tell ourselves that we are not doing enough.

And then we expect performance from ourselves. We expect happiness, and success. We expect accomplishment.
How does this make sense?

If we spoke to a child the way we speak to ourselves, and then demanded achievement... everyone around would easily see and realize the error. Who is going to achieve anything, when all they hear is how they are nothing? Yet we do it to ourselves all day long, and no one speaks up for us....

So I'd like to propose something: What if we started telling ourselves good things? What if we are already good enough? Smart enough? Kind enough?*

Oh, I know what you're thinking. That negative self-talker is very crafty! The self-talker says: "But I don't ever want to feel I've accomplished everything, or I'll stop growing!" Yup, like I said: its crafty.

To which I say: "Crafty self-talker, look at the kids. Do we wait until they are Picasso before we praise their effort on their drawing? Do we wait until they are a professional athlete before we encourage them for giving their all in a game? Do we wait until they have graduated college before we ever congratulate them for an 'A' on a test? Of course not! That would be silly, and counter-productive. The child will give up long before making those lofty goals, if all they hear is criticism. YOU ARE THE SAME WAY."

Are you hearing me yet? Is your self-talker finally getting it? If we wait until we are perfect, we will never be kind to ourselves. And really, what a tragedy.

So I propose the radical concept: You are ENOUGH. Today. For this moment. Enough.... now breathe.

I really think you're enough,

*Okay, so I realize this is a good spot for a Stuart Smalley impression. But really, I'm not going for it. It just happens sometimes when I get on a roll. ;)


  1. There's a great quote from Shunryu Suzuki, who founded the SF Zen center, that goes something like this: 'You're perfect just as you are ... and, you could use a little improvement.' I like that idea - encouraging you to accept where you are today, while continuing to work on growth and moving forward and understanding that life is a *process*, not a destination.


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