Do you ever do that? Do you ever try to list your accomplishments or say something good about yourself, only to qualify it five seconds later? I realized yesterday that I do it all the time and it needs to stop. It is affecting my ability to create the life I want, as I discuss in this post about writing resumes.
What do I mean by qualifying? Well, here are a few examples from my own life and warped brain:
- I wrote a complete young adult novel . . . but no publisher has picked it up, so of course it can’t be good enough.
- I finished my doctoral program in three years . . . but I don’t have a tenure track job or a title, so I must be a failure. I am just not good enough.
- I am a talented writer . . . but there are so many bloggers who get more hits than I do. I have never been Freshly Pressed. I must be doing something wrong. I am not good enough.
- I am a creative and talented director . . . but I don’t have the right attitude or that mysterious drive to make a huge success in the professional theater world. (This one is more a justification of myself, when in reality I am simply scared). You guessed it . . . I am not good enough.
ENOUGH! I’m driving myself insane. I don’t want to be that kind of person. I want to be able to embrace my accomplishments and be proud of the person I am, without caring how it looks to the rest of the world. I want to feel and believe that I AM GOOD ENOUGH!!!
Ultimately, my denigration of self really comes down to my concern about how others might judge me. When I went for my doctorate, I had no real intention of entering the academic world and becoming a star professor. As a matter of fact, I really got the doctorate kind of as a fluke (not to diminish the hard work or commitment that it takes, but the choice to pursue the degree had less to do with the degree and more to do with my stubborn pursuit of education and achievement). So why, if that is true, do I care that I don’t have the job or title? Or, to quote from Fortytude “Why do I . . . allow myself to be undermined by the very values I choose not to ascribe to?” (Brokaw 7)
The answer lies in the assumptions I make about what other people expect of me. I don’t want to disappoint anyone and I want to live up to expectations. Yet, I constantly demean myself and perceive myself as a failure because I cannot claim the exact picture of “success” as dictated by society. I don’t have a title. I don’t have the money. I have a few awards, but nothing “big.” I don’t even have a real job at the moment.
Here is a reality I don’t often admit: I am the only person who has the right to be disappointed in anything I have done. I am the only one who should judge whether or not I have accomplished the goals I have for my life and myself. Have I disappointed myself in some areas? Of course. Who hasn’t? But, I have also surprised myself in others and achieved many things that I never imagined I could. Why can’t I simply say that without any qualifications?
So today, I hereby declare. I am, indeed, GOOD ENOUGH !!!
I want you to believe you are good enough too. I want everybody who reads this to list below something about yourself that you have every right to be proud of . . . no qualifications. Let’s celebrate ourselves for a change, and not diminish ourselves. Are you with me? Well then, share your victories below! I can’t wait to read them.
One more thing, as I was driving to meet with someone who could help me embrace my accomplishments on the page at least, I heard this song and really listened to the lyrics. I am writing the story of my life as we speak, and that life is more than just good enough, it is fantabulous!