This article came about when I posted a holiday photograph of my elder daughter cooking for the whole family, and commented that to me, she is the perfect woman, and I am humbled by who she had become. I love the fact that despite her academic bent, she had chosen not to pursue a hard-hitting career such as law or medicine or accountancy, but work instead in interior designs creating beautiful homes.
Several people told me not to compare daughters (as I have a younger one, who is of the opposite temperament), though in actual fact, I wasn’t commenting. I was celebrating a road less-travelled.
But according to the ancient yoga sutras, comparison is a normal human trait. It is what makes us human: the moment we open our eyes, we see “others” and “I”. We observe differences, or duality. The path of life is therefore to be able to practice upeksanam, or equanimity: we cannot control the external (be it what we see or what others say) as the only thing we can control is our internal reaction to the external.
How we react to “comparison” stems from years of feeling “not good enough”. “I am not good enough” is one of the most debilitating, crippling human psychoses. It destroys relationships.
Once, years ago, I was with someone who grew up never feeling good enough, from a parent who did not want the family, to being banished to the cold basement in teenage years to make room for a relative, to being cheated on by first girlfriend, to subsequent exes who cheated, lied, stalked, caused much pain. This solid diet of “I am not good enough” that lasted for four decades created a person who speaks “not good enough” language. I, after being spoken to in this language for two years, began to feel not good enough, too. Those unspoken words were like incessant drops of water dripping onto the matter of my soul – in time, “not good enough”, “not good enough”, “not good enough” created a hole in my being and my light bled out. I tried so hard, but to a person who did not know any language but “not good enough”, my best efforts was futile. It broke my father’s heart when we moved in and stayed at my parents’ house over a 2 week period. I, his feisty and boisterous little girl, was subdued and emotionally exhausted, despite my fake smiles. And tellingly, I stopped writing.
Thankfully, a life-threatening illness saved me. As I mended my body, I mended my soul. My partner put this Humpty Dumpty back together and filled my emptiness with light once more.
At a time when I was at my lowest and felt ugly compared to other women, he stopped the comparison going deeper by showing me another kind of beauty, namely the one he saw through his love for me. Yes, I was bloated, with bad skin, older than the women he was used to, but he loved me.
Today, as I write this, I sit in the summer sun of Cap d’Ail on the Cote d’Azur. Those days are far behind me. I am shining once more. I no longer believed that I was not good enough.
THREE WAYS OF OVERCOMING “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH”
- Meditate to know your true worth. Do a simple one where you just sit and observe your breath (and emotions that arise) for 9 minutes every night.
- Look at yourself in the mirror EVEY MORNING and repeat these words “I am good enough”. In time, you will believe it.
- If you cannot block out the negative “You’re not good enough”, then remove yourself from the the situation.
ONE way of ensuring that your child does not feel “not good enough”
Love him or her abundantly, and don’t skimp with the words and hugs!!! Never pass your own inadequacies and unhappiness to your child.
❤ ❤ ❤