I recently had one of those conversations with my daughter… the kind that just breaks your heart. As soon as we started the conversation, I was transported back to times when I felt the same way that she was describing. I could empathize, sympathize and hear my heart crack with each word.This is what she was feeling –
That She Was Not Good Enough.
She felt like she had to work her tail off, and still not see the results that came to others so easily when they worked at those things. To her, she did not measure up to what others were doing . That was tough on her. In her mind, her value and importance was based on achievements that others were accomplishing. She couldn’t see how amazing she truly is because she was measuring by other’s yardsticks.
As her mom I comforted her and let her know how brightly she shines, regardless of what a result was in a particular task. I reminded her that she is an amazingly artistic, creative, and entrepreneurial kid. She has an uncanny way of figuring out how to get things done. Although she is in the height and throws of teendom, she has a worldly ability that is far beyond her years. She is brilliant, radiant, and kind hearted. It’s almost absurd that she can be all these things, yet still feel like she falls short. I could say that is lack of life experience or maturity, but we all know that life experience and age has nothing to do with it.
Admit It- You’ve Felt This
By a raise of hand, click of a mouse or a share of this post (ok… had to get some shameless promotion in there somewhere) how many of you have felt this way?
I know that more days than not, not being “good enough” pops into my thinking. Some days it is a hindrance that I can step over, kick to the curb, or sweep under the rug. Other days it is a full blown obstacle. I get so caught up in the size of other people’s yardsticks that I think mine pales in comparison. “ My job wasn’t as “important” as theirs. I “just” made this contribution, but they made “that” one. They are more “put together” than I will ever be. “ Whether it is a conscious though or a subconscious feeling, there are days when it is hard to realize the things that my yardstick has measured.
Time to Re-Measure
When we are feeling this way, or when our children are feeling this way, it is vital that we realize that we should never measure ourselves according to what others have done. Each person is an individual and gifted in different ways. Even if two people share the same type of strength, so many factors go into how that strength plays out, that how those strengths manifest could be very different. One persons yardstick may have measured a mile, but another’s may have measured 1 yard 1,760 times. Is either one less accomplished than the other? Don’t both show strength and tenacity, even though it showed in different ways?
Get Your Own Yardstick
Next time you are tempted to use your friends, neighbor’s, or society's yardstick – do yourself a favor. Go and get your own. You will be much happier when you own it, keep it, and see it for what it is - a measure of you from the floor on where you stand. Not a measure of you from where someone else stands.