I am not …. to …
Almost everyone can fill in those blanks. I am not talented enough to write, I am not beautiful enough to go on that date, I am not smart enough to go to that University… and the list can go to infinity and beyond. Very few people had reached that level of tranquillity of though when one does not create such phrases. At least I didn’t- as they say: “I am a work in progress”. Sometimes I am amazed when I realise how many contradictory ideas I can hold simultaneously. For example, I am convinced that everyone is unique in his or her blend of lights and shadows and at the same time I catch myself judging my actions based on a standard that exists only in my mind, resulting in statements such as: “I am not good enough”, “I am not skilled enough ”, “I am not smart enough” …
Those are the moments when I learned to stop and breath deeply. To calm my mind and ask: “I am not good enough… compared to what?”. To others? We all know that the best point of reference, in any case, is you. Everyone has his own way and we must respect this. You have to give time and trust your process. Therefore, Alexandra, you are perfect in your imperfection. For now, you are as you were supposed to be.
Why did I try to compare myself with someone else in the first place? To ensure that I am on the right track, that I am doing the right thing… We all crave positive feedback from the outside, it is reassuring and raises our self-esteem.
If one goes deeper, the “matrix of perfection” will be noticed. Since we were born, we were given answers to questions we have not asked. We learn through culture, religion, family, school or government: who we are, how we should behave, what we have to do, what is right and what is wrong, … girls have to be delicate, boys don’t cry, go to college, buy a car, be polite, be humble… These are some of the patterns in which we are made to believe one should operate. External structures imposed and, afterwards voluntary adopted. They are useful because they enable us to cooperate, avoid the painful “trial-error”, provide us with security and protection. On the other hand, they limit us- we believe that we must necessarily fall into a certain form. It never passed through our minds to create an existence outside of them, to shape something out of our authentic self. The truth is that no one except ourselves forces us to do anything.
Out of our first 20 years of life 15 are spent in a factory. Take a small piece of the human spirit and pass it through a succession of prints, shapes, quality standards, assessments so in the end, you can provide and “responsible and autonomous individual” for the market. What is truly happening? After graduation, we still behave like students that always have to be evaluated and struggle to be good enough. Everything you do, think and feel is followed by: “is it okay?” , and if it’s okay …” how good is it?”.
As my mother would tell me every time I try to explain her I caught the flu- “It’s all in your head, darling.” When you stop, breath deeply and make some space you will see the illusion. There’s nothing metaphysical nor paranormal here. All your thoughts, beliefs, opinions form a map that helps you navigate the turbulent ocean of life. However, this picture is not the reality itself. Taking this into consideration, “I’m not enough … to …”, it’s just a meaningless phrase because it does not exist outside of your mind. You are the one that designed it in your brain but it does not have a reference in life. If you want you could find one but that is just our bad habit of always be right. If humans want they can find arguments for anything. Maybe later I will tell you why we should harness our new genetic knowledge to create unicorns.
What happens when someone says: “you are not… to… “? First, why is it relevant to you what that person thinks? For a long time, I was concerned with how others regarded me because I wanted to be accepted. However, as I mature I realised that I was looking for acceptance because I did not totally accept myself. I did not fully embrace all my pluses and minuses. Because this integration did not come from within, somehow I tried to shape it outside. I waited for someone to tell me that I am enough.
Just as you have your own imaginary world that you confuse most of the time with the Reality itself, so do others. It’s almost impossible for another to really understand your vision. When someone gives you feedback, of course, they can trigger a moment of realisation through what they shared. On the other hand, everything we do, feel or think, reflect who we are. Therefore that feedback is not really about you but about the other.
There are no miracles (unless you are Jesus), magic pills (no, I am not talking about those) or midnight transformations (Cinderella). Change is a process that takes time and patience. A practice I learned from one of my mentors was that when I was confronted with such a fear-fed belief like “I am not… to…” I should ask myself “Is it true?” If it is then the following inquiry would be: “You know that for sure? “. Afterwards, I try to imagine who I am without that thought. I can’t guarantee it will work for you too but for me, it does, every time. It reminds me to be aware of the illusions created by my thoughts.
You can go as far as your mind goes.