“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ~Rumi
I’ve spent far too long ruminating in self-doubt and comparing myself to what others around me have or represent. I have the brain of an addict, so my default way of thinking is to always want more, rather than appreciate what lies in front of me. This distorted thinking cascades throughout my life to such a degree that I can be standing looking over the most beautiful mountain ranges in Cape Town, South Africa and all that I can think about is what will I being doing later tomorrow on our holiday, will I be bored, will we have enough time?
We live a society where we are bombarded by images of excess, where we call into question our material, emotional, and spiritual being. From the moment our alarm drags us out of bed in the morning, thoughts of not enough course through our brains…. “I didn’t get enough sleep”, “I didn’t spend enough time with the kids at breakfast”, “I didn’t leave myself enough time to fight the traffic to work.” Everywhere we turn we are faced with images that make us question: “Am I thin enough”, “Am I handsome/pretty enough”, “Am I rich enough?” Hell, our national leaders espouse that “You’re either with us, or against us”…. So, “Am I patriotic enough?”
In her book Daring Greatly, Brene Brown suggests that this feeling of inadequacy is rampant in our modern society, and that it is tied to three elements: shame, comparison, disengagement. As I evaluate my own actions, I see all three components at work in my interactions with others. Looking at shame, I’m prone to pointing out others’ inadequacies before acknowledging my own. As a teacher, when it comes to making comparisons, I’m often guilty of pigeonholing students and seeing differences as weaknesses. Disengagement is all around us. The prevalence of social media is a byproduct of a community that struggles to be seen and heard. It’s so easy for me to avoid taking risks and trying something new by simply telling myself “what difference will it make” or “who even cares?"
For the next 24 hours, I’m going to try a little experiment in my life. I’m going to reframe how I approach people and things today. Instead of waking up and pointing out deficits in my life, I’m going to accentuate the beautiful things that lie within and around me. Gratitude will replace those toxic words “not enough”. I’d love to hear how your day is going, and how you dull those "not enough" voices.