I watched an interesting TED video presented by Brene Brown, who has a doctorate in social work and is a author many times over–she talked about one book in particular called The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are(2010).She said that from all her studies and research, what she learned is that purpose and meaning in life comes from the connections we make and maintain.
But what gets in the way is shame and fear–shame that we are not good enough and fear that we cannot make real connections with others.To move beyond shame and fear, we need to feel worthy as human beings–true self acceptance–and say “I am enough.”
However, she points out that as a society there is a lot of numbing going on (i.e. plenty of shame and fear) and that is why we are the most in debt, obese, addicted, and medicated society in history. I liked this presentation and thought about how hard we are on ourselves–we are never good enough.
- All our lives we pursue signs of advancement from that gold star in grade school to collections of degrees, awards, promotions, material goods, and even relationships.
- We constantly push ourselves further and faster on the treadmill of life–in part to learn, grow and be better, but also to try to achieve our sense of self-worth and -acceptance.
Yet, as Brown points out those that are successful with relationships and have a strong sense of love and belonging are those that feel they are inherently worthy. They have self-esteem without having to achieve any of these things.
That sense of self-worth and confidence, Brown says, enables you to achieve three key things in life:
- Courage–This is the courage to be yourself and to tell others who you are with a whole heart (i.e. they don’t hide in shame).
- Compassion–That is compassion for others, but also for yourself first–you accept yourself.
- Connection–Getting to solid relationships in life is a result of our own capacity to be authentic.
When you have that self-worth and confidence then you can embrace your vulnerabilities and make them beautiful, rather than numb yourself to constantly try to cover the disdain you feel for your frailties and weaknesses.
From my perspective, our growth and contributions to the world are good things–leave the world better than you found it!
However, the proving ourselves and amassing “things,” while milestones in life, are not a measure of a person’s true worth.
Sometimes it is fine to get over it all–accept yourself, be yourself, and stop worrying that you are never good enough.
In the Torah (Bible), when Moshe asked G-d his name–G_d replies in Exodus 3:14: “I am that I am.”
To me, this is really the lesson here–if we but try to emulate G-d, then “we are what we are.”
That is not defeat or giving up on bettering ourselves, but acceptance of who we are, where we came from, and wehre we want to go in our lives.
We don’t have to beat ourselves up for being those things or for making good faith mistakes along the way.