Before I start this blog let me first apologize for taking two months to post another one. “Sex, Caffeine, and Food” had such a huge response, I received so many emails, and messages from readers about how the blog has changed their lives, or given them courage to take action that I found myself scared to write another one. Scared because I feared the next one wouldn’t live up to the it, or be good enough. If this sounds familiar, than “Potentially Good Enough” will resonate with you for sure…enjoy!
“I’m not good enough.” Have you found yourself feeling this way, or saying this to yourself?
About five or six years ago I noticed this was the undertone for which my thoughts, actions, and choices rested upon. At first I thought I was the only one, but when I opened my eyes I was surprised to see students, teachers, friends, and loved ones had a similar story. Like any character flaw, it hurt to recognize it, and at the time I didn’t yet see the beauty in the revelation. Practicing yoga helped a lot, it helped me feel good physically and emotionally but I still felt like I was striving for something I didn’t yet have; Teaching Yoga helped me to discover another chapter to the story.
As a teacher, and self-proclaimed yogi, I was striving to be good enough on so many levels. While I could see myself trying to fill emptiness, I didn’t know why I felt this way, or how to fill it. I was trying my best to be compassionate enough, knowledgeable enough, strong, flexible, kind, powerful, trusting, loving, financially stable, interesting, and any other quality I looked up to in my mentors and teachers. I wanted to live my life in accordance to what I perceived was a wise and humble lifestyle.
The upside; I was taking on the strengths of my teachers, but the downside; It became a comparison game for my mind to play. Even though I was becoming more of who I wanted to be all I could see was what I did NOT have yet. Even worse I began seeing what my teachers did not have yet as well. I was looking at everything and everyone from a lens of emptiness and I desperately wanted to shift my perspective. Revelation hit with the introduction to a powerful concept that has transformed my life for the better: “look for the good”. Look for the good in everyone and everything. Of course this took quite a bit of retraining the mind but eventually I started seeing everyone’s strengths and beauty first. I learned that seeing the good in people gave me an opportunity to celebrate them. This practice was and still is incredibly powerful. It helped me connect to the beauty in other people and in turn I was inspired to live up to my highest potential. The practice in itself brought out the wise and humble qualities in me that I was searching for. It was like I was viewing the world through a dirty window and someone suddenly cleaned it so that I can see the world more clearly. I recently became friends with someone who is masterful in looking at people’s strengths and celebrating them with you or for you if you have yet to see them in yourself. They serve as a reminder that I have more potential to grow in my ability to see the good in everyone. It would be incredibly easy for me to fall back into my old pattern of thinking and say- their mastery makes me feel like I’m not good enough yet, but instead I am grateful for the inspiration and example they provide me with. This brings me to this idea of potential…
While the practice of looking for the good helped me grow more humble and less jealous, I still felt “not good enough.” One day while teaching on the topic of enjoying “the journey”, the realization smacked me in the face; I wasn’t good enough in comparison to my own potential. I was watching students get frustrated with not having the pose yet, and I simply stated “What’s the hurry? When you get the pose, you will just want the next one. So practice enjoyment with where you are now, so when you get to where you are going you know how to enjoy that moment.” This statement helped me to realize, that it’s not that we are having trouble seeing our potential, but that we are judging ourselves based on it.
We all want to live up to our potential, or our “highest”, however the more we grow, so does our potential. In fact, the definition of potential is “capable of being but not yet in existence”. This means that if today I grow into yesterday’s potential, than my potential has now grown to the next level. To clarify, if we are constantly chasing something that we are capable of but does not yet exist, we are likely to establish a sense of not being there yet, not being good enough, or not being happy with where we are at now! It is important to set goals, they help motivate us in developing an action plan. As we climb the latter toward our goal, naturally we develop new desires and ambitions, making it easy to overlook how far you have already come. We tend to be so forward thinking that we miss out on the goals we have already achieved. Set your goal, but be sure to recognize, and celebrate the steps along the way, even the hard ones.
“Potentially good enough” was new undertone for which my life was floating upon! I never fully accepted who I was at any given time as “good enough” simply because I saw room for growth. It seems so obvious to me now- growth is the very nature of life…there will always be more to learn! There is no finish line. With the knowing that there is room for improvement, start with acceptance and gratitude and you will always be growing and expanding upon fullness.
Let potential be the source that inspires you to go deeper AND find gratitude in every step you take knowing that simply having the desire to grow and expand is a gift in itself! Change your foundation from “not good enough” to “grateful”. In this way our efforts will be moving towards expanding your current state of fullness, happiness and joy, rather than hoping to get there some day.
I am incredibly grateful that you just read this; I hope it serves you well!