All my life I have felt "less than."
I looked around and I saw a black and white world of people. There were the successful people and those who were failing. I suppose I always felt like I was in one category or the other most of the time. (Can you guess which side I thought I landed in most of the time?)
When I was successful, I was on top of the world. I was full of grandiosity and big dreams and goals. I knew I could do anything I set my mind to do. I had my chit together.
When I was down, it wasn't merely a stumbling block. Oh hell no. I was doomed. I was a failure. I couldn't do anything right. I was never going to pick myself up. I might as well quit my job and go live in a cardboard box and wait for the inevitable doom that lay ahead.
Middle ground, or that gray area in which most people live, didn't exist for me. And sadly, I didn't really think it existed for others, either.
When I looked outward at others I deemed most people as having their act together all of the time. They kept appointments and schedules, they washed their dishes and did their vacuuming like Donna Reed with pearls and heels or were like Mrs. Cleaver every day and never raised their voices to their kids. They were on their game. They were up. They had it together. They never fell behind at work and never forgot important dates or missed deadlines.
When I saw a woman walk into a business environment, I automatically assumed she was smarter than me, had it together more than I did, had a great family, a great relationship, and a great life. She probably was born with great genetics, came from a well off family, went to college, met Mr. Right and had a fairy tale life. Beeotch. How come I didn't get to have that kind of charmed life? Why was I such a failure?
Somehow I didn't realize that this messy process of becoming an adult, becoming the person I was meant to be...the ups, the downs, the highs and lows, the great triumphs and horrible disasters....that all of it was okay. That doing my best sometimes meant doing less than I was capable of last month. Or that what seemed like huge setbacks might, in fact, be backing up to get a running head start into a great big forward step!
I realize now that there is an ideal - the goal, the dream, the perfectionist target, and then there is "good enough." Not meeting the ideal isn't a failure...it's how most people roll most of the time.
It's how we respond to life that matters. It's picking up and moving forward that matters. It's digging deep and finding a reason to keep trying to be better that matters. Trying to be a better person. Trying to do more good in the world. Trying to be a better parent. Trying to make the next right choice and knowing that even when you fall short of the target....maybe that's okay.
Maybe "good enough for now" isn't a failure at all and it's just how to accept being human. Maybe that acceptance is a form of self love, and extending some grace and mercy to ourselves. For me, success is trying to make the best next right choice in this moment...in the now and letting go of yesterday's mistakes. Success isn't just reaching the goal and arriving at the destination. It's experiencing the journey, learning, sharing and accepting where I am today. I can't be happy tomorrow, I can only be happy today and I am who I am right now. I have to be okay with that. I am good enough.
And so are you.