I’m leery of motivational language. So often it’s slogany and I feel sold to.
At the same time, I find myself drawn to the intensity and self-assuredness of motivational speaker-types.
And every now and then one of them says something that I think is particularly eye-opening.
Danielle LaPorte published a blog post entitled “Why Self-improvement Makes you Neurotic,” in which she suggests that the actions that we do for the purpose of self-improvement are all valid, positive actions, but we often do them for disempowering reasons. When we engage in self-improvement activities, we generally do so from an assumption of brokenness in ourselves that needs to be fixed. LaPorte suggests that, instead of looking at ourselves as needing tinkered with to make us better (or even acceptable), we look at ourselves as good enough as we are. We’re doing these things not to improve ourselves but to “access our power.” [note: The links in the quote below are from Danielle LaPorte to other posts by her on her blog]
You show up at your therapist’s office to access your power.
You go to church to access your power.
You put on your heels, or your power suit, or your lucky charm to access your power.
You call your friend for advice to access your power.
You pray, dance, let go, breath [sic], unplug, run, bend, drink smoothies, go on retreat, clear the air, ask for help, get enough sleep, get up early, train, set goals, affirm, chant, rock out, climb, hike, sweat to…
access your power.
I read this and thought, “Wow.”
This is an idea I like and that I try to keep in mind, but all too easily I fall back into the old patterns of mental self-flagellation.
Where do so many of us get that idea that we’re fundamentally flawed and that the only way we can improve ourselves is by beating ourselves up?
I hope to internalize the idea that there is already enough good inside me and that the resolutions I make for myself are simply for the purpose of clearing a path to that awesomeness through the things that obscure it. If this is true, then the reason to work towards meeting my resolutions is because I’m worth the effort, not because I totally suck and need to do these things as penance for my suckitude.
Even as I write this, I’m doubting my worthiness for such an endeavor. I’m thinking, “If I can’t do this for myself, maybe I can at least do it for my kids so they can learn to be self-assured.”
While acting for my children’s wellbeing is a worthy pursuit, in this case I suspect that it’s yet another way of saying, “I’m not good enough, but my kids are. So I have a responsibility to act like I’m good enough as an example to them.”
I want more than that. I like doing things for my kids, but I think accepting myself as good enough simply for them is beyond my abilities. I need to do this one for myself, or I’m not teaching them the lesson I hope that they’ll learn.
When you’re feeling “not good enough,” what do you do to help remind you of your inherent self-worth? If you never have times when you feel “not good enough,” how on earth do you manage that feat?