You hate being judged but it’s happening all the time.
You’re in a meeting or in front of a group of people. Everyone is looking at you. Your normally calm demeanor turns to anxiety and stress over possibly screwing up.
You’re in the presence of people you look up to – celebrities, higher up’s at work or people with more age and experience. You freeze up. Suddenly your inner child is running your mind, doing anything it can to seek approval.
You crave acceptance and approval and will do almost anything to get it.
Judgment is the opposite of acceptance and approval.
We judge others against our expectations and others do the same to us. We humans seem to have a hard time accepting people and environments as they are.
We judge everything as better or (more likely) worse that our expectations. This says something about how frequently our expectations are off base, yet we cling to them as “right.”
These judgments wreak havoc on our happiness.
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown
If things and people aren’t as we expect (and they usually aren’t), then we decide that we can’t be happy. That’s a sure-fire recipe for a lifetime of unhappiness.
What Is Enough?
We judge ourselves as not enough in so many ways. Not pretty, smart, tall, thin, rich, powerful, confident (you get the picture) enough.
What is enough anyway?
Who gets to decide what enough is and why should we listen to them?
For most of us, enough is never enough. We’re so busy trying to be something other than who and what we are in the present moment.
We constantly judge ourselves as not what we should be. As a result, we’re always striving for something else. Unfortunately, we have no idea what that “something else” is.
It’s time to slow down and define what enough means to us. Where are we headed so fast?
Nobody “out there” gets to decide what enough means for us. Only we can decide for ourselves.
And, until we decide, we’ll never be enough or have enough. Without a goal or end point clearly defined, our lives will be all about the chase with a constant uneasiness about “never getting there.”
If we don’t know where “there” is, we’ll never arrive.
Enough is Enough!
It’s time to end this race to nowhere.
Defining what enough means for us requires us to accept ourselves for who and what we are.
By creating an achievable destination, we’re agreeing that there will be an end to the striving for more and we’ll have to be content with things as they are.
Are you ready to do that? If not, why not?
If you are ready, can you decide that you’re there now? If not, why not?
Society programs us to believe that more, bigger and better is the goal and that this goal is never achievable. As soon as we get or become more, we’re supposed to get and be more on top of that. Where does it end?
I’m not saying that we should stop living, growing and experiencing all that life can offer. Not at all.
I’m suggesting that we stop judging ourselves as not enough. Stop killing ourselves to be something different. Instead, let’s enjoy the process of growing for its own sake instead of doing it to achieve an unachievable goal of what others think we should be.
So what if we’re not meeting someone else’s expectations? That person probably isn’t meeting their own expectations of themselves.
What will happen if we don’t get the complete acceptance and approval from the important people in our lives?
Answer: Our lives will be exactly as they are today.
Making New Choices
You can choose a lifetime of unhappiness and “not enough-ness” that goes along with seeking your own validation through other people.
Or you can know that happiness and enough-ness come when you accept and approve of yourself, without needing outside, subjective validation.
If this feels like a tall order for you, here’s a way to change your views and beliefs about all those people from whom you’re so desperately seeking approval, love and acceptance.
The next time you’re in their presence, look deeply into their eyes. Connect with them at a heart level.
Instead of looking at them as a thing on a pedestal, know that they are a human just like you with struggles and stresses and a longing to be accepted by people like you.
If they scoff at you or put you down in any way, they are simply acting out of their own fears and insecurities. They see you as a threat (yes, little old you). Feel compassion for them as they search for ways of dealing with their own fears.
Instead of focusing on yourself and how you might not know enough or be enough, simply shift your focus to others. Focus on what they may need. Focus on how you can approve of and accept them. Focus on how you can help them.
You Are Enough
Shifting your focus to others allows you to open your heart and mind to be more compassionate with others.
When you can accept others exactly how they are with no judgment, you’ll find it much easier to accept yourself and choose happiness in your own life.
Decide that you’re enough right here, right now, exactly as you are. Other people and more experiences can’t make you complete or enough.
Relationships and experiences will add many layers of richness to your life but can’t make you complete.
Grow, learn and achieve in order to serve others with your expanding gifts, not to strive for unattainable ideas of being enough.
Focus on all the gifts you currently possess that people love about you. Do what you can to grow those gifts.
Stop worrying about your weaknesses and all the places you see yourself as not enough.
Grow the gifted, strong parts of yourself in ways that feel good for you.
The world is waiting for you share your gifts.
You are enough.
Try the above ideas on for size. In the comments, let me know how you think they can impact your life.
Check out my latest guest posts!
I recently had the honor of being asked to write a guest post for the New Life Foundation.
New Life is an international mindful recovery community in Thailand for people who are suffering from addiction problems, stress, burnout, relationship issues or abuse. They provide a unique learning environment based on mindfulness and sustainable living where residents can learn to nurture and maintain their recovery. With support from the community and guidance from the staff, each individual develops their own action plan that enables them to discover their potential and develop a new healthy lifestyle based on mindfulness, truthfulness, responsibility and respect.
At New Life, everyone is connected by a common purpose and actively engaged in learning from each other: staff, residents and volunteers. This community provides the best possible environment for healing body and mind through a mindfulness practice, which forms the heart of the recovery program, nature therapy and a variety of group and individual activities.
Check out my post at New Life: You Are Not Your Emotions
Midlife Living Well has also re-posted Dealing With Difficult People. Midlife Living Well is a great resource for those of us in our midlife years. Check them out!