Ok, so welcome to video 5.
In this video, I’m going to be covering the area of being good enough. I’m also going to have a look at the expectations that we put upon ourselves and how we might and how we might be comparing ourselves with others. We’ll look at our personal philosophy, what influences that and the degree to which we can develop it for ourselves.
We’ll have a look at how to feel good enough without putting expectations of trying to be perfect and also when we have that belief that we feel good enough we can then shift our emphasis on being interested in others. Lastly we’ll look at how this is in relationships, how we maintain boundaries with those around us as a form of self care.
So being good enough. In our early years we need two basic foundations. The foundation of of feeling safe enough and the foundation of feeling that we’re good enough. And for whatever reason our early years may not have been ideal and we might have formed certain beliefs that we’re not good enough.
We compared ourselves to our brothers and sisters, maybe we’ve had a look at our friends, we’ve had messages coming in from our parents or teachers and we got some doubts on our sense of okayness. And this can be a source of anxiety because then we’re starting to worry about how others see us, will they accept us or are they going to reject us. And remembering what I said in earlier videos around belonging being an aspect of safety, then you can see that the risk of someone judging us negatively, the risk of someone or a group rejecting us can feel like a real threat and so they it can generate an anxiety.
So we might have coping mechanisms to try and manage how people see us. We don’t want them to agree with us that agree with us that we’re not good enough because that’s painful enough already. We want them to approve of us, so we might put other people first and negate our own needs.
We might try and come across as being perfect. We might avoid standing out from the crowd. But these come at a great cost. We’re running beliefs in the background that are influencing our perspective on the situation. But beliefs are not truths. They feel like they’re true but actually beliefs are our perspective on a situation. And we can change those if they’re not helpful for us. As we know, the cost of perfection, if we’re trying to be seen to be perfect at everything we do, it’s really going to limit us ultimately because it comes at a cost in time and effort, and stress.
Expectations and comparison. We seem to be really hard on ourselves. We seem to judge ourselves in a very critical way. Much less so than we would with others. So we might be putting expectations on how we should be in a situation. How it should be in terms of our behaviours, the way we look. Setting a very high bar. This is then is going to put pressure on us to try and achieve those. If we compare ourselves to others and you know social media and things like makes it worse – if we compare ourselves to others we’re setting up the risk that we feel that we’re not good enough.
There are always going to be others that are better than us at certain things – academic stuff, how we look, career, all these sorts of things. and it’s really putting our focus on things that we can’t control. Theodore Roosevelt here says that comparison is the thief of joy. Comparing ourselves to others then we’ll be pretty unhappy.
This can be built from childhood conditioning, we may have had messages coming in when we’re very susceptible to influence from parents or teachers could just be one teacher that says some comment and and then we took that in and we believed it. There may be something in our past where we feel a sense of shame or guilt, and all of these can be in the background for us in creating some sort of belief that we’re not ok. This is then going to cause us to have anxiety around any situation or event which may to point a finger at us not being good enough in some way.
Then we’ve got all the media, that contribute to comparison and expectations. And even the whole self improvement movement that has happened in the last 10 – 20 years. All the self-improvement books – I’ve got plenty of them here. They can set up a problem for us. I should be better. I should be this, I’m not there now and so therefore, I’m not good enough. So this is setting up a kind of feeling of lack of self acceptance of where we are.
What we want to get to is is the quality of being ok where I am now with compassion and I’m enjoying developing myself further. So it’s like being and becoming, rather than I’m not ok until I’ve got to this point. Or I look this way, lost this much weight – because there’s just going to make us unhappy.
Personal philosophy, where do we get our beliefs from? We are learning machines. In our younger years, we’re just taking on messages from parents from teachers, from society in general. This is how you should be, this is what you can do and can’t do, this is good. This is bad. You should be like this shouldn’t be like this. You can see it starts to become a rulebook for us. Then we use it to judge ourselves.
If we’re not maintaining certain expectations of ourselves, then we can be our own worst enemy. And we might audit our lives. Something in my past that I’m not happy about, which means that I’m not good enough, instead of being more gentle with ourselves and actually saying, OK well, I’m learning, I’m constantly learning, I learn through trial and error. I’m good enough. And what we can do, this is psychologically what can happen is, the bits we don’t like about ourselves, We put into our shadow. It’s like the bit that we don’t like. So I’ll try and hide that. But it’s still part of us. And actually that just wants to come back into being included in who are.
So if we can include our imperfections then we actually become more whole. It’s the idea of being perfectly imperfect – where we’re including and allowing ourselves to be imperfect and that’s good enough. And actually we’re starting to take ownership for our own philosophy and then saying well who says it should be done that way? Who says you should look like this? Who says? And that’s nice little challenge that you can you can do with yourself, ask yourself , well who says?
And of course the other thing is that rather than I need to be the best, maybe I just need to be in a good enough at this whatever it might be. That’s far more achievable and far more balanced. If you’re going to be the best in one area, another area of your life will have to compensate.
I want to really be the best at work then maybe I have to give up time with the family. Yeah, so understanding that we’re work in progress. That average is actually good, being normal, being perfectly imperfect. All of this will create a background for us where we’re not going to get so anxious about new situations and events.
We’re not going to get so anxious about being rejected, being judged negatively that can lead to anxiety. So with that quality of acceptance, That’s that’s being compassionate, that’s practicing self-compassion which activates the nurture system as I talked about in one of the earlier videos. So rather than being self-critical, we’re thinking thoughts of acceptance and inclusion of the different aspects of ourselves. Then what we can do is the whole worry about how we’re going to be judged by others starts to fall away. Social anxiety and worrying about being seen to be making mistakes, That starts to become less important, because we know that we’re good enough – we don’t need to be perfect. We’re fallible. We can make mistakes.
So then we can shift this emphasis onto being interested in others. And neurologically, when we put our attention on someone else. Imagine going to see a new group of people, and rather than being self-conscious, you say, I wonder who I will meet? And be interested in learning more about them. This will switch off the fight-or-flight system and it will move us into the nurture system.
One nice practice for this is something called a loving-kindness exercise which is sometimes called metta practice. This is all about moving into the nurture rather than the fight or flight system. There’s a nice movement is going on at the moment as well backed by research. Which is showing how important self-compassion is. There is a centre for mindful self compassion that has lots of free material on it which I’ll put a link to at the end of the course.
This whole emphasis on self-acceptance and gentleness with ourselves is powerful. This kindness exercise or metta practice what this involves is, this is something you can do standing up, sitting down or lying down. In a moment at work. What we do is we just tune into our heart area where we might have feelings of kindness.
We just focus on maybe a close friend or family or a pet if starting with ourselves is a bit difficult. We’re just breathing out and as we breathe out thinking about the other person, and just saying may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe and be at ease. Just a gentle, kind intention. And then we expand that out to others. Maybe other friends, family members and again saying May you be happy, be safe and so on. Then perhaps the person who serves you at your local corner shop so it just radiates out. That intention of loving-kindness. And then maybe someone you struggle with, someone you’ve got a difficult relationship with, just wishing them well.
As you do that, just imagine this flowing outward kindness. Just notice the feelings that come over you, you might be surprised. When we start to see people as an opportunity rather than a threat, a source of criticism potential criticism or they might reject us they might ostracise us from the group. But actually to connect with, to be interested in them, and that’s quite a shift. Suddently people can be something that that we look forward to enjoying and connecting with.
Because you can’t really live without other people. Some people might think that they can be independent and do everything on their own. Reality is, to live a fulfilling life we need to be having positive relationships with other people. And in that, we’re not doing things for other people in order to get their approval.
We’re enjoying connecting with others, but we still take responsibility for ourselves. We take responsibility for our own feelings, and we let others be responsible for theirs. and then hopefully you’re like me might We can be supportive but we’re not doing this this disempowering neediness of trying to please others. We respect others, we enjoy supporting others. But ultimately we let others take responsibility for themselves, and we take responsibility for ourselves.
This is a big topic and I’m going to do another course on this because it’s such an important foundation for us. Yeah, just checking in with what our beliefs are about ourselves? Can we be kind and accepting of our fallibilities. And are we good enough? So we’ve have a look at our expectations and how our philosophy can influence us. Have we chosen our philosophy or is it part of conditioning.
And if that is so, perhaps we need to have another look at it. and then once we’ve got this foundation of being good enough, then we can put the emphasis on others. And starting to enjoy relationships with others and connecting with them and doing that in a healthy way, so that we maintain boundaries. We can be supportive but we don’t jump in and try and rescue other people in order to get their favour.
All of this provides balance and and healthy self care. In the next video I’ll do a summary of the areas that we’ve covered so far, and have a look at how things are changing, the current trends that are influencing things and in modern life. And have a look at not needing to know how it’s all going to work out and the practice of leaning into life, in a way that involves balance and harmony and going with the flow.