Am I on the good-enough continuum?

Am I on the good-enough continuum?

Most of us feel good about ourselves when we have a high opinion about our skills and our performance. On the other side of the coin, we tend to feel bad about ourselves when we judge our skills or behaviour as not up to scratch.

What is the basis that we use for judging what is acceptable and what is not acceptable about ourselves?

Our western society is very competitive and we have learnt the importance of being better than others in order to get ahead: through schooling, employment, business, sport and politics, to name just some aspects of our lives.  Not surprisingly, our self-esteem has fallen into this competitive framework also, and so we have learnt to value ourselves by comparing our skills and performance levels to those of others. When we do this, it is normal to rate ourselves as better than others or not as good as others.

At the extreme ends of the good-enough continuum, we may see that we are either so much better than others (and be prone to developing an air of arrogance), or we may see ourselves as pathetic (and not want to get out of bed in the mornings).

The good-enough continuum means that I am always measuring my performance and my value. If I base my self-worth on comparing myself with others, I will always be caught in the bind of:

i)   setting myself above others; or

ii)  not being good enough

 Max Ehrmann expressed this predicament in his poem Desiderata:

“…If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself…”                                                                                                                                     

 I do not need to base my own approval rating on the good-enough continuum or on comparing myself with others. I can approve of myself right now, just as I am, right at this very moment – even if things are not great in my life. My self-esteem or self-worth is more profound and more real when it is based on my own self-acceptance.

 

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Comments

  1. I’m with you Marg – I know longer see any sense in comparing myself to others. I did it lost of my life and I robbed me of too much. Today my barometer is my own “good enough” stick. xx Thank you so much for sharing this

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