When do we lose knowing we are 'good enough'?
Posted by Gay McKinley on April 17, 2016 . 1 Comment
I was sitting in my doctor's surgery recently where there is a huge blackboard and an endless supply of chalk for the endless supply of children in the waiting room.
A young child of around three was absorbed with drawing on the blackboard. There appeared to be no question that what he was drawing was a masterpiece. He was not concerned that people might be watching or, dare I say judging, what he was doing. He was drawing for the sheer pleasure of drawing. It was definitely good enough for him - as I assumed he was for himself. Good enough that is.
Another child came into the waiting room with her parent. She seemed very little in her oversized school uniform. I assumed she was around five. She wanted to draw on the blackboard also and asked her mother. Permission was readily given. But the freedom of the younger child was not there. She kept checking back with her mother for affirmation that what she was doing was okay - at the same time covering her work so no-one could see. She didn't think it was good enough.
There could be many interpretations for this scenario. My fantasy was that I was seeing the developmental loss of being good enough - just as we are.
And I started wondering exactly when do we shift from intrinsically knowing that we are good enough to knowing that we are not?
We are born good enough - what new born babe isn't? But somewhere along the line, for many of us, we lose that sense of self. We look outside of ourselves for affirmation of our 'good enoughness' - and it is never enough if we don't believe we are.
We can never find acceptance externally to ourselves. If I don't feel good enough myself, nothing you say can make any difference. Likewise, if I feel good enough, if I know that I am, nothing you say can take that away.
Maybe we should try recapturing our inner three-year old!