My red-haired friend from Grad school calls me. The one who is a writing sister and who encouraged me to teach English, like she did.
She had just had her 60th birthday.
“Why?” she asks, “Do I still feel like I am still a little kid who hasn’t yet figured out life or even gotten her life together?”
I am not sure what to say. This is my friend who when we chat we always laugh more than be serious. We even end up laughing about serious things. Like her husband divorcing her for a younger woman, or me lying in bed for months with a broken back. Not because these things were funny, but because it relieved our stress and cushioned the hardships of life. And because for a moment we glimpse hope and the end of the thing.
She is about 30 years older than me. I can only imagine a time when my children are grown and retirement is in the not too distant future.
“I always imagined that by this age I would quit making mistakes and be wiser. That I would have arrived and be good enough.”
I try to comfort her. “We never fully arrive,” I tell her, “Well not until we leave this life. Or what would we have to look forward to? Why would we need to keep growing? Keep living and learning?”
“And you are good enough,” I tell her. “Perfectly good enough. Even now with all your imperfections.”
I am not sure if it comforted her, but by the time we got off the phone my checks were hurting from laughing so much.
Stop defining your worth on your actions.
Can you relate?
Are there days you think you are not good enough. Haven’t arrived enough. Are still making too many mistakes and ruining things? Are spinning your wheels and are never going to get where you want to arrive?”
I imagine we all do.
Because we have this little voice in our heads keeping track of our progress. Keeping track when we make a mistake. Letting us know when we fall behind of the expectations we have for our self.
We have an accuser that likes to turn a big thing into an elephant. And a little thing into a out of control Ferris-Wheel.
It starts young. Us wondering if we are good enough.
It can pop up at different times, but I notice it pops its ugly head up especially after I have made a mistake. Done something silly, something not wise, something that will now slow me down. Maybe something that will make me look foolish in the eyes of someone. A mistake others may get angry over. A mistake I am angry over.
Years after my red-haired friend calls, my one digit son is verbally beating himself up for some mistake. “Stop,” I tell him. “Beating yourself up and doubting yourself won’t change the past.”
“Why can’t I be good enough?” he asks.
And I know what he is asking. Why can’t I do everything right? Why can’t I be good enough to not screw up? To not make mistakes?
But none of us can join that category in this life. We are all crazy, complicated, and wonderful humans who make mistakes and learn and grow. It is called life.
None of us has it all together, no matter our age.
I pull him on my lap. “You may not feel good enough, but you are. You are perfectly good enough just the way you are.”
Mistakes do not define you.
Do you believe that? That you are perfectly good enough the way you are? Good enough sometimes being a code word for ‘loveable.’
That mistakes do not define you?
Let me ask you this. When you pet is jumping up and annoyingly excited, do you still love him?
When your child with your eyes does something you dislike, would you say they were not good enough?
When your mate forgets to call and say he will be late, are you ready to throw in the towel and declare he is not good enough?
No. Of course not. We don’t declare our loved ones not good enough based upon their actions. We love others flaws and all, and they love us back, flaws and all.
There were times when my little children were misbehaving and I needed to discipline them and I would look at them and they would be so darn cute and precious, my heart would about melt and cause me to blubber with joy and love for them.
Just because they were doing something they were not supposed to do did not make them good enough in my eyes and heart.
They may have felt not good enough, but they still were.
Words are important to my son. So after that day I tried to tell him at off times of the day, when he was doing good or had just made a mistake or was feeling down, that he was my perfectly good enough son.
We need to tell ourselves the same thing when we feel the opposite.
I am perfectly good enough.
Did you know that God thinks we are perfectly good enough. Right now. He will love you no matter what. There is nothing I can do to make him love me more or love me less.
If we can love our best friends, children, mates, and others when they are both good and bad, making wise choices and making mistakes, our God is capable of so much more. He sees us as good enough because we are his. Just like we see our children differently than other kids all because they are ours and we are vested in them. Concerned about them. Understand them. They are bone of our sweat.
Quit beating yourself up. Quit doubting you are good enough. Because you are.
Consign the accusing voice to the time out corner.
We are good enough, because our worth does not come from our actions or what we say and do.
We are good enough because He says we are good enough.
Our job is to believe him.
Join the Discussion: Why do you think we mistake our worth?
Turn Your Children’s Mistakes into Learning Opportunities
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Earlier posts in this series:
Yay for Mistakes! Part 1; What do You Do?
Yay for Mistakes! Part 2; How to Respond
Yay for Mistakes! Part 3; Responding to Our Children’s Mistakes
Yay for Mistakes! Part 4: How to Let Our Children Make Mistakes and Fail
Yay for Mistakes! Part 5; Quieting a Myth of Mistakes
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