Here's the intro chapter, including a meditation.
'Good Enough' as Tacit Rejection
There must have been a time I yearned for validation. Ached for words that gave the sense of being OK, of being lovable, of being acceptable: “Wow, Markie, that’s amazing!” Or better still, “You’re amazing!”
And instead heard, “That’s not good enough. You can do better.”
Code words I experienced as “You’re not good enough.”
- A sense of defining my value by the approbation of those around me, regardless of relationship or qualifications.
- An orientation towards noticing what wasn’t quite right yet, rather than seeing and celebrating what WAS right.
And, finally, like most of us, I learned to hold the phrase ‘good enough’ as meaning anything but. “That’s good enough” wasn’t a signal to pause and celebrate. Instead, what it really meant was, “Well, that’s probably the best you can do. I suppose if we must, we can settle for that. Too bad.”
Is the phrase ‘good enough’ like that for you? A grudging acceptance of the mediocre? Heavy with the energy of failure, focusing on an abstract perfection rather than the good that’s been created? A view that ignores the journey to get to that moment, and the potential of moments beyond?
Are you willing to try an experiment?
Try the exercise in the sidebar below. Or, if you’d prefer to hear it as a guided meditation, get some paper and a pencil, and click below:
Meditation: Innocence and 'Good Enough'
You can recall what it felt like to experience that innocence. What you saw when you looked at the world around you. What it was like to experience hearing others. Perhaps even the things you said to yourself. Pause and allow that to sink in.
Now, complete these sentences:
As a child, when I heard that something I did was ‘good enough,’ my mind interpreted that to mean [write the first thing that comes]:
As a child, when I heard that something I did was ‘good enough,’ my heart felt that as meaning [write the first thing that comes]:
When I tune into the phrase ‘good enough’ now, the energy it holds for me now is [write the first thing that comes]:
When I tune into how I feel now about the phrase ‘good enough,’ what I’d rather experience instead is [write the first thing that comes]:
For me, and for most people who’ve tried this exercise, there’s something like sadness, hurt, and frustration. Perhaps anger. Maybe even some shame.
Why is this simple phrase, ‘good enough’ so present and so powerful?
Why does the phrase so often have the opposite impact to what the words literally mean? That when we hear ‘good enough’ it actually means ‘not good enough?’
And wouldn’t you love to experience ‘good enough’ in a way that allowed you to applaud what you’ve already accomplished? A phrase that invited celebration? An opening to choicefulness—freely choosing to stop and devote energy elsewhere, to continue improvement now, or simply to pause and see? A way to invite peace and repose?
But what if ‘perfection’ and ‘good enough’ actually crave to be partners? That the same joy and sense of accomplishment we yearn for in “That’s perfect” could actually be present in “That’s good enough?” That by allowing celebration of the ‘good enough,’ not only do we open ourselves to a greater experience of joy and self-love, we also create more potential for the beauty and aesthetic we seek in the ideal?
- the stronger our stride towards perfection becomes, and…
- the more nourishment we realize in our life journey!
Welcome to The Perfection of ‘Good Enough.’
You’re already on your way to lovingly accepting where you are at this very moment… and marrying it to your ideals.