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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Never Enough

You may or may not know that everything I write about in this blog comes from my life. One post may be something from my memories, followed by another very rooted in the present. There may be dreams and wishes scattered in between, or an example of the ravings that inspired my blog's name. What it all boils down to is that my experiences and thoughts drive what I write about in this blog. 

One of the things that I enjoy doing is interacting with other people on social media. No, it is not my life, but I enjoy sharing the world through others' words and eyes. These little intersections of their life with mine are sometimes the inspiration for what I write in these posts, and tonight is one of those occasions.

A few days ago, C updated the photo of herself on her profile. She said that the picture she had been using was out of date and she had decided to be brave and show a photo of herself as she really looks today. It was obvious from her words that she was nervous or uncomfortable about baring her skin, so to speak, and showing herself as she looks every day.

As I looked at the photo, I saw a woman with large and stunning clear eyes that showed her intelligence and depth of personality. Her delicate skin and restrained smile showed me a woman who has experienced the gamut of emotions and has learned, loved, laughed, worried, and cried. In short, she is a beautiful and genuine woman. I showed her photo to Trent and he said that she was a stunning woman. I obviously agreed.

As I skimmed through some of the comments on her post, I saw that we weren't the only ones who felt that way about her photo. She received comments that ranged from wildly inappropriate and salacious to offers of eternal devotion. The gist of the comments, whether serious or with tongue securely planted in cheek, was universal. Everyone who saw the picture found it pleasing. Everyone, that is, except C.

Although C was grateful and touched by the comments made to and about her, she wasn't able to internalize them. No matter whether it was from a man or a woman, whether it was naughty or nice, she still couldn't see herself as worthy of them. And it wasn't a case of someone who was saying she felt unattractive in order to solicit comments. I've seen that many times, and this wasn't what was going on here. She simply doesn't feel like she is enough.

Even though C at her worst would probably look much better than me at my very best, I can identify with her insecurities. It's something I've seen with most women all of my life. The demands and expectations that we feel we must live up to leave us feeling that we are never enough. We are never smart enough, or beautiful enough, or thin enough. We are not curvy enough or tall enough or young enough. The list goes on. We see our daughters and sons growing up to use the same standards that we despise for the pain that they have brought to us. But how can we tell them that they are enough when they see us feeling the very opposite about ourselves?

I have no brilliant answers. I can only hold hope for the future. If we can teach the growing generations that everyone is enough, maybe they can learn and take the knowledge forward with them. Maybe we can help them to realize for their lives what we are unable to do in ours, the simple powerful message that they are good enough. We can tell them that while we can understand it only intellectually we hope that they will believe it and live it in the very marrow of their bones. Maybe we can end the feeling of never being enough.

p.s. I know that these feelings of insecurity and inadequacy are not limited to women. All of us have the potential to be plagued by feelings that we are never enough. I hope that these feelings will someday become far more rare than common.