I grew up in a small Southern town where their were lines that divided people. There were the families of old money, the people trying to be in the ranks of old money, and then the have nots. Many of my closest friends were from the old money status. There were many times I was reminded, especially by the parents of these friends that I was not a part of that status. Although my dad was a community and state leader, we just were not from one of “those” families. Today in my hometown those lines have been blurred with the decline of the country, especially the middle class. Early in my life however, I had those moments of “Am I good enough?”
When I finally went off to college and left the “Big fish in a little pond” mentality, I decided I was indeed “good enough.” In fact I began to see the how ridiculous those lines were. The crazy notion of keeping people down because of some proclaimed birthright. Unfortunately, this still happens today in regard to race and religion. None the less, I began to hear from people close to me that “Things just weren’t good enough for me.” It was this little reminder, you are treading across the invisible line.
Shortly after college my boyfriend did not pick me up as planned, but stood me up. Later I found out, under the pressure of my Greek American boyfriend’s parents, he was not just standing me up, but ending the relationship. I was devastated and in tears. I called my mom to share my heartbreak. She made the hour drive in the early morning hours to my apartment to console me. She listened as I spilled out the pieces of my broken heart. Then she had had enough. She straightened me up and said, “ No man is worth this.” I never forgot the moment. It was a moment of realization…we let people hurt us…we rise above. We eventually got back together, but his parents would constantly tell his relatives, “She thinks she is too good.” I think what was really happening is the opposite. They were standing on the other side of the invisible line that I had felt growing up in my own hometown. The difficulty of being first generation parents in America and trying to cling to an identity that might melt away. We eventually were married and I have never been accepted into his family. I took my mom’s advice and rose above the constant attempt to make me feel less.
It is a funny thing to categorize people. My mom had many siblings. One day I invited her oldest sister out to lunch. I picked her up and took her to a small French cafe in the small college town where I lived. The lunch was lovely; fresh chicken salad over fresh greens from the garden. As we left the cafe and started returning to her home she said to me,” I like places like Ryan’s Steakhouse, but I guess you are too good for that.” I was stunned. Here I had taken the afternoon to spend time with an aunt and that line is drawn between us. She didn’t really think I was too good, she just didn’t feel good enough. Even so, I never forgot her words. Never forget, people use words to crush us.
My mom’s words kept coming back, “ No one is worth this.”
Throughout my life, I have heard the words of suppression. It is those words to hurt just enough to make me feel worthless. That feeling, that without self love can doom the spirit. Just last night my husband said to me “ Nothing is good enough for you.” For a brief moment the air left my chest. It was that old feeling I had felt many times before. But after years of hearing the “You are not good enough” by some and “It is not good enough for you” by others, I realize people are not speaking about me, but rather their inability to rise above.
The only people who make it in this world have to ignore the pain found in other people’s heart used as a tool to suppress the human spirit. Most people speak from where they are.
Today, the culture in America, is one of dividing lines. The lines are “The good enough” and “ The not good enough.” The president speaks from his own feelings of worthlessness. He constantly demeans others, because he hates himself. The problem that lies in this constant berating, humans often begin to question their self worth. They need someone to tell them…”No one is worth this.”
So I ask you, which side of the line are you on? Do you feel “ Good enough?” I beg of you, erase the lines that other people have drawn for you.
No one ever achieves their full potential when they listen to the negative chatter constantly thrown their way.
I am good enough and nothing is good enough, because I refuse to settle. I am unique in the world. I refuse to be a doormat of other people’s sorrow. To feel this way is not arrogance, but self love. Joy comes from feeling worthy. Self esteem knocks down the lines people draw for you. Because my vision of the world around me is just that…mine. To feel deserving in the world requires lots of love. Brian Andreas says it best…
Love YOUR life. Never feel it is necessary to defend your own journey called life…love the person you are.
Originally published at medium.com