Lately I’ve been getting invitations to speak at both big conferences and small gatherings. My reaction has surprised me. I thought this is what I wanted—to be recognized and appreciated. But I’m finding there’s a difference between what I want and what I need.
Now that I’m getting what I wanted I’m not celebratory and proud. It simply feels natural. I’m being called to do something that I can do and I’m saying, “Yes, I will do that.” I’m being respons-ible, responding to the best of my ability. I’m grateful for the opportunity and glad to serve.
I’m wondering what happened to the me whose desires came from a feeling of dissatisfaction—not being good enough, not having achieved enough. The completion of one goal was met not with satisfaction, but by making a new goal. It was an endless road to nowhere. A friend once asked me, “When will you be satisfied?” I couldn’t answer. I could see no end to my seeking.
I thought my feelings were human—I wanted to be respected. I thought they were understandable—I have knowledge from experience to share. I even thought my feelings were noble—I wanted to be of service. These feelings are natural and good but I couldn’t see how my goals were always fed by a ravenous ego, like the appetite of my golden retriever. My reference to the golden retriever is a way of saying I wasn’t a bad person, just one constantly hungry. Now I’ve lost my hunger for things that look delicious but aren’t nutritious and don’t feed the soul. It seems alright to be where I am, that who I am is good enough.
When I was asked to talk at a big event on World Mental Health Day, October 10, I thought, “Why me?” With so many qualified people to talk about mental health, why should I be one of a few people chosen to speak as experts? Then I thought, “Why not me?” I’ve studied and practiced mental health care for many years, so I know something about it. But I realized that neither question is important—why me or why not me—the only important thing is to be me.
Not making comparisons, just being myself. Isn’t our destiny to become the unique person we were created to be? Maybe it’s that simple. And when we’re called to serve, we say Yes!
The feeling that we are not enough and need to change ourselves could lead to growth. But its very premise is that we’re not good enough--that’s why we need to change. So we’re never in a resting place where we’re feeling good about who we are and where we are.
But what if we’re already good enough. We can rest in that safe place for a moment. A little rest and then the world is full of work to do. And from that space may spring the life energy and will to change ourselves. We can see ourselves with compassion and give others the gift of seeing them as good enough. “I love you just the way you are!” Saying this to ourselves and others gives us a little relief and refuge from the storm.