All of us it seems, have two voices in our head.
The critical nudge who insists we’re never enough, that we find a new job or new relationship or lose weight or parent better, that we make more money or more homemade, that we donate, volunteer or wipe away more piles of meaningless dust.
It doesn’t matter how this critical voice got hold, whether our mother or father or 8th grade math teacher or failed business or best friend or partner convinced us until eventually we believed the lies.
It only matters that we push away our critic or we’ll never feel enough despite mounds of every day evidence of our built-in born with it spectacular.
Our other voice is a gentle whisperer who insists that whatever They think or whatever we haven’t done doesn’t matter.
What matters is this: the small pile of unannounced good we do daily that is more powerful than our imperfections and anger and fear and failures.
Maybe on Monday we made our child laugh until she fell down and on Saturday without a thought we smiled at a stranger on the sidewalk who looked dazed and distant. And for some unknown reason we hugged our rigid teen and tabled our righteous get-your-act-together anger.
Maybe on Thursday we softly spoke up for a friend who wasn’t around to defend herself and or we let a lady cut in front of us at the grocery store, sucking in our justified fury and breathing out stubborn grace.
If we pay attention despite the noise of our day, if we reflect on our gratitude for not only what we receive daily but for what we give, we begin to notice that we do more than merely ‘do no harm,’ we make a positive impact on people because we somehow sense that if we need to feel joy and hope, or at the very least not dreadfully alone, so must everyone else.
When we realize that we make a difference in small but significant ways that add to the good emotions of someone’s else’s life and that the accumulation of these good emotions very much has a ripple effect, we begin to know that we are indeed, enough.
In a world with viral images of airbrushed perfection, with wars and global devastation and mean politics and pedophile priests and top 10 lists of hard bodies and high bank accounts and posts ripe with lives that seem to shine brighter than ours, the accolades and applause from our internal cheering section sometimes fade to the background.
Instead of accepting ourselves as Original Sinners who chronically miss the mark lets notice our Original Perfection, times when we hit the bulls-eye of grace and care and compassion, times when we held our tongue with near impossible patience. Maybe then we do good from our gut rather than from falling-short-of guilt which sometimes leaves drumming sounds of never-enough.
I know of people who can’t write checks to charity or can’t find time between kids, jobs, colds, cooking and a few hours of sleep to volunteer but they give their patience and ask “How are you?” to the stressed out cashier or somber man standing alone in the corner at the business meeting who seems awkward and alone.
It is perhaps, our kinder gentler voice we need to acknowledge more often, our benevolent hidden messenger who nudges us to notice that we’re adding to the world rather than subtracting, the voice who reminds us that we’re leaving soft footprints of radical quiet goodness along our path.
This is enough.