Is being a human being our problem?
I’m pondering this thought because I often see us trying so hard to improve ourselves; to better ourselves in one way or another. It would appear that we’re uncomfortable in our own skin. We seem to have a hard time sitting still and deeply appreciating who we are.
Just for the fun of it, I did a Google search this morning on self-improvement, and you know what, millions of other people did too. There are over 200 000 000 results when you search Google for what people want to improve about themselves.
Every day millions of people are asking the question, “How could I better myself in order to _____________?” (You fill in the blank)
This is probably why the self-help industry is booming; it feeds on the fears we hold on to about ourselves – the fear of not being good enough in one way or another.
Here are my top 5 search results on the topic of bettering your game:
- 10 Things Successful People Do Every Day…
- 42 Practical Ways To Improve Yourself
- 13 Ways Successful People Improve Themselves
- Confident People Never Do These Things
- 25 Things Influential People Do Better Than Anyone Else
So there you have it. If your career feels meaningless, if your spouse is simply a roommate and inner peace is just a fleeting fantasy, Google would tell you it’s because you’re not doing what “successful” people do.
“Get with the program already,” Google is telling you. All you need to do is read another article on the 10 Things Successful People Do and “sign up” for that seminar on improving yourself as a…
Just do it is the prevailing message.
Why? Because the underlying belief is that you’re not enough. And by attending another seminar, or reading another book, you might just learn the paint-by-number steps that will lead you to the Promise Land, and then, your life will be golden.
What a crock of BS!
Is this truly the answer to living a better life? Because if it were, there should be millions of us today that are feeling very good about ourselves. Our world should be overflowing with men and women who are thriving in their careers, marriages, families, communities.
But I don’t see it, and neither do you!
All we need to do is open our eyes to the world around us, the world within us, to know this is not the case.
But before we go any further, lets take a moment to address your religious heritage. If like me, you grew up in either a Protestant or Catholic community, guilt was spoon fed to you from the day you were born. Traditional religion is a great breeding ground for shame and guilt because it is rooted in the belief that we are not enough; we are “sinners” who are innately separated from our Maker.
We have been taught that we human beings created the problem, which can often leave us feeling like we are the problem. The Catholic and Protestant tradition can indoctrinate us with the need to be better; or, and maybe more accurately stated: Be saved!
Why? Because we human beings keep fucking up. We are defective, broken, and unworthy proclaims the voice of Christendom.
But before we start blaming religion for all our limiting beliefs, our culture also does a bang-up-job on fueling the fires of scarcity and fear within us too. How many tv shows and movies fixate on the theme of you and I needing a savior, a hero of some kind to rescue us from our despairing state?
Hundreds? Thousands? Maybe Millions?
And if that’s not enough, every waking moment of the day the Media feeds us with images of what it looks like to be a Success, and what it looks like to be a Failure.
And trust me, you don’t want to be seen as a Failure, do you!
So what do you do?
Honestly. What do you do when you feel like you’re not enough? When the ground beneath you feels like it’s giving way? When you feel lost in a world of meaninglessness?
Take a moment right now to be honest with yourself. This is your time. You owe it to yourself to be real.
Ask yourself: “What do I do when I feel like I’m not ______________ enough?”
Lean into this question. Don’t run away from it. Maybe today is the day you’ll discover that there are a number of things you do when you feel powerless – feel like you’re not enough. And remember, you’re not alone. There are over 200 million us who do all kinds of crazy things to escape the feelings associated with fear and shame.
But this I promise you: thriving as a human being will not be found in attending another seminar on self-improvement. It won’t be found in another person, lover, or child. It won’t be found in an expensive sports car, a secluded cottage on the lake, or a significant raise in pay. It simply won’t.
The treasure that you and I are so desperately searching for is always just a breath away; it’s already within us. Maybe it’s time to start honoring and celebrating our humanity and our so called “imperfectness.”
Today’s Unitas Project:
- A short meditation by author Madeleine L’Engle, from her book, Glimpses of Grace: “To be human is, yes, to be fallible. We are the creatures who know, and we know that we know. We are also the creatures who know that we don’t know. When I was a child, I used to think that being grown up meant that you would know. Grown-ups had the answers. This is an illusion that a lot of people don’t lose when they grow up. But our very fallibility is one of our human glories. If we are fallible we are free to grow and develop. If we are infallible we are rigid, stuck in one position, as immobile as those who could not let go the idea that planet earth is the centre of all things.”
- Something to ponder.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
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