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  • Writer's pictureAlastar Connor

Our lens is broken.

One of my “hobbies” is reading about people’s pain and offering my thoughts.

After several years of reading, I’m starting to see how we are all connected.

We sit in our own minds looking out at the world. We ruminate on our past and project it into the present. I am not enough. I have not done enough. I have not succeeded enough. I have not come far enough. We see our potential and then we judge ourselves for not achieving it. We judge those that raised us for not giving us the solid base we needed or modeling the skills that would have served us. We look at our patterns that we play over and over and get mad at ourselves for not breaking out of them. We hate the time we have wasted. We hate our lack of direction or our one-sidedness when we focused too heavily in one area. When we look out at the world around us, we see everyone else being enough, doing enough. We interpret the world through the lens we are looking through.

Yet, as I read…it seems there are more of “us” in the world than there are “them.” If I read hundreds of these thoughts and confessions every single day…maybe we are actually all feeling this. Maybe all of “them” on the outside feel exactly like you do, on the inside.

Whenever I judge myself, I consider my children. We are always kinder to our children, more full of grace for them, more unconditionally loving of them, than we are of ourselves. Do I want to raise my children to think that they didn’t do enough, didn’t succeed enough? That some amazing accomplishment is what makes them worthy, special, and successful?

No. I want them to find happiness. Happiness is not in constantly measuring ourselves against a scale of enough.

In reading, I also see how little we give ourselves credit for. I coached over 100 women in a class that I took. I listened to their stories. Amazing stories of growth, triumph, value, and worth. I was guiding them professionally, and yet what I heard over and over, was women who were giving their power away. They felt they needed someone to stand beside them in order to feel good enough. They felt that the assessment of people they deemed as more powerful, was truth. They doubted their own talents, bravery, and value. They lived in stories that other people wrote for them. They lived inside old stories that were no longer true. They were lacking a mama to see the beauty in them and mirror it back. They lacked someone reading back to them the story that is actually there, the reality that is absolutely good enough.

When we do ourselves the injustice of misreading our own lives and worth…when we spend more time berating ourselves than living, we show our children that this is the way. We teach them that when we tell them to value themselves, and the beauty we see in them, we are lying. “Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t work.

It is time to focus more on appreciating ourselves than striving for success. The messages I’m often seeing now are, “If you want to break out of the patriarchal system, you need to step into earning wealth” and “You are in control of your own success…if you change your thoughts, you will become more successful.” As much as this can be true, it puts us in a place of self-judgment yet again. If I am not successful, it is my fault.

What if that is not the truth? What if you are not broken? What if you are not unsuccessful?

What if you are already successful and the measuring stick of success is what’s broken?

Money is a capitalist measurement. A patriarchal measurement. Externally validated accomplishments, degrees, titles…all patriarchal measurements.

Can you shift your lens to SEE? I see you. You are beautiful and worthy right now. Your life’s work is already being written. Your story is amazing because it is real and true. Stop measuring against the grandiose, the press release, the bank balance, the brand name, the resume, the international acclaim.

Your every day. The people in your world. Your little corner of life. Every moment you put your little mark on time passing. The words that come out of your mouth. The hand you place on a shoulder. The call you make. The text you send. The email, the paycheck, the photo, the ride, the kiss. They matter. You matter. THAT is success. That IS enough.

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