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They think, therefore I am?



Most of us were raised with the idea that to be a good person, you have to be a good friend, son, girlfriend, parent, colleague, employee, and so on. Haven’t our parents encouraged us to hang out with the good student in school? Haven’t we been compared to the best colleague in the office?


The danger in that is that our value of how good we are, is directly pegged to somebody else’s perception of you.


That leaves little room for what we do for ourselves that makes us better in that role. For example, a mother going to the gym won’t automatically be pegged to her being a good mother, even though she may be creating the capacity for her to be one. Instead, she may be seen as a selfish, self-centred person who puts herself before her children.


How do we break this?


We can’t change how others choose to see us. Despite our best efforts to be “good” in other’s eyes, we will always be “not good enough” to someone else. And it’s not just our performance. But our lifestyles too are at the mercy of judgment, not thin enough, not busty enough, too tall, dresses too cheap and the list goes on.


But what CAN you change?


The way around this then, is to unapologetically do the things that help create room for you to be better in your other roles. Create room for yourself to just be. Take the holiday, eat the cake, don’t work overtime tonight. If you know you can please the world, the only opinion that really matters is yours. The only approval you need is yours.


As we pay attention to and recognise the human needs behind the role, we normalise not just our needs but everyone’s needs. A father gaming late at night, an employee taking regular days off, a daughter spending time with her friends. If we allow ourselves and the people in our lives to do things they need to for themselves, we are allowing them to create room for us too. In time, this may create a culture of social tolerance instead of unnatural perfection, we become tolerant of being human. Wouldn’t that be something.


Written by: Charmaine M.

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