Have you ever been told “you are more than that”? What exactly is that supposed to mean? Is it a compliment that means your abilities are unlimited? Or is it a criticism that you are not living up to your potential? Are you not enough just as you are?
“You are more than that.” Does it mean that you have stooped to a level lower than the person saying it considers you to be. They obviously expect more from you.
“You are more than that.” I think it’s been a long time since someone has actually said those words to me. I read them last week in a book and then ran across them again in an article I was reading. Crossing paths with those words twice within a couple of days made me ponder if I really am enough. It also made me wonder if I’ve ever spoken those words to someone else and how it made them feel if I did.
Do people use this line because we as humans set standards upon those we care about? Is it our right to define the guidelines of success for them? Other than moral issues, must they be expected to measure to any standards other than their own? I realize this set of questions will raise the ire of parents, as they think they have the right to dictate the path their grown children trod upon. As parents, we always think we know what is best. And very possibly, we do…but sometimes we have to watch people we love make mistakes. We don’t want our children to be underachievers, but we also don’t want them to live a life of unhappiness because they followed a path someone else chose for them. We don’t want to watch them squander their talents either. But are we entitled to make them pursue goals that cause them distress or that does not bring them fulfillment?
Why do people think it is our duty to nurture talent even if it is not what makes one happy? Do we owe it to others? Do we owe it to ourselves? If a simple unadorned life brings peace and happiness, isn’t that enough? Is the car we drive, the house we live in, or the clothes we wear really that important to our overall happiness? Whose right is it to define another’s success?
And better yet, how do we really know we have a talent and that it is not just an over inflated ego? Seriously, I know of people who think they excel at certain things, and I don’t think they’re that good at it. Is that just my opinion? Or is it their passion for the thing that makes them feel superior at it? And more so does it really matter whether or not we’re good at something if it brings us pleasure?
We spend large chunks of our lives trying to seek approval of others, to prove ourselves worthy. But worthy of what? Of other people’s standards of our own lives? We’re afraid of disappointing them, of becoming a failure by society’s principles.
Some of us are dream chasers. The problem is the more we get, the more we want. And some don’t desire material things or any sort of status at all. Is one right and the other wrong?
I have not cured cancer or invented some famous contraption. I have not written a best seller. I do not have a work of art hanging in any museum. You won’t find my photo or name gracing the pages of celebrity or society news. I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. I sing off tune and I look funny when I dance. ( …but boy does it feel good as long as no one else is looking!) I haven’t achieved any major goals…well, I don’t think I’ve ever really made any. Ok, I take that back – yesterday, my goal was to eat every last Hershey kiss in the house, and I was successful…so, now are you impressed?! My point is that I can look myself in the mirror (even after all that chocolate!) and feel good about most of the choices I make in life. I still second guess myself at times, but most of us do. So, the question “Am I enough?“ remains. And here is my answer: Just as I am from the inside out, deep down I think I am enough. And I think you are enough, too. I hope you think you are as well.