09 Oct Good Enough
In a class I was teaching recently, we dealt with a chapter and subsequent classroom discussion on the subject of human attraction. The students all wanted to know the secret of how to be attractive to others. So we talked about studies that show the effects of facial symmetry and waist to hip ratio on human attraction. We looked at research that says we are generally more attracted to those that are more rather than less similar to ourselves in terms of age, background, religion, economic history, and even level of familial dysfunction (there’s another blog in that one right there!). We talked about catching someone’s eye, courting rituals, the evolution of self-disclosure, and all sorts of stuff. I must say, this particular lecture/discussion was one in which it seems everyone was really paying attention!
Then I watch TV and see how certain images are used to sway the public and convince us of our attractiveness if we only look a certain way, act a certain way, or use a certain product. I can’t decide if we are better off emulating how the Kardashian’s look or how the Dance Moms act. Are we more attractive with a Sprint phone, a Budweiser, or a criminal record? Apparently you can make a case for all these.
There is an underlying and ultimately manipulative message that has for many years been shoved down our throats from almost every quarter. The message is that you on your own, who you are, what you do, where you live, how much money you make, and how you look clearly is not good enough.
So when I see you in therapy, you are asking me why you are not lovable. “What is it about me that makes me so insignificant that no one sees how I suffer? What is it about me that causes everyone to leave?” I’m not going to offer a cliché here and try to convince you in one sentence that you are an inherently worthwhile human being who is worth loving (though I do believe that!) but I am going to tell you that there are a lot of people who are asking the same questions. To all of you, I ask you to reach out. Get some help. Discover that you really are good enough because, sadly, until you believe it doesn’t matter what I believe.