Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Good Enough

Why can’t I just be good enough?

Over the past two weeks, it seems like there was a recurring theme among friends or people I know. That theme was entitled, “Reasons why I don’t like Eric, why I’m not happy with Eric, or why Eric isn’t good enough.”

As if I didn’t have my own insecurities to answer those questions myself, I have to hear it, sense it or realize it from others? I can’t win . . . .

Last week I felt that a local GCN’er was attacking my leadership. I took it very personally and our conflict escalated to the point of needing a friend to mediate. We ended up reconciling earlier this week but it still revealed that he was quick to assume the worst of me. Am I the kind of person that makes it easy for people to think ill of me? Am I wrong in thinking that I’m generally a good person to follow?

Over the busy weekend, I had a conversation with someone I had been kinda seeing (in a way) several months ago. We’re friends now and everything is fine but because circumstances had changed since the last time we decided it was best to just be friends, I inquired if he still had residual feelings for me. He responded by saying that he was content with just being friends. Now don’t get me wrong, I totally value his friendship and I’m not at all suggesting that I want more than that. Really, it doesn’t! I know we’re not “a match”. But in responding to me, he didn’t actually say whether or not he still had feelings for me (which led me to assume that he didn’t) and he didn’t give me any other indication as to why. When we decided to simply be friends, he went through a season of indicating that he wasn’t looking for a relationship. Now he’s dating and it just leaves me wondering, ‘why wasn’t I good enough?’ Am I wrong in thinking that I’m a catch?

On Sunday night, I had a phone conversation with a friend (who is interested in me, as it turns out). I was frustrated because I felt like he was judging me for not “going to church”. Boy, now that was definitely poor timing to have that conversation with me. That day, I was dealing with someone attacking my leadership, I was reminded by a former interest that there is no longer interest, it was a long weekend of being around people, and I had just found out that my uncle died. After a day like that, this friend wanted to tell me that I wasn’t keeping the Sabbath holy because I didn’t “go to church”. I felt like he was attacking my spirituality – my walk with Christ, my faith. Clearly, he doesn’t understand nor share my paradigm of “Church”. Am I wrong in thinking that my faith is not measured by my attendance at a Sunday service but rather by the state of my heart on a daily basis?

Yesterday two friends of mine thought it necessary to tell me about things they didn’t like about me in the past. Granted, it was all in fun and in jest and it came from a place of comfortable friendship. I know, this one seems like a small issue but one of the friends (whom I love and I consider a close friend!) told me that he wasn’t fond of one particular photo of me that I had been using as an avatar. I recently changed it and that’s when he thought it was safe to tell me that he really didn’t like that other picture. LOL, I know it’s silly and I’m okay with his statement on the surface, but I kinda liked that picture of myself (that’s why I used it) and so I was left wondering what else do people not like about me that they are just holding back? Another thing that this friend told me was that last year he thought I was a phony simply because I gave him a hug goodbye even though we hadn't talked to each other during the conference we were at. Can't I give strangers hugs? Does that make me phony? I thought the hug itself was a friendly gesture but apparently, at the time, it wasn't enough!

The other friend (who lives in another state) told me that he didn’t like me last year because I neglected him at a conference but from my recollection, I was connecting with him in some ways and also being friendly. I know they are both my friends now, and that’s what’s important. I also know that these two friends have a tendency of being a bit "catty". They were just judging me unfairly. But it causes doubt in me and makes me wonder if I have this false perception of myself of being a nice guy or a decent looking guy or that I’m a generally likeable guy and I’m simply oblivious to the fact that I’m not?

What’s the deal here? Why can’t I just be good enough?

Don’t worry, I’m not completely a basket case over all this. My self-esteem isn’t entirely dependent on what other people think of me. But I’ve got to be honest with the fact that other people’s opinion of me as a person and of my character does shape my self-esteem. The perception of rejection does feed my insecurities.

At the end of the day, I believe in the power to choose. I can choose to either have a tough skin, a sensitive heart, or a broken spirit about all of these things. I’m trying to approach it all with humility but can’t we do all this after my uncle’s funeral?


Mark said...

I read your blog via LJ rss syndication so I only post comments when something really grabs me.

First thing: no one gets to pass judgement on your spiritual journey -- especially as intentionally as you walk it. No one. People who feel like they need to speak into your life in that regard, unless they've been specifically invited to do so by you, aren't worth a whole lot of neural activity.

One of my favorite biblical concepts is the notion of "in the fullness of time". That's used to discuss when it was appropriate for Jesus to be born. It has facets of meaning: when all the threads come together, when the fruit is ripe, etc.

In the fullness of time, the right person and you will connect. Keep your heart open; don't make matters of the heart adhere to any timetable and let what happens happens.

You *are* a catch. That's an unassailable fact. Rest in that and let what happens happen.

Blessings and good wishes,

Steve said...

WOW! Eric...two poignant posts in a row that I have to comment on!

I really identify with your experiences...although mine have been due to a pretty nasty breakup in the last 3 months. In fact, I have an e-mail to my ex, which I haven't sent, still in my "drafts" folder. It details all the ways that he made me feel.

His rejection was pretty devastating. One rule of thumb that helps me is that truth that we generally treat others as we see ourselves. And we also treat ourselves as we see ourselves.

So, I learned that some of what he did was because of where he was in life. And some of what I perceived he did was because of where I was in life.

All this to encourage you. I realized after going through the last 3 months that I am a good guy. I'm honest and truthful and have integrity. And there is someone out there that's right for me. It just wasn't this guy.

The same is true for you. You've impacted more people than you know with your transparency and willingness to be open. Sometimes that backfires when people are insecure themselves in the face of such openness.

Don't lose your generous and loving spirit.

You're a blessing to me!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm ready to hop on a plane and open up a can of whoop ass on these people! WHO the HELL do they think they are????

Eric, you are MORE than Good Enough. I knew that the minute we met. You ARE that nice, you ARE that kind. I felt like I'd known you forever, and actually cried when we drove back home because I felt that strong of a connection, and dangit you live in California.

I don't know what bug has crawled up people's butts lately, but they have NO right to take it out on you. And anyone who is treating you this way is NOT a friend, and not acting in a way that would make Jesus proud.

I know I felt like there was something wrong with me for a very long time. Why wasn't I pretty enough/smart enough/etc. And then God gave me GoalieMan.

You know about my chronic illnesses--they keep me out of church *alot*. And like me, no one has the right to judge your heart or your faith in God simply by going to a building. You walk more in step with Jesus than most people I know. I am proud to be your sister in Christ.

And you know I think you look like a hottie in your photos ;)

Hang in there sweetie. I know your heart is hurting and that I can't be there in person to back you up, but I love you. I'm praying for you right now that you find peace within yourself through this difficult time.

You've got my number, don't be afraid to use it ;)


David said...

Yikes Eric, so sorry to hear that things have been rough for you relationally. I know this is a natural result of being open and willing to form these relationships in the middle of a world still not fully the world God would like it to be. There's no way around this sort of thing. (Sucks.)

That said, you seem to be handling it very well, in humility and yet without giving others' words free reign over you. There are plenty of folks who think well of you, and that I hope is a comforting thought. :)

Hope you are better and reassured soon. God bless.

Jack Kiefer said...


I know this post is about two weeks old now, but I wanted to comment anyway.

You're a wonderful guy, and God willing, you are going to be the most amazing gift in some lucky guy's life down the road.

I pray that you never allow these frustrations and hard times to turn you away from the sweet, caring, leading, honest person I've gotten to know.

- Jack