What makes someone good enough for you? What makes you good enough for someone else? Is it social standing? The neighbourhood in which they live? The number of children they have? The number of piercings or tattoos, colour of their hair, clothes they wear, the kind of friends they have? Is it how they spend their time?
These are all pretty flippant questions on the face of it. And all just examples of how people are judged by others. In my opinion, the defining factors are how the person treats you, makes you feel, and how they treat others, particularly their family.
I’ve known some people who appear to have it all. They have a nice house in a lovely neighbourhood, well tended garden, two cars on the drive, multiple holidays (domestic and foreign) every year. BUT they’ve had no compassion, no consideration for other people, for those less fortunate than themselves: they’ve made assumptions about how and why people live the way they do without bothering to find out the facts. I’ve also known some people who appear to have nothing. They have several jobs, just to make ends meet. They live in social housing, surrounded by others in a similar boat, though all the stories are different. They have failed relationships behind them, some with children as a result. BUT they are the most caring, most thoughtful people around. They’ve skipped meals in the past so their child could eat, or so their child has warm clothes to wear in winter. Their focus at home is in making sure their children are safe and warm, sometimes to their own detriment, and in making sure that those around them know every day how much they are loved, appreciated and cared for. They spend their spare time volunteering with mentally or physically ill people. They give a little of their meagre income every month to charity for the homeless or for children in need of help, even if it means they have less for themselves.
When I look at these two extremes, I know I’ve lived in the first one for much of my life. I slowly came to realise that that wasn’t enough for me, that I wasn’t happy. Material goods and surplus cash to spend on things like cigarettes and alcohol were not an indicator that I was a worthy, good, person. It strikes me that they were signs of the opposite.
I’m now making a concerted effort to be a better person, by helping others in need, by raising awareness of things like mental health, domestic abuse, poverty etc. My life partner and step children think that I’m more than good enough, and I want to show them every day that I deserve their good opinion.
When I see someone sitting begging in the street, I want to be one of the few that stops to make sure they’re OK, rather than ignoring them and passing them by. I want my actions to mirror my thoughts and words, to make a difference in people’s lives. In short, I want to be “good enough” for those who appear to have nothing, but who in reality have everything that makes them worthy of our highest respect. I challenge you to do the same.