“The Goldilocks principle states that something must fall within certain margins, as opposed to reaching extremes. The Goldilocks principle is derived from a children’s story “The Three Bears” in which a little girl named Goldilocks finds a house owned by three bears.”
It always amazes me how, even at an early age, we learn and inherit these beliefs or ideals about what it takes to fulfill certain things in life. To get to the next grade, we must pass all our classes. To grow strong and healthy, we must eat all of our food. To get a good job that pays well, we must go to college or a trade school. We drink the Kool-Aid and believe every bit of it! And the moment we stick to the book or standard set for us and things don’t go as planned it leaves us…shocked to say the least. I remember the first time in elementary school where I went over and beyond on a science project. Let’s just say I had all of the bells and whistles! I was the smartest in my class and just knew that the first place trophy was mine. I laid in my bed the night before envisioning my name on that trophy and knew confidently in my heart that I would win. Well to my surprise, there was another student that worked just as hard, with louder, brighter bells and whistles that wowed the judges to a unanimous vote.
Long story short, that student won. I still, till this day get agitated at those judges, just thinking about it. PEH-TEE! I know. I can only imagine what it will be like when I have children of my own. **Face in palm. Nonetheless, that was my first introduction to the feeling of not being “enough.” So often our lives revolve around a standard of society’s ideals of excellence in everything we do- standards of being a good friend, student, mother or citizen. It’s what drives many of us to work harder for the sheer fulfillment of knowing that we have met or exceeded the expectations others have of us. However, what makes it complicated is when we’ve put our best foot forward, while trying to remain our authentic selves, and it still falls short or not within the parameters at least to those whom which we seek to be validated from.
I am yet still intrigued by an interesting conversation I recently entertained with an older man regarding the level of engagement a woman should have initially, when dating. The conversation began with him explaining why he feels that it as a disadvantage for a woman to have sexual relations with a man too soon as it may intensify emotion from the woman causing her to interact differently with the man. “Interact differently…how?” I asked, in the most sarcastic tone. He responded politely, “as a woman’s emotion intensifies she begins to have expectations of the man-expectations he may not be ready to commit to.” As I nodded with an understanding, I too recalled an instance where I could relate.
I decided to challenge him by asking, “let’s say a woman was already aware of that knowledge from her own past experiences and instead is a bit more guarded with men not only physically, but mentally. She doesn’t call you routinely every day. She is focused on her current endeavors and seems to maintain just enough communication to show interest. She is someone that you must pursue in order to catch and retain her attention.”
He responded, “I can respect that, but here is the deal. If she doesn’t engage with me enough I am going to interpret that as her no longer interested and/or serious about getting to know me. However, if she does too much, there is a good chance it will run me away. I know it sounds complex, but that’s just the way it is.”
As I dismissed myself from the conversation with the most puzzled look on my face, I pondered long and hard about how complicated men AND women can make dating. In a world that teaches us that things are either black or white with a logic that “if I do this….it will grant me that” we find ourselves struggling in situations where we still don’t seem to be “enough” – enough to please others, enough to land the job, enough to get the ring. There always seems to be a grey area, or ambiguous space that doesn’t spell out what IT is that’s missing.
Truth of the matter is, regardless of how granular and strategic we are with obtaining the things we desire, if it’s not meant to be- it just won’t be! Sometimes the answer is not always in black and white, especially when it comes to dating, careers, health or success. If that was the case, we wouldn’t have nearly half of our current struggles when trying to obtain things in life. And if we live our lives consumed with impressing and finding validation from these “goldilocks” men OR women, we will drive ourselves crazy! Authenticity and effort go a very long way, but understanding that some things are out of your control will give you an abundance of peace and free you from the stress of society’s standards.
Never forget that you ARE enough, just be YOU boo.