Margins: What They Tell Us A
About Feeling Inadequate
In our times, many people feel that they’re just not good enough. They don’t measure up to others. They feel inferior. They feel like a failure. In some cases, they feel violated.
Usually, the feelings are caused by our environment. They could be imprinted from home, school, work, friends, rivals, or simply the circumstances surrounding our souls’ mission on earth.
The feeling of not being “good enough” comes in four specific expressions:
· I'm not good enough compared to others; everyone else performs better than I.
· I believe that I do better than most, but I'm worried I won’t be able to maintain this level in the future.
· I think I might be successful, but I don’t really know, so I better avoid anything that may expose my shortcomings.
· I’ve been violated in the past, and I’m struggling to find healthy boundaries.
Like many other aspects of our personalities, these feelings show up in a person’s handwriting—not just in the text, but in the margins, the places left blank around the text.
Let’s have a look at five unique samples and interpret them.
Large Left Margin: Others Are Better, So I Am Afraid to Start
Alice is 16 years old. Her writing shows a large left margin (figure 1). She is trapped by the notion that she is just not good enough compared to others. It's hard for her to try new things. She believes others think she is not good enough. She may even lie in order to appear “better” than she really is. Her feelings of never being good enough make her very sensitive about her shortcomings. Her lack of self-confidence and self-respect has tainted her outlook on life and inhibited her success.
Large Right Margin: I Need My Success, So I’m Afraid of Results
Joe has a different problem than Alice. He is 16 years old. He has a large right margin (figure 2). He is a very successful person. He is a good student, has friends, and is respected by his peers and adults. He is well adjusted. However, Joe is worried about whether he’ll continue being successful and doubts whether he can duplicate his past successes. This makes him cautious and resistant to new people, places and ideas. His fear of failure makes it hard for him to act spontaneously. He rarely volunteers because he fears he may not do it well.
Large Margins on All Sides: I Just Plain Don’t Know, So I Lie Low
Eli is 15 years old and has large margins all around (figure 3). He is intelligent and very capable. Eli feels he is sort of good enough but isn’t really sure. He thinks he is satisfied with his life but he is uncertain and he doesn’t want to do anything to undo present feelings. Eli doesn't take chances. He is cautious, trying not to venture out of his comfort zone. His goal is not to cause himself undue pressure, notoriety, or responsibility.
Very Neat and Very Messy - Writing and Margins
Mushka, writing in figure 4, responded by trying her utmost to patch up the breaches in her life and create a tight order to block out the chaos. Every movement appears to be orderly, neatly planned and in place. She craves control and normalcy above all.
In contrast, Dana of figure 5 appears to inhabit a universe of complete spontaneity and chaos. To Dana, everything is out of her control, so there is no use trying to control anything. Her writing and margins appear to be completely haphazard and disorderly.
Both girls were abused, and their space violated. Both are struggling to gain back control of their lives. One chose rigidity and the other chose rebellion. Neither feels good enough in their current state.
The Problem with “Good Enough”
For Alice, Joe, Eli, Mushka and Dana, the feeling of not being good enough is based on the false notion that people can and should be “good enough.” The word “enough” is synonymous with words like “ample” or “adequate,” words of comparison and measuring.
People compare things, ensuring they have ample food, sufficient light, enough stimulation etc. People are not things. People’s thoughts, speech, and actions are unique. We all have different experiences, outlooks, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and approaches to life.
When a person believes they are “not good enough,” they are in actuality comparing themselves to an imaginary expectation.
In truth, we are only ourselves in every moment. So in every moment, we are the best we can be right now. As our moment progress through our day, we continue being the best we could be in that moment. Even during events that are not positive, we are still the best we can be. It is natural and healthy to strive to be better. While being the best we can be in the moment, simultaneously we need to be working towards self-improvement, all with G-d’s Help. This is the healthy approach.
The best me I can be.
I’m just me.
G-d made me right
To feel this might
All day and all night
I’m proud to be me.
The past is my teacher. Learn those lessons. Bring that new knowledge into my present. In the present, I’m always the best I can be; In the future I will also be the best I can be.
Let’s celebrate this truth together!
Yaakov Rosenthal is an author, certified handwriting analyst, life coach, and holistic healer, as well as a trained physiognomist (face reader). He uses these skills during his consultations in high schools and summer camps, where he coaches hundreds of teenagers annually. Yaakov can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.understandyourteenager.com.