How is it that I was not enough? How can I ever be enough? What if I’m not enough?
Am I thin enough? Am I smart enough? Am I making enough? Am I doing enough? Do I have enough? I am not enough.
We seem to be obsessed with enough. And yet, we never seem to quite feel like enough. Whether it be for ourselves, for others, for the job, the boss, for the status, for society…
We sure can be mean to ourselves can’t we? We hear the words from others who did not fully appreciate our greatness ringing in our ears as “truth.”
When we are self-deprecating, putting ourselves down how much does that make us want to improve? Not a whole lot. I know that any time anyone has said to me, “You’ll never understand this,” or “Your grades aren’t good enough,” or “You’re not smart enough,” “You shouldn’t have eaten the cake, you won’t be attractive enough”…the list goes on…it does NOT make me want to suddenly change things all around and be better! Instead it makes me dig my heels in deeper and not change. Now maybe that’s just me and my super stubbornness…but in my years of doing therapy, I find that most people behave similarly. If instead, I feel encouraged by others, am told I am on the right track and to keep it up, I feel much more motivated and more likely to keep trying.
Would it be so crazy to do this as we talk with ourselves? Use our internal dialogue to tell us that we are on the right path or that we deserve to do better? That we are worth it? That we are actually good enough? That the only person we need to compete against is us? and that we are already winning? How much easier would this make things? Maybe we would actually finish the task, complete the goal, keep pushing to be great. Not for anyone else but for us.
What does “enough” look like anyway? Have you asked yourself this? How will you know when its enough? Maybe we could accept that we are already enough? Even if we are in the midst of learning something new, or we’re not quite at the perfect weight, have the perfect job or make the perfect amount of money. You are human. You do not have to be perfect to be enough. We are all a work in progress, that’s what makes life interesting. If we had it all down to excellent, what would be left for us to learn or grow from?
Here are a few ideas to get you started on your journey to self-acceptance and feelings of “enough-ness.”
1. Use Positive Affirmations.
I know, some people think these are cheesy, but I swear to you they work. Sometimes I think these are difficult for people, because they feel they do not believe what they are saying to themselves. My advice on this is to try to find affirmations that you believe to be true or at least possible. A few that I like are:
-I am courageous. I am strong and confident. I am at peace with myself and the world around me. I am strong and powerful.
-I am able to let go of fear and trust that I am safe. I am worthing of all things beautiful
-I am grounded and centered. I am grateful for my beautiful life. I move through my day with consciousness, grace, and love.
2. Find your strengths and lean into them.
Figure out what you are good at and do more of it. Whether this is running, listening to others, working with children, etc. We feel best about ourselves when we are doing things that we enjoy and that we feel competent at.
3. Let go of the past.
We tend to beat ourselves up with regrets from things that we can do absolutely nothing about now. We replay things in our minds and think of how we might do something differently given the event of the ability to go back in time. We obviously know that this is not an option, but we continue to be stuck on this. Repeat after me: It is done and over with. There is nothing left to be done.Take the lessons learned and let the rest go.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
And most things really are small stuff. Not everything, I get this, but most things. Ask yourself, will this still matter to me in five years? If the answer is “no” then let it go. Even better, learn to laugh at yourself and things that just don’t go as planned. I’d rather be laughing than crying, every time.
5. Accept compliments.
It may seem simple, but if you are a person who typically brushes off compliments and has trouble saying, “Thank you,” when someone gives you a compliment, start working on not only accepting the compliment but really mean it when you say, “Thank you” and internalize it.
6.Embrace mistakes and failures.
This can be challenging, I know. But when we are able to recognize where we missed the mark, we can work on improvement. If we run from our failures and try to blame others or find ourselves so embarrassed by these things that we cannot see them fully, then we lose an incredible opportunity for growth. Mistakes are necessary and important for forward movement.
7.Be kind to everyone.
Really. Life is too short to be an asshole. Even if someone is disrespectful or rude to you, respond with kindness. Hold doors open for people, offer to give people rides, smile. You’ll be surprised how often a little kindness goes a long way and really helps you feel good about yourself.
8. Change your posture.
Carry yourself like you own the place, wherever you are. Shoulders back, stand up straight, head held high, chest open. Even if you don’t feel it. Walk with purpose. When you look confident, you feel confident.
9. Find support from people who love you.
Open up. Talk to your friends and family and the people you trust. You are NOT burdening them! Tell them your struggles, ideas you have, and share your joys too! We feel best when we feel loved and supported by others.
10. Practice Gratitude.
Yes, you’ve heard this from me before. Sorry. But there are so many studies out there about the power of gratitude to literally improve every area of your life. So, not shocking, confidence will improve as well. Every single day, all day long, write down or say out loud things you are grateful for. Even if you catch yourself being negative. Finish the thought with, “Well, at least I’m grateful that…”
So my invitation to you is this: Tell yourself that you are enough. That you are beautiful or handsome and smart and captivating. That you are perfectly imperfect and that is what makes you unique and amazing. Even if you don’t believe it at first. Every day look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are on the path to greatness and that you are and always have been enough. Smile instead of furrowing your brow at yourself. While you’re at it, encourage those around you, your family, your friends, your co-workers. Remind them that they too, are enough.
Watch yourself transform. Watch your world transform. Seeing yourself through a better light helps you see the world through a better light. The beliefs we have about ourselves and others become our truth. And the truth is: you are truly, gloriously, remarkably, enough.