Do any of these sound familiar?
“I’m not good enough”
“I don’t know enough”
“I’m not strong enough”
The list goes on.
What is the statement that rears its head for you? We all have at least one, one niggly refrain that voices itself every so often, or perhaps a lot of the time. I think it is a very normal, human thing to have sentences like these that float in and out of our minds. In case you’re wondering, mine is the ‘I don’t know enough’ one.
What I am learning is that I don’t necessarily have to silence these statements, or stamp them out for good; I can make peace with them and learn to greet them with a smile and still get on with doing what needs to be done. Something along the lines of “feel the fear and do it anyway”.
What I want to talk about today goes right to the heart of all these “I am not enough” statements. I want to share it with you in the hope that it can start to ameliorate the potency of your particular phrase.
This is what I want you to know, not just on an intellectual basis but a cellular basis – by that I mean I want it to sink into every cell and fibre of your being! I want you to sit with these words, drink them in, repeat them internally, out loud if that suits, and let them truly percolate:
“You are already enough.”
“You are already whole.”
“You are already perfect.”
Every living being is already whole, perfect and complete—it was given freely to you with your miraculous creation.
There is no hole to fill, nothing to fix, nothing to be done.
We just need to remember what we have forgotten, or denied or been told otherwise.
I have come to learn this in my own personal healing journey but also in working with many, many other people in their journey to wellness. It is a constant echo with the clients I am blessed with, both young and old—this notion that somehow we are not enough.
It strikes at the heart of even the most talented, intelligent people, the people with the most accolades, and the greatest achievements. It can keep eating away at you until you learn to really embrace deeply the sentiments above.
The penny dropped for me when I was working with two athletes—one highly talented and decorated elite athlete, the other was brand new to the sport, just starting out on her competitive career. What blew me away was that both of these athletes had the same little voice whispering in their ears, saying “you’re not good enough.”
How was it possible that the young lady with the glittering career could be feeling just like the newbie?
Easy—because she is a regular human being and regardless of the milestones we achieve, we still have the same words floating through our heads. They will continue getting in our way until we truly grasp that our value as human beings is not defined by our medals, our awards, or our material wealth.
I have been privileged to work one-on-one with many different people, some who have barely entered their teens, others in their 30’s and some well into their 50’s. What has struck me is that regardless of age, accomplishment, stage of journey etc. it seems that we all need to hear the same thing.
Reflecting on my own journey, this seems to ring true too. What I needed to hear during my teens is actually not that different to what I need to be of reminded now. It was crystallised for me when I was asked this week the question, ‘What advice would I give to my teenage self?’
What really hit me was imagining my future grey-haired self, smiling lovingly down on my present late 30-something self and saying exactly the same message…the message that I feel every human being needs to hear. Sometimes we need to hear it several times, in different ways, by different voices.
Mine is just a start:
“I am already enough.”
“I am already whole.”
“I am already perfect.”
There is no university degree, no career, no grade, no other personal accomplishment that will magic away that doubt or fill that hole—you just need to grasp that there is in fact, no hole to fill!
How do we learn to live with these nagging statements of self doubt? Here’s a process to try:
1. Get to know your phrase—you might have one, you might have a couple. What is it that niggles at you?
2. Notice it—just be aware of it every time it raises its head, or taps you on the shoulder.
3. Make room for it—this is the trickier bit. Learn to make peace with it. With practice, every time you notice it, greet it with a smile, like it’s an old friend. Welcome it with tenderness—think of it as an old cardigan that you wear from time to time—‘you old thing.’ Let it be there around your shoulders and don’t try to shrug it off. Maybe just by noticing it and not wriggling away from it, it might slip from your shoulders on its own. If it stays put, just breathe your way through it and carry on.
When my phrase of ‘not knowing enough’ pops up, instead of it getting in my way, I use it as a reminder of how much I value wisdom and keeping my knowledge current. It propels me to dig deeper, keep growing and learn more. I recognize that this voice will still pop up even if I gain another Masters degree and I just have to crack on now, giving what I’ve already got.
4. Get on with it—acknowledge that this is just a collection of words. This is just a thought! This does not define you as a person. It does not have to be a barrier and no one else is going to be able to do it for you. So pick yourself up, take another deep breath and get on with it.
Is there a place for evaluating ourselves? Absolutely. But it does not lie in debating our worth as human beings. It does not lie in comparison to others. It does not lie in assessing our achievements, our awards, the number of friends we have, the size of our house, the car we drive, or our bank balance.
In my experience, these are more useful questions to ponder:
Are you living your truth?
Are you living a life imbued with personal meaning?
Are you living a life inspired by your own unique strengths, gifts, and talents?
Are you living a life guided and shaped by your own personal values?
These are the questions that I enjoy exploring with my clients. Together we brainstorm and define what those values and strengths are, and in partnership we craft ways you can express them in everyday life. It is a juicy, satisfying and life-giving process.
I’m often amazed at the ways in which life blossoms for us when we start living our own truth.
Please get in touch if you’d like to explore yours.
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Assistant Editor: Leace Hughes/Ed: Bryonie Wise