People often wonder what the word “enough” really means when used in the context of describing ourselves.
How do we define “enough?”
It is simple. It is love for ourselves and acceptance of exactly who we are. It doesn’t matter where we are in life, what our state of mind is, how we look, how we live our lives, how much money or possessions we have, how stylish our clothes are or anything else.
“Enough” is an understanding of and acceptance that right at this moment in time we are all that we need to be. We are human beings battling through life’s treacherous storms and taking refuge and finding peace and happiness in the calmer seas—and all that is in between. And while doing so, we still remember to forgive, love and accept who we are at every stage.
We are all journeying and we all will go through struggles at times.
Life is a Ferris wheel. We get on, we rise to the top, we spin back down and we may stumble off temporarily. If we fall hard at the bottom, we do not need to remain on the floor. We can dust ourselves down and climb back on whenever we choose. We just need to realise that there are people around us with hands reached out, ready to lift us to our feet—when we need a little extra strength.
We are human, fallible and fragile at times, and all is not always on our side. That’s okay. Sh*t happens to us all. We are all tested and we are all pushed to the extremes at some point. Each one of us has struggled terribly at one time or another. When we hit the ground though, we have to remember that there are others around us who have been there, who will not judge us and who may know a little something to help us back up. We have to not be afraid to be vulnerable so we can see who they are. And grip on tightly when they come along.
What often happens though is when we do not love, accept ourselves or consider ourselves enough, or when we think that we are not worthy or deserved of love or of other people’s acceptance, and so, rather than the right, we attract all the wrong people and situations into our lives.
Many years ago I would continuously attract people who were not good for me, I mean…seriously bad for me.
I struggled incredibly hard to understand why I was magnetically pulled towards people whose words and actions were intent on causing me destruction. The people I chose company with seemed to happily have pulled me down, rather than held me together.
It wasn’t just bad relationships, it was “friendships” too.
If I walked into a room and there were 50 people there, I could guarantee that I would connect with the one person who would do me harm. .
However, saying this, I also learned that no one else is responsible for the bad connections I encountered. I was a willing party in each and every liaison. I danced the dance and offered my self willingly to the dynamic.
I am equally responsible and half to blame.
I often heard the term, we are who we surround ourselves with, or a similar term, like attracts like.
This was one of the hardest things to figure out and eventually this constant attraction to people who were wrong for me became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I began to believe that I was attracting these people based on the type of person I was. I wrongly thought these people were a reflection of me. I had been told this theory so many times and I could not find any other explanation and so I began to believe it.
Especially as I found that when I was in their company, I was triggered to also respond in a negative way. I am not proud of some of my reactions and I am very aware that when I behave in this way, I am letting myself down and also letting those down around me.
When I get drawn into role-play and play out a part that others want me to perform, I am showing my weakness and I am also giving them what they want. My energy.
Every time I feel that fire, I know that I can choose my own response—to engage and let the flames soar, or to step away and remove myself from danger.
As, when I did step into the fire, I knew that I was then fully responsible for anything that happened to me. I know that my battle scars and wounds are inflicted by my own actions, not those of anyone else.
I realised that I needed to figure what was causing me to repeat these same patterns and also what it was about the people that I was attracting that was so appealing.
I felt compelled to be in the company of people whose presence was dangerous to my emotional and mental health, self-esteem, self-worth and sometimes my physical safety.
Then, I stumbled across the answer. I discovered it within.
It was a hard lesson and one that was very difficult and uncomfortable to accept.
I realised that I didn’t feel “good enough” or “worthy enough” to attract good things or good people towards me. I felt ashamed that my life was not exactly where I thought I wanted it to be, or that I did not have control over things that triggered me or caused me to react, which caused me to sometimes behave in ways that I was not proud of. I felt that I deserved much of what I attracted.
I was almost willing people towards me who helped me to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those people reflected back at me affirmations that confirmed what my inner self believed—that I didn’t “deserve” any better treatment.
I began to realise that my energy was sending out powerful vibrations that some people decoded very easily and they knew it would be easy to take advantage of. The same old story that I had been telling myself every day for years; that one day, in the far off future I will have gotten myself together, figured it all out and become someone who was enough and worthy… In the meantime, I was not, and therefore did not deserve great levels of love, or anyone’s acceptance or their good treatment. I fooled myself that I deserved half-hearted love as I only loved myself half-heartedly.
When I thought about this concept, it occurred to me how ridiculous it sounded. As, I knew that “far off day” would never arrive. I will never be the person my mind daydreamed of—I didn’t need to be that person. I didn’t need fantasies and fairy tales to trick me into thinking that everyone else was deserved of good things, whereas, I lacked everything I believed I needed in order to be loved.
I looked at some of the people who were around me and however their life was, however they looked and whatever their state of mind, I still realised one thing—they deserved love. The unique place they were at in their life was ever changing, spiraling through a myriad of experiences and events. Each one of them was trying their best with the tools they had to maintain things and they were navigating through the conditions they too were placed under.
People may be digging in the mud or soaring through the skies, but they were still worthy and still whole people whose bodies and minds ached to love and be loved. Regardless of how they were behaving. However, if their words or actions were harmful, it was my choice to either continue dancing with them and risk my own self-worth and emotional and physical health, or I could choose to love myself a little bit more and create a safe distance.
This thinking taught me a few things. One, that there is something exquisitely beautiful when we love without conditions. To love someone in their natural state, regardless of what position their life is in is not always easy; it can be full of challenges. However, it is always worth it. People are worth it.
We are all worthy. Our emotional, mental or physical beings should not be what deem us worthy of love. Love is free. It does not cause any distress to give or receive it—as long as we are willing to love those around us unconditionally—regardless of their treatment of us. This however is not always easy and sometimes, we have to do it whilst loving and protecting ourselves fully first.
The second profound lesson I learned was that I am capable of loving someone and also of accepting the love from anyone who wants to receive my love, or who wants to offer it. I do not need to place standards on myself that determine what stage of my life I need to be at before I receive it. I just need to open to it and allow the love to flow freely.
I will never reach a state of perfection. I am aware of this. If I waited until I had reached my ultimate self, it would be very likely I would not be in a position to receive love in this lifetime. Therefore, I accept myself, first and foremost—flaws and all. Not only that, I choose to love myself. And anyone else’s love is simply a bonus.
The most important lesson I learned though, was that, although we all deserve love, and mostly, we all are doing our best, this does not mean that we should still subject ourselves to treatment from others that is harmful, dangerous for emotional or physical health, or to place ourselves in the company of those who do not have our best interests at heart.
We can still love, unconditionally, those around us. We can accept them. We can understand them even. However, we do not need to place ourselves within an arms length for them to freely push us down, rather than help us to get up or remain standing.
Unfortunately and sadly, some people are not good for us to be around. Some people’s intentions are going to do us great harm. However, our own self-esteem and self-acceptance is what determines whether we remain around those people, and place ourselves in the line of their fire, or whether we choose to decide that we are worthy of more, that we are enough, and deserving of the greatest levels that love has to offer (but we will only receive this when we open up to love so that we accept it from ourselves first).
As when we choose to accept ourselves and love ourselves unconditionally, deeply and completely, we will soon discover that those around us will not be able to help themselves from accepting and loving us in exactly the same way too.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Juliana Coutinho