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I am enough. But am I really?


I woke up this morning and thought, today is the day I make myself unpopular. I will argue against one of the biggest slogans, affirmations in the self-help industry.

Seriously though, I cannot be the only one, who has ever questioned that.

It never truly sat right with me. “I am enough” … I felt like there needed to be more to it. It also made me think of those times we would sit with our girl friends in high school and console each other when boys upset us. We would vehemently reassure one another and say repeatedly how it’s obviously the guy’s fault, and our friend is wonderful just the way she is. As lovely as that sounds, I just don’t think it’s very helpful.


If I think about all my failed relationships whether romantic or platonic, or taking it a step further and examining problems in my career, there has always been one common denominator: me, myself and I.

So what does that mean?

When I say – “I am enough”, I worry that it shifts blame. It may slide me into a mindset of, “it’s not my fault”, “it wasn’t me”. It takes away urgency, it takes away the opportunity to grow. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that it has a beautiful intention, but I would, at least for the purpose of this post, change it to- “I was enough”.

I was good enough, until life happened.


What I would never argue with is that we are all born completely lovable, adorable, innocent, and full of fantastic self-esteem. As we start to grow up, try to make sense of the world around us, we are inevitably faced with criticism, and conscious effort from our parents, guardians to make sure we dim our light. We are told repeatedly things like: “children are to be seen, not heard”,  “behave”, “control yourself”, “what’s the matter with you?” just to name a few. The average child is reprimanded 8 times more than praised. Inevitably we do start to question ourselves, our judgement, start to feel embarrassed, ashamed, not good enough.

I was speaking to a dear friend recently and he brought up a line I never heard before:

“Don’t touch the chocolates, they’re for the guest, not you!”

What does that do to a child? I will tell you what it does. It makes that poor child think that “strangers” are far more important.

I understand that parents aren’t given an instruction manual after they welcome a new-born into their family but there is so much said, so much done to the detriment of young children, so much happens that erodes away their confidence and self-belief. Just imagine a diamond that gets covered in tar, dust, scum and becomes unrecognizable.

Does it lose its value? Of course not, the value is still there, just hidden from us all.



Bad, occasionally unjust things will happen to us all, that’s a fact, and our pain will be valid, however, we are still the ones who need to do something about it. This brings me to the part where I offer some guidance on what could be done to remedy the situation.

 

 

Realise that no one is coming to save you.

Growing up we have so many rules to adhere to, so many guidelines to follow, parents, guardians to listen to and after a certain age it all changes. We are off the leash weather we were let go or chose to “escape” ourselves, only to realise that adulting is actually not as fun as we envisioned it to be. Life is hard, complicated, tiring, draining and now we are more accountable than ever for our decisions. Certainly, a lot of people choose to blame their circumstances, complain about most things that are difficult or inconvenient, and make excuses as if their actual life depended on it. The reality is, that the only people who actually like excuses, are the ones giving them. If you want to achieve anything in life, if you want to be successful at anything you do, you have to take 100% responsibility.

“If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.”

I often hear from friends that their boss isn’t doing enough to promote them, to which I just say:

“Well guess what, its not their interest. You need to take action and work for your promotion.”

People can and will be supportive, of course, but we are in charge of our happiness, our future, our finances, our life. Complaining, blaming will only ever keep us stuck. We should never expect anyone to swoop in and save us. That’s sometimes the fairy tales got wrong.

Just think about it for a moment. You expect to meet someone and once you do, that person will ‘complete’ you, make you happy. Well, doesn’t that mean, that the moment that person might decide to leave they can take your happiness with them? You’re giving that person a lot of power. Far too much power.

Once you decide to accept and love yourself, it becomes so much harder for anyone to reject you. Once you stop relying on external factors to motivate you, others to validate you, expect others to fulfil you, that’s when you start to become unshakable and unstoppable.  

 

Now, because life isn’t as easy and as straight forward as we’d perhaps like it to be, there’s a catch. When you feel unable to create lasting change and step away from the story you’ve been hearing/ telling yourself for decades perhaps, when you feel unable to shake the shackles of the past, these is but one question that matters.

 

What’s the hidden benefit of my suffering?

Perhaps you are aware, perhaps you’re not. Perhaps you’ve used it, perhaps you’ve not but having an issue be it emotional, physical, or just talking about how unfortunate your circumstances are, how difficult your life is, can elicit a lot of sympathy from others. What we won’t do sometimes for a good ‘woe is me’ moment. Especially growing up, I can remember parents, grandparents, neighbours getting together and complaining. If one had a headache, the other person had a way worse migraine. If someone had back issues, the person they were talking to, had to immediately out-suffer them. It just went on and on.

Just take a moment and observe your own way of speaking, do you complain a bit more than you even realised perhaps?

I was setting up a session with a lovely lady who had at least 6 ongoing health issues at any given time. She had of course been to all the doctors, would regularly leave most of her earnings at the pharmacy and spend hours on the phone to her friend explaining in detail what hurt that day. Having seen a variety of specialist but not ever having gotten a conclusive diagnosis, I offered my help. We spoke for quite some time and set up a session.

When the time came, my client admitted in hypnosis, in floods of tears that she has no identity without her ailments. She was terrified that her son would forget to call, check in on her. Even though she was truly in a lot of physical pain, it served a very clear purpose. It was there to get her attention.

We don’t all have to have a physical issue but anything we do, we do it because it benefits us in some way.

When you check your phone for the 700th  time instead of getting on with work, you are trying to escape a negative, unpleasant feeling. You are avoiding doing the task. Even when we display very self-sabotaging behaviour, it still serves a purpose. In our subconscious it’s trying to keep us safe, get us the attention we long for, or somehow punish us, as we don’t feel truly worthy.


This is obviously very complex and individual but what you can do is, start to become aware, stop and question the unhelpful behaviours, beliefs.

How is this benefiting me? What am I avoiding? What do I fear the most?


This brings us on beautifully to the third point.

 


Don’t delay pain, delay gratification.

It’s extremely important to remember that we were built to survive, not to thrive! Our mind has a completely different agenda. It wants to keep us safe, to keep us alive. In order to do that, it also needs to preserve energy.

When we are faced with hard, uncomfortable, or even just boring tasks, something that isn’t vital to survival, our immediate response may be to procrastinate. Delay doing the thing at all cost. You realise you simply must scrub all the skirting boards in the house without any further delay, you need to reorganize the cutlery drawer and iron the tea towel rather than doing the presentation, finishing the project, you name it. You may even believe that motivation is truly on its way to you, it’s just stuck in traffic! So, you may as well make yourself useful around the house, until you hear the knock on the door from your saviour, Mr. Motivation. I think you probably gathered by now, that you would be waiting a very long time. You would have no tea towels left to iron.




You have to build discipline, realise that no one, nothing is coming to make it easier and quite frankly just get on with it. It’s a lot like going to the gym. Start small. You wouldn’t go to the gym and take the biggest, heaviest set of weights you can find straight away, and set yourself up for failure. You know that you would have to build your strength up. In the same way, you have to build up resilience. Set achievable goals and milestones.


Getting to the end of your To Do list is great, but let me tell you, its an even more wonderful and amazing feeling knowing that you kept a promise to yourself and dis what you said you would.

But don’t believe me, just try it.

Have I said this before? Perhaps, but it’s something that simply cannot be said enough.

As a closing thought, I would like to point out once more, that whereas you may not feel like it right now, realise that you truly were enough at one point, you were born worthy, you are more than enough, and you absolutely have all the right in the world to reignite that feeling and live by it.

Don’t be a dirty diamond! Slowly but surely, strip away all the negative beliefs you picked up along your journey and return to wholeness whole heartedly. Realise you deserve to feel happy and enough.

 

 

 

 

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