In everyone’s lifetime they will be told (likely multiple times) that they’re not enough.
Not smart enough, not attractive enough, not successful enough, not feminine enough, not masculine enough, not strong enough, not talented enough, not wealthy enough, not worthy enough.
These messages can come from anyone/anywhere – your parents, your spouse, your colleagues, your siblings, your “friends”, your neighbors, complete strangers, tv shows, advertisements…yourself. Sometimes it feels like you can’t be safe from people telling you who or what you are, let alone your own brain.
Here’s what I think.
I think that there is always room for improvement. I think that it’s important to look at a goal objectively and to recognize what it takes to reach that goal – time, effort, hard work, persistence. This goes for whether it’s your marriage, your career, your hobbies, your faith, whatever. Nothing comes easy and I think that the moment you think you’re perfect and can rest on your laurels and it’s up to the universe to realize how awesome you are is the moment that you are not honouring your true value and realizing your full potential.
You know what else you need? You need support. You need your tribe (such a better word than squad…no offence, TSwift). If you don’t have a tribe, you make one. You gather the people who inspire you to do your best and seek their counsel and support when you feel lost. It doesn’t matter if your tribe consists of people who don’t know each other. It doesn’t matter if you only know them from an online forum you both visit based on a shared interest. Take note of the people who bring your best out of you and hang on to them. They will help you get out of those tough times. Note – it goes without saying, you should also be a member of your own tribe. Think about that.
The reality is, there will be times when there are things to work on. Where you’re not enough…but only at that moment. Not enough is temporary.
It’s up to you to say I may not have everything I need right now to achieve my goal, but I know that I am serious about achieving this and willing to put in 110% to make this happen. I know that I am better off trying & learning from the experience, than not trying at all. I know that people who tell me “You can’t” or “You’re not enough” may be coming from a place of love but are actually projecting their insecurities onto me.
One of my favorite books “God Never Blinks” by Regina Brett has a passage where an abused wife is being counseled. She’s hurt and describes how her husband called her a whore. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially the counselor says “Would you have been mad if he called you a chair?” She responds confused and says no. He asks why not and she says “Because I know I’m not a chair.” He says “Don’t you know that you’re not a whore?”
Don’t believe the mistruths people tell you about yourself.
I know all too well what it’s like to be told what I am and that what I am is not enough. Just within the last 24 hours I had the Band-Aid ripped off a year old wound, where I was told that I was not worthy enough. And while over the past year I’ve harnessed that sadness/anger and turned it into productivity, having the wound opened again made me plunge into a sea of feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt.
And then I remembered that I’ve accomplished more personally in the last 12 months than I have in the last 12 years.
I’ve started my own business, advocated for maternal mental health, became a Deacon at our church, volunteered at a local innovation conference, networked with great minds, took an idea to take our family to Paris and researched/organized/budgeted the crap out of it to make it a reality, and written more than ever in this gratitude blog (still room for increased frequency though).
And for each one of those accomplishments I encountered negativity and doubt from others and had to break down their mental barriers while keeping my own at bay too.
How sad would it have been if I had listened to others who told me I was a chair? Who told me things were not possible.
For the record, smaller accomplishments are equally important for stretching and helping us to grow. All of those new mom-of-two firsts: grocery shopping with two young kids by yourself, packing a picnic lunch and heading to the park on a hot day…with two young kids by yourself, trying a new recipe, mustering up the energy to take them to swimming every Monday, only to have them cry and refuse to get in the water because their teacher is male. >.< It’s conquering those daily struggles that gave me the courage to attempt the bigger ones.
Take it from me – whether you or someone else is telling you you’re a chair, you’re not a chair.
Now go do something awesome.
I’m happy to have made the time and headspace to refocus my self-doubt into self-awareness and productive thoughts. I’m thankful that I persisted and showed others (and myself) that no one can tell me that I’m a chair. I’m hopeful that you will not let anyone shake you from your goals and that you will be able to find your tribe – the people to remind you of the true you and what you’re really capable of.