As the fifteen women shuffled in, nervously, awkwardly, some excitedly, some quietly, some chattering, hugging. Shifting into seats, we took some minutes to settle into the room and the circle before beginning our workshop.
I began by passing out blank sheets of paper and asking each woman to write down five insecure thoughts that she had since entering the room. Not one of them hesitated to begin scribbling their insecurities. I collected these anonymous lists and put them in a box. “We’re letting these go for now, we’re putting them aside,” I explained. I put the box outside of the room. “If you want to grab them on your way out later, feel free.”
No one did. I ended up going home with fifteen very interesting lists. Around twelve of them mentioned their bellies, and not in very kind ways. Thirteen of them listed feeling fat. Many of them wrote of being concerned about saying something stupid. Not fitting in. Regretting what they wore. Concerned about being judged. And this is typical. Nothing unique here. We do this often, and we do this well.
Renowned father-and-daughter psychologists Dr.’s Robert and Lisa Firestone have done extensive research on our insecurities, and they have found these to be the most common…
You’re not like other people.
You’re a failure.
You never get anything right.
No one will ever love you.
You’re such a loser.
It’s a painful reality that we are our own worst enemies, that there is most likely no one in our lives as critical, and even cruel as we are to ourselves.
I think it’s safe to say that pretty much every single one of your insecurities, and mine, boil down to one false belief we seem to all insidiously carry, some of us better at hiding it than others…
I am not enough.
Enough is enough, already.
I’m forty-six years old and I do not want to waste another minute of my life feeling not enough. Yet, still sometimes the feeling comes in uninvited waves, parting, receding, flaring up, dying down, depending on a variety of factors. Sometimes a beautiful ray of clarity will shine through me, and it reminds me of a new commitment…
When do you get to be enough, Lisa?
And I ask you, when do YOU get to be enough?
How about now?
Not when you lose that 20, 40, 60 pounds. Not when you get that man or have that baby or get that job or degree or house or whatever.
Your enoughness is implicit, because you are. Because you exist.
It’s a tricky dance, this fluctuation between wanting to be better and being enough. Some might say I am in the self-improvement business, or so it seems.
Truth of the matter is, I am in the emergence business. I am only interested in bringing forth what is within you, what is within me. We are born with our innate brilliance, our enoughness, already existing inside of us. We simply have to tap it, cultivate it, birth it. “Improvement” is moot. Accessing is paramount. Enoughness almost seems paradoxical- and it is:
I am enough. AND I am emerging into a more brilliant and powerful version of myself.
I am always enough.
If we could remember that, all the time, in a perfect world, in a perfect brain, we would have no more insecurities. Our enoughness would be enough. Sure, we might be attracted to making positive changes to live more brilliantly, to make our experience here more awesome. While being enough.
How the hell does one even go about practicing enoughness?
It boils down to taking control of the thoughts we think, of changing course when our brain wants to go down that dark path, stopping it in its tracks, shifting it, taking charge of it. You are not the thought. You are the thinker of the thought. You’re the boss. Start acting like it.
Wouldn’t you rather think (and know) that you are enough, and do your life’s work from a compassionate, loving place? Sure, who wouldn’t?
To do so, we must begin to shift our thoughts– stop them dead in their tracks, choosing new thoughts. Practicing new thoughts.
I am enough. I am always enough.
So the next time you feel insecure thoughts attempting to wreak havoc in your mind, I challenge you to…
Stop the thought– BAM. Catch it. Stop it.
Strip the thought. What’s underneath it? (Hint: It’s always “I am not enough”.)
Replace the thought. I am enough. I am a beautiful work in progress. I am an evolving, eternal being full of potential, and perfect in the right now place of my evolution.
Breathe into those new thoughts, slowly. Really. Use your breath. Even if you don’t believe the thoughts, breathe into the possibility of them. When you affirm a new thought, it doesn’t automatically work like some instant magic pixie dust, POOF. But you do create a welcoming place for it to take root. We’re talking new synapses that must form here, brain chemistry being altered, science, man. But we do get to choose.
I, for one, am really tired of the insidious toxicity of not-enoughness. It’s a liar, and a cheat. It’s already cost us too much. It’s wasted too much of our precious time. It’s destroyed too many lives.
I am enough. I am always enough. And so are you. Pass it on.