This question stopped me dead in my tracks. Wow, I absolutely do NOT believe/feel/think I am enough, on any level. It stunned me to realize that I am constantly driving myself with
thoughts of inadequacy and self-improvement.
This question came up in my ‘community’ where we are deeply into the contents of Brene Brown’s new book: Daring Greatly. Brene Brown, if you don’t already know, is a social worker/researcher. In Daring Greatly she reveals what her research shows about vulnerability and shame.
As with all the ‘self-help’ books I read, I look for how what she says applies to what I do and to me personally. Her ‘answer’ to shame and vulnerability is feeling like there is enough and that I am enough. So, how do I do that? What does that look like?
“I am not enough” comes up in my sessions with clients all the time.
If you and I are measuring our enough-ness based on outside recognition
and approval, then we are never enough. The values that drive this kind of enough-ness are motivated by fear. Fear of lack – not enough. I will never be young enough, thin enough, rich enough, friended enough on Facebook, etc., etc. My fear under all of this is I am not worthy of belonging. Once that fear is triggered I am in survival instinct mode and I either hide away and make myself small (flight) or become angry and bossy (fight). You may recognize this in the people around you?
It appears that enough-ness is based on courage, compassion and connection. And it’s an ‘inside’ job. If I am willing to make ‘trying new things’ and ‘taking risks,’ instead of measurable goals, as my measures of success, I am more likely to be vulnerable and participate in life. Did I put myself out there today? (vulnerable). Great! Did I challenge myself today? Yeah! Did I try and fail at something? Oh Yeah! Did I connect with someone today? Yes! The participation/showing up doesn’t have to be anything huge. It can be as simple as phoning someone who needs encouragement. Talking to someone in line. Posting a blog! The shift is not based on ‘results’ and feels amazingly good. Life is fun again. It also appears that feeling like enough in this “you are not good enough yet” day and age takes strength training.
Based on what I’ve learned coaching (teaching connection) and what I’ve read of Brene’s work, I have made for myself a list:
Enough Muscle Exercises
1) Accept who I am right here, right now. My Mantra: I AM ENOUGH (this is a constant ticker tape news crawl in my brain.)
2) Gratitude instead of fear. If I can catch myself freaking out or feeling negative about myself I counter it with a gratitude thought.
3) Compassion. I give myself a break when I screw up. I acknowledge that I’m learning. I’m
human. I take responsibility and then move on. Only then do I have the capacity to be kind and compassionate to others.
4) Connect. I have a tendency to isolate myself in order to recharge, but too much isolation
leads me to crazy town! I phone or meet a friend. I make contact with my loved ones. I participate in my community. I re-enforce that I belong.
There is much in Brene Brown’s books and TED talks. I highly recommend taking a look at them. In the meanwhile I am strengthening my ‘enough’ muscle.