“If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.” – Anonymous –
I am not enough.
I am a 36 year old confident, self assured, sassy, fit, financially stable, happily married mother of 4, and yet…I am not enough.
I am stronger than I’ve ever been, physically and otherwise, and yet… I’m not enough.
I have grown, achieved, and built a beautiful life I am proud of, and yet…I am not enough.
No matter how hard I’ve worked to identify and modify my paradigms and limiting beliefs, no matter how far I think I’ve moved past my shit, I realize I am still in a prison of my own making most days. My insecurities are buried so deep within the core of my identity I didn’t even realize they were still hiding there, a silent, destructive infestation methodically undermining my structural integrity. I thought I was building a life upon a solid foundation, that I had dealt with these pests years ago, but I clearly see now that they have been hiding in shadowed corners, living out of sight but not out of influence for decades.
I had a happy childhood, filled with cousins and pool parties, barefoot backyard shenanigans, and a giant, loud, loving extended family.
Our home was small but warm and filled with love. Life was good and I was happy, truly happy. But as my childhood passed and I began adolescence, everything changed. I became painfully aware of my shortcomings and of the distance between where I was and where I wanted to be. My clothes, my family, my tiny home, my thighs, everything about my life was an embarrassment. I was not enough, not even close.
I spent hours scouring the racks at Salvation Army praying I’d stumble upon a pair of Guess jeans in my size. I told my parents how to dress so they wouldn’t embarrass me. I perfected the art of sitting just so, legs slightly lifted to prevent the fat in my thighs from spreading wide against the hard plastic desk chairs in 7th grade Chemistry class. I aligned myself with the cool girls and emulated their style, their attitudes, their personalities. I glowed when the leader of this group singled me out for a sleepover or sat by me at lunch. I let her treat me like shit, steal not one, but two different boyfriends freshman year of high school, tease me “just for fun” in front of others, and blow me off when she had better plans…and it was all okay because the high I got from being her “friend” made me feel like I was enough.
A few months before my 15th birthday I fell hard, head of over heels in love. He was unlike anyone I had ever met, a confident, strong, force of integrity and character. He was funny and kind and unapologetically himself in a world filled with arrogant, superficial, asshole high school boys. He was just good, so very good, in all the ways I had forgotten about in my pursuit of popularity and acceptance. Being near him reminded me of who I really was, of who I wanted to be again. His friendship became my anchor during the turbulent teenage years. He saw me for who I was. I was chosen and loved not in spite of my flaws and shortcomings, but because of them. Everything that once made me feel different now made me feel special.
But teenage love rarely lasts and as he prepared to head off to college a year later, our relationship come to an end. I was heartbroken. We stayed friends, but I remained desperate to win back his love and once again fell into the trap of trying to prove my value. I spent many, many years trying to convince him (and myself) of my worth. I worked hard to demonstrate how funny, pretty, awesome, smart, and amazing I was. His love and approval meant everything and so everything I did was in pursuit of it.
Eventually, after many years I married the boy, the love of my life. I worked hard to build a life I was proud of, a life that rivaled that of all the lives I had once envied. I could now afford nice clothes and a beautiful home. Even after four babies I managed to get into the best shape of my life. In every way, I achieved everything I longed for all those years ago. I have every reason to feel confident and deserving, but I still don’t.
I still struggle with comparing myself to others.
I still want worry incessantly about my looks, my home, and the image I portray to the world.
I still feel I have to prove my value.
I still only feel worthwhile when others acknowledge me, my success, my contributions, and my appearance.
I am still letting all of this 20 year old bullshit lead my life.
The Story is a Lie
It took me far too long to realize that this story was the single greatest obstacle to achieving everything I want in my life…improved relationships, more joy, less anger, career success, and most of all peace. I continually put my worth and value in the hands of everyone else, and therefore my happiness was dependant upon others. I gave away all my power and begged for scraps of affection and acceptance.
I also let my fears play on repeat…looping negative, lack based, not enough, wanting more thoughts throughout my mind almost constantly. An odd sort of comfort existed in those pangs of sadness. Leaning into the familiar feelings were easier than trying to fit into new ones. I subconsciously looked to confirm my fears and prove I wasn’t enough after all. I’d get a slight rush whenever someone didn’t live up to my expectations or acknowledge me in the way I hoped. “See, my friends don’t really care about me because it’s been 4 days since I sent that text and I have yet to get a reply.” I wasn’t enough and little could convince me otherwise.
But ladies, we are too old, too tired, too smart, too amazing, too wise, and too incredible to put up with this bad story any longer. We need to stop trying so hard and stop being afraid. I am tired of fear’s lies.
Fear whispers that we will never be enough for the ones we love.
Fear reminds us that we will forever be mediocre and the world will not remember us.
Fear knows that we spend far too much energy caring about the wrong things but care about them all the same.
Fear taunts that true happiness is beyond our reach, that we are ungrateful, unworthy or undeserving of the kind of love we need.
Fear can go fuck himself.
It is time to stop being afraid. Drag your self deprecating, bullshit, fear based lies out of the dark. Shine the blinding light of who you really are on those dirty little lies and watch them scurry like cockroaches back under the bed. Better yet, squash them beneath your boot heel and be rid of them for good.
No one, NO ONE can give you what you so desperately crave. Only you can rewrite the story and decide, once and for all, that you have been and always will be, absolutely perfect.
There is literally nothing you can do to increase (or decrease) your value. The world may try to tell you otherwise, but when you take radically responsibility for your happiness, what others think no longer matters. And that my darling, is the ultimate #girlpower.
Undoing years of negative self talk, stopping the comparison game, trusting yourself, and letting go of expectations takes effort and work. But mostly it takes trust in yourself. It begins by believing you are enough.
Reject the lies, release the fear, remember who you really are, and re-write the story.
Do you struggle with believing that you are enough? Have you overcome this or have any advice for others? How can you begin to rewrite the story and truly believe you are absolutely enough, just as you are?