I’ve been through the conversation so many times it feels like the well-worn groove on my attic staircase. We’ve walked it again, and again, and again.
It’s the one about being enough. Or more precisely, the one where she’s doubting that she is good enough, smart enough, loved enough, experienced enough. She’s stalled out on sending the proposal, starting the program, asking for the raise, renegotiating the parenting roles.
She’s waiting for something to convince her that she’s worthy.
Isn’t it sweet? Don’t you want to hug her and tell she’s being silly? The whole world can see she’s more than worthy – why can’t she???
I’m willing to bet you’ve been there too – I certainly have. If you’re like my clients, you’re a high-achieving and compassionate woman. You lead a purpose-driven career, or are determined to find your way to one. You nurture your family and relationships with intentionality and sensitivity. You practice mindfulness and self-care. You’re in touch with what’s unfurling in you, and you’re hungry for more self-knowledge.
So what gives? Why are we so stingy with permission to be what we are – e n o u g h?
Well, it requires a radical de-linking from conventional ways of measuring worth. We were brought up being monitored by how well we scored on tests, whether we were selected by judges, how many friends we had, or which organizations granted us admission. As adults we learned to gauge self-worth by the letters after our names, the numbers in our bank accounts, the composition of our families, and the reflection in the mirror.
These might reflect success, depending on how you define success. And your success is absolutely linked to your notion of self-worth. So getting sidetracked by the trappings of success is not only understandable, it’s predictable. It’s part of that limited paradigm we adopted in order to measure our sense of worth.
Enough has nothing to do with any of this.
Enough is a mindset. It’s the result of saying “yes, and …” rather than “yes, but …”. It’s relinquishing the obsessive desire to compare ourselves to others and come up short. It’s turning inward with curiosity and wonder, and rediscovering who we are. It’s an act of radical self-acceptance.
It changes the game entirely.
When we give ourselves this essential permission – to be enough right now – we reset the clock. We let ourselves off the hook for what we didn’t do, and start from where we are. I have watched again and again as my clients find energy to write the proposal, make the phone call, schedule the meeting. They send me notes that sound eerily alike … “I can’t believe how well that went!” and “I’m finally getting some traction” and “This is what living my life feels like”.
Yes. This is the kickstart you’re looking for, the prerequisite to leaning in or signing up or moving forward. Your full participation is needed in order to begin. So say yes to yourself, and bring your enoughness to the table. It’ll find itself quite comfortable there.
What about you? How have you struggled to know you are enough? What does enough feel like to you?