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The ABC’s of Self-Love : E is for Enough

 

This post was written for a blog series put together by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy.  The ABC’s of Fierce Love is a blog crawl + Treasure Hunt where 26 writers are blogging in an alphabetical sort of way about self-love.  I wonder what X is for …

 

 

 

 

 

It’s February, the month o’ love.

(Cue songbirds and Marvin Gaye).  In addition to the love you give and receive this month, I want to invite you to do something revolutionary.  Something you may find a bit, shall we say, more challenging.  I want you to direct some of the juiciest love you’ve got where it matters most : right back at yourself.

I know.  Despite all the work you’ve been doing, there’s a big hunk of resistance in the way of your own self-love.  And as much as you crave it and hunger for it, finding a way around the resistance is really hard. Your resistance is the thing that throws itself in front of the door to loving yourself just when you’ve got your hand on the doorknob.

What’s it made of, this persistent creature? It’s the deep doubt that we are Enough.

And how do we convince it to back away from the door? Believe it or not, it disappears when we realize we are the only thing keeping it there. When we clear a path through the years and years of heaped-on mis-truths we have layered upon ourselves, and get a good look at our shiny goodness. Which is, of course, supremely lovable.

The resistance to loving ourselves disappears when we know, really know, that we are enough.

The realization I am enough is precious and game-changing. It’s the beginning of truth telling, of settling into our skin. It’s the self-love that mirrors the way we love others, yet have kept from ourselves.

For me, I am enough is a long exhale. A full-body relax. The hint of a smile and a slight nod. A different way of living into the outlines of my life.

 

My enoughness story

My story is probably similar to yours. I spent many years striving and perfecting and rehearsing and anxiously peeking over my shoulder to see if I got the nod of approval. Looking for proof of my enoughness in the grades on my report card, the shape of my body, the words spoken by my parents. Then the diplomas, the stamps in my passport, the performance reviews.

(Sound familiar?  Thought so.)

I was constantly on the move to gather proof that I was enough. I figured I’d know it when I found my soulmate. Nope. When I fit into those great jeans. No again. Got the plum job. Definitely not. Okay, then, finally I’ll be enough when I’m living my childhood dream: husband, kids, house, career – the whole package.

Still, no. Even when I hustled and achieved and put the pieces in place, I still didn’t feel I was enough. Not down deep.

Then something happened while my children were very young. Enoughness came crashing down on me. I felt clueless about how to be a mama, and the books seemed all wrong. So I gave the babes the things I instinctively summoned to love them : my attention, my body, my adoration. I was not a perfect mother. No, far from it.

And it occurred to me that I was enough.

I realized that in the times of not knowing what to do, when I didn’t rehearse or strive or prepare, I was enough. And when I failed to find proof of this enoughness in the world around me, I found it by looking inside – where it was intact, eager, fresh, and alive.

I fell in love with this new knowledge.

Once the floodgates were opened, I found I could reclaim enoughness again and again. As a recovering perfectionist, enoughness is a balm for my old wounds. I discovered a new delight in messiness and imperfection. Amazingly, I found I am enough even when things go sideways. When I underestimate, or overcompensate. When I misstep, or say something awkward, or embarrass my kids. Or myself. Once I let myself off the hook, I could relax and appreciate the pieces of my life in a whole new way.

I wish I could say it’s a permanent change, but it’s not. Knowing enoughness is a practice for me, and I still have moments of profound disappointment, self-doubt and shame. The balance between doing things well and being enough is a delicate one, and I am always aware of it.

 

I know I am not alone in my struggle to know enoughness. What about you? Do you hear yourself in my story? What holds you back from knowing that you are enough?

PS – You are. Oh yes, you are.

 

Want more self-love goodness?  Follow The Blog Crawl of Self-Love hosted by Molly Mahar of Stratejoy. Molly believes in the transformational power of truly adoring ourselves and so do I. Find out more about loving yourself and The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt here.  

 

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{ 11 comments }

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  • Rachel February 13, 2012, 3:51 pm

    Amy, I love this! Thank you!

  • Terry Gibson February 14, 2012, 12:44 am

    Amy, how perfect is this post! I live this life. Of course, I came from a family where self-worth and confidence were quashed by fists before they ever got air; I was the victim of severe crimes against me by my family and lost many years while I taunted and despised myself, to the point of suicide. Briefly, after decades of therapy, it all boils down to the same thing: Am I finally okay and enough? I work on this every single day now. Thanks for being an outside voice with the message I seek. Let me be another for you, should you ever need it.

    • Amy Kessel February 22, 2012, 5:02 pm

      Terry,
      There are lots of us here on this same journey with you. Thank you for being here, and for doing the work. Knowing we are enough is the message we all seek. Love, Amy

  • Tat February 19, 2012, 10:54 am

    I can absolutely recognise myself. Children are such a wake-up call… I went through the phase of doing everything by the books until I realised I knew better and life has been a lot easier sinse then. And yes, unfortunately the knowledge of enoughness is not permanent.

    • Amy Kessel February 22, 2012, 5:03 pm

      Hi Tat,
      Yes, unfortunately, the knowledge needs reinforcing again and again. So glad to know you’re hearing the message loud and clear! Love, Amy