How To Feel Like You Are Enough
You are enough.
Exactly as you are.
With all your flaws.
With all your limitations.
With all your weaknesses.
You are enough.
You are SO enough.
A dear reader reminded me of this last week when she responded to my article about finding yourself:
“I wanted to chime in on finding yourself, cause there’s another aspect that has been HUGE in finding myself. That is: figuring out what my limitations are. I used to kick my own ass so hard cause I can’t function as well as other people with full time jobs, I can’t hike as far, can’t afford as much, etc etc.
When I accepted that I need a full 8 hours of sleep before I can function at anything, I took full-time job off my list of things I have to do to be successful by my own standards. Cause I have a hard time sleeping, and often I don’t get my full 8 hours until 7-7:30am. I can’t get to work by 8, ever. Unless I go in and expect to drag ass and trip all over the place all day. Which I don’t want to do.
Anyway. A lot of people reeealllly struggle to accept that they have limits. But it’s part of self acceptance. Who cares that my ‘best’ isn’t the same as everyone else’s? I don’t anymore.”
Can we get a round of applause for her? 🙂
She has decided to accept herself. She has decided that she is enough. Exactly as she is.
And now she is free to design a life that suits her – exactly as she is.
This is something to aim for, but how do you get to that place? How do you get to a place where you feel like you are enough exactly as you are? A place where you accept your limits? Where you accept your weaknesses?
Some self love gurus will tell you that we are all enough. We are all valuable just by virtue of being born. And I actually agree with this in theory.
But for the longest time, it was still hard for me to feel convinced that I was enough. In order to get there, I had to turn to reason and objectively examine how I was evaluating myself.
In practice, this meant that I started asking myself a few questions every time those feelings of inadequacy and not being enough would pop up.
Today I want to share these self-talk questions with you. I hope – with time – they can help you feel like you are enough too!
5 Questions To Ask If You Want To Feel Like You Are Enough
1. Are you limited or are you actually just normal?
Seven years ago, I had three kids under three. My older daughter was two and a half when I gave birth to a set of twins. When the twins were eight weeks old, I went back to work full time.
Here’s what I was expecting of myself at the time:
- Breastfeed and otherwise care for infant twins while also maintaining a loving relationship with a rambunctious toddler.
- Be an “always-available” loving wife and go along with my husband’s desired lifestyle of lots of activity and social engagements even when it was in conflict with my introverted nature.
- Work 40+ hours per week, managing multi-million dollar global research projects in a high pressure environment performing tasks that were neither engaging nor meaningful to me.
- Manage a household of five people with cleaning, laundry, shopping, food prep…
And guess what? I kept up with it for a while, but eventually I broke to a thousand pieces.
Does that make me weak? Am I limited?
Or am I just normal?
This seems batshit crazy to me now, but at the time, I thought I was weak. That I wasn’t enough. That I needed to be more.
I can see now how that was crazy-talk. I am NOT weak! I’m just a normal human being. Human beings need things like adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, meaningful work, and downtime.
I wasn’t getting those things so I broke.
2. Are you comparing yourself to others without context?
Not only was I holding myself to superhuman standards whereby normal human needs shouldn’t have applied to me, but my perception was also warped by comparing myself to other people in ways that (in hindsight) didn’t make any sense.
Like comparing my house to Pinterest pictures posted by people who do home decor as their full-time job.
Or assuming that the happy family photos on Facebook were the full story.
Or comparing my parenting to stay-at-home moms.
Why doesn’t my house always look pretty? Why isn’t my family always smiling? Why can’t I take my kids to the park every day?
It must be me! I’m not enough! I should try harder!
3. Are you a rare personality type comparing yourself to society’s ideal?
Another self-love-squashing activity I used to engage in was comparing myself – an introvert Highly Sensitive Person – to extroverted non-HSPs.
And not surprisingly, I would fall short! In so many ways. I would see nothing but limits and weaknesses.
OMG! I’m a terrible driver!
OMG! I can’t do anything with my hands!
OMG! I can’t think fast enough to banter!
OMG! I can’t keep up!
Many people with minority personality traits fall in this same trap. A majority of people have strengths that are different from ours, so it’s easy to assume that there’s something wrong with us since we can’t do what “everyone else” can.
Eventually, I did come to realize that I could reverse the comparison. There are quite a few things that come easily to me that other personality types often struggle with. I’ve learned to see how I’m intuitive and insightful and empathetic. I have a killer ability to focus. I’m good at writing and planning and organizing.
And you know what?
That’s enough. I don’t need to have everyone else’s strengths too!
And the world doesn’t need me to have those strengths either. There are already plenty of people who are good at acting in the moment and thinking on their feet and being the life of the party. There’s no need for me to be contributing to that pool when I can just focus on using and honing the strengths that come to me naturally.
4. What is the cost of “being more”?
Another thing I eventually realized was that there are consequences to “being more”.
When I felt like I wasn’t enough, I was constantly pushing myself to be more. To do more.
And guess what that got me?
Well, it got me out-of-control stress and the associated health problems. Plus anxiety. And depression. And anger. And irritability. And resentment. And exhaustion.
Need I continue?
I was holding myself to unreasonable standards and pushing myself to be someone I’m not.
And yes, this made some people very happy with me.
They would praise me.
They would reward me.
I had all the external accoutrements of success.
To outsiders it may have looked like I was more than enough.
But inside, I was actually shrinking.
In my quest to attain “enough”, I was becoming less.
5. What will happen if you decide that you are enough?
As long as I kept telling myself that I wasn’t enough, that I had to be more, I was a prisoner of someone else’s standards.
But when I decided that I was enough, exactly as I am, I freed myself to create a life that feels good to me, taking into account my unique mix of strengths, weaknesses, and human limits.
I started meeting my human needs of sleep, nutrition, exercise, and downtime.
I transitioned into a career that allowed me to set my own pace and use my strengths in a calm and quiet environment.
I shrunk my social life and activity calendar to better suit the nature of a sensitive introvert.
As a result, I feel healthier and happier than I ever did while playing the “be more” game.
It’s been a long journey though.
None of this happened overnight.
My life still isn’t perfect. It’s always going to be a work in progress.
But you know what?
My life is enough.
And so am I.
I am enough.
P.S. Wanna Learn More About Aligning Your Lifestyle With Your True Self? (The One That’s Enough As It Is!)
If you are ready to be done with the “be more do more” game and create a life you ACTUALLY like, you might be interested in my free video class. You’ll learn:
- The SECRET to creating a lifestyle that maximizes happiness and minimizes stress.
- The simple 5-step process for turning your life around even if it seems way out of reach and you have no clue how to get started.
- The 3 critical mistakes that keep people stuck in life and how YOU can avoid them.
If you are interested, just enter your email address in the form below so I can send you an access link. 🙂
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