Whatever you do, you are never enough skinny, beautiful, smart, kind, skillful. Nothing is ever enough.
If you ever felt this way, you were on the land of NOT ENOUGH.
The land of NOT ENOUGH is the land were all the bad kids go……or is it the good kids?
Even though we know cognitively that it will never be enough, we keep struggling to reach a bar which is getting even higher as we get close to it. It’s the same as the struggle of Sisif who was forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it got near the top, repeating this action for eternity. One day you will have to put the boulder down and explore the surroundings which you were not able to see because of the hill. And the boulder. One day you will have to start living – the only thing that you’re actually missing out on.
But why do we have this belief? Why it is never enough?
“When the child is between 1 and 3 years old, being seen is a developmental necessity. When we are not seen, we can only conclude that who you are is not good enough.
When your parents don’t see you, you can come to 2 interpretations: one is that they are blind and stupid and the other one is that you are not good enough. Which is a safer interpretation for a small child? The one “I’m not good enough”, because they’d better be competent.
The belief “I’m not good enough” is a defense.
Your parent’s failure to see your real nature does not mean that they do not love you. Love is not the same as actually seeing who you are.” – From the Compassionate inquiry training, Gabor Mate.
So, you got this belief from early childhood, as a defense mechanism. Even though that defense helped you maintain the attachment relationship with the caregivers, now it stands in your way: you are holding yourself back from expressing freely and authentically, trying to please everyone, doing extra hours at work, and so on. These are all adaptations which became part of your personality. The result being that you lost connection with yourself. You cannot see yourself clearly.
OK, but now what?
Jung said that unless you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you would call it fate.
So, the first thing to move towards living a more authentic life, not driven by dynamics you are unaware of, is to put on a new pair of glasses. Get curious and become conscious: Why am I acting the way I do? Who do I believe I am in this moment? What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to please?
Notice your patterns. Even if the things that you are doing are really good (for example helping people), if you are doing them compulsively, you will eventually get hurt (e.g. Why don’t they appreciate my help? How much more do I have to do so my efforts will be recognized?, etc.). Every time we move compulsively to get validated from the outside, the deficiency and emptiness increases inside. That’s why it’s never enough.
“It’s also very important, I believe, to recognize which part within us is the one paying attention, or focusing. If it is the criticizing part within me that is paying attention, or the child part within me who is paying attention, that’s a very different experience compared to the mature adult part.
The part within us that notices all the parts is the True Self. This is the part that gets stronger every time we notice something. This is the observer, the witness. When we talk about authenticity, we talk about the true self, which is the part we identify with when we are authentic.
This True Self is what we need to strengthen and activate. If this True Self is strong enough, it becomes like a good parent. If all the other parts are playing their games, getting angry, fooling around, etc. then it will be all good because you have this good parent, this True Self that is observing it all.
The attention from the True Self doesn’t criticize, it doesn’t evaluate whether it is good or bad, whatever is happening. It is merely curious. It might ask, why is this happening? There is a lot of empathy and compassion coming from the True Self.” – Gabor Mate
So, notice your patterns, be more conscious and compassionate towards yourself. And this is a work in progress. Ongoing. The more conscious you become, the more you will be able to choose how to respond to what is happening. So, it’s a kind of freeing which happens when you realize that you actually are enough, that you actually have a choice.
Celebrate small successes!
Ok, you reached a certain goal, you finished a certain project, you took the first step towards something. Celebrate! We rarely do this. We postpone our happiness to when we will have this or that, achieve this or that. And in the end we will realize that we kept on chasing instead of living.
Start your day with giving thanks and expressing gratitude for what you achieved, for what you already have. Celebrate your journey without “buts”. Your journey is yours alone and cannot be compared to anyone else’s. Each flower blooms differently.
Practice loving kindness.
In a society where you are made to believe that something is wrong with you, the most rebellious act you can do is to actually love yourself. There is an immense power in loving ourselves. Love heals and soothes. So love yourself like your life depends on it!
To sum it up, know that you are not alone in the land of NOT ENOUGH-ness. Even the people you look up to, or admire or strive to be like, visit this land from time to time. This is not a place for good or bad kids like in the land of Peter Pan, but a land for all of us, humans. And in order to free ourselves we need to let go of the old patterns, to the old believes. And this won’t happen after you’ve read this article, not even tomorrow when you wake up, but bit by bit, each time you notice yourself, each time you become more conscious, each time you decide to love yourself.
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