This guest post by Amy Kessel was originally 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.
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. (Tweet) 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.
(Photo credit: Star Creations)
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. (Tweet)
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 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. (Tweet) 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.
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?
Amy Kessel, MA, ACC, is a Certified Life Coach who serves women eager for change in their personal or professional lives. Amy helps her clients identify and reclaim their values, strengths and passions; and to then create lasting change in alignment with who they are. Amy’s clients recognize and shift entrenched patterns, replace disempowered thinking with their authentic voices, and take inspired action.
Power Chicks Chime In: Be honest–what holds you back from knowing you are enough?