I AM ENOUGH – Monday Motivation #20
Self esteem and being enough
For so much of my life, I have not been good enough.
I remember back to my childhood and a step-mother that was authoritarian at best. Nothing I ever did was good enough.
- Honor Roll? Why not Principal’s Honor Roll (Straight A’s)?
- Chores done correctly? Why weren’t they done faster?
- Good at junior varsity volleyball? You’ll never make varsity.
Absolutely everything in my life was criticized in a way that crushed my self-esteem and gradually reinforced the message: I wasn’t enough.
Not good enough, smart enough, fast enough, pretty enough, nice enough, stylish enough.
And my father didn’t think I was important enough to defend.
So I ran…
I fled to the military right after high school, thinking that if I got away from my step-mother’s scrutiny and my father’s apathy, I’d be OK.
My self-esteem never recuperated. Instead, my voice was the new harsh voice of judgment; I became my own worst critic.
I persistently measured myself against a yard stick that was a mile long.
- I was really good at the things I did when I was enlisted in the military, but that wasn’t good enough.
- I became good enough to be by-name requested for events and assignments. Not enough.
- Finished my degree and was accepted to officer school. Not enough.
- Got commissioned and became an officer, successfully outranking the highest grade my father ever held in the Army and certainly outranking my step-mother who’d never gone beyond an associate’s and was never more than a secretary …
Still… Not… Good… Enough.
Achieving the one goal that made me “better than” my parents (in quotes because seriously, a career shouldn’t be anyone’s full measure of their worth) and finding that I still wanted to do more, achieve more and improve my reputation … was a wake-up call.
It turns out that the thing driving me forward through all those years was the desire to keep running away from “not good enough.”
If I kept achieving the next level of experience, knowledge, and expertise, I could stay a few steps ahead of anyone’s ability to say I didn’t measure up. I could claim that I was good enough and I could point at accomplishments and accolades to prove it.
Except inside, I still knew I wasn’t enough.
Inside, I still beat the self-damning drum.
Inside my self-esteem was a flimsy little rag of a thing.
About four years ago, and on the heels of a violent marital split, I decided something had to change.
I went to therapy, I learned new skills and a different way of viewing myself. I gained a perspective.
And each morning I wake up trying to nurse my self-esteem back to health. Each day I look in the mirror and I search for something neat and likable. I look at myself thru the eyes of my children, coworkers who respected me, friends, and even strangers and I see the things that make me beautiful in ways my heart can feel.
Today, I can say:
I am enough, even though the words sometimes still feel forced.
I AM enough, and I seek it in self-affirming ways … in my inner peacock.
I AM ENOUGH and every single day I believe it more and more.
What are some ways that you have struggled with being enough? And some avenues you have used to remind yourself that you are enough?
POSTSCRIPT: I added to this blog with a podcast that is so complimentary that I wanted to put it here (fear not, it is not stodgy or stiff – lol). And then fly on over check out my other podcasts too: Birdcalls