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.

Turning Point

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

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.

Exalted Peacock Logo

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


 

 

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About ExaltedPeacock

Finding cool new things each day to love about me & those around me. Everyone is peacock beautiful. Celebrate it!

5 responses to “I AM ENOUGH – Monday Motivation #20”

  1. Manoir says :

    you can be very proud of the woman, the mother you’ve become … and you reflected the magnificent beauty of your inner peacock …. tender kisses
    (sorry for my english is not perfect)

  2. Megan says :

    I think we have so much in common and I admire that you have the strength to share these experiences with the world.

    People like myself may never admit that they have been through some of these things as well or carry the same pain, but through you, there is understanding and hope. I realized a long time ago that there are two ways to handle the cards that life deals us. We can either fall through the cracks, rebel, sit back and take it, or give up…or we can embrace the worst, aim for the gold, and make a different path.

    While there is empowerment in the latter, I am beginning to find that there is also a consequence to it and it is the continuous, impossible bar that we set for ourselves as a result. While raising the bar higher and higher can lead to new lows at time, it still drives determination and ambition to new levels and to me, it’s so worth it. I think instead of moving to the next big hurdle though, there needs to be time to appreciate what you’ve just come through first. I remind myself that I AM enough by simply reflecting on the things I’ve already been through. Oddly enough, some bad memories can still bring a smile 😉 especially when you realize that the ones who brought you to that bad place are still stuck there.

    • Exalted Peacock says :

      Megan,

      I do think that often parents and family members struggle with what it means to be a parent. How do they raise a person who is separate from them, independent and capable, but one whom they can be proud to call their own? I struggled with that same dilemma as a mother so I can relate in some small way to my step-mother and the pressure she felt to force me into some image that she had of the perfect little daughter she wanted as compared to whatever she felt she got in my sister and me.

      My point is, so many of us come thru childhood as if we were climbing thru a barbed wire jungle gym. So few of us come out unscarred or damaged by the people who are supposed to be our loving protectors and mentors. Take heart in this: You are not alone!

      I do disagree with you on one point: your staunch determination, when derived from a place of “I’ll prove them wrong” doesn’t make it worth it. At some point, making peace with your past and being determined simply because you are determined — OWNING that characteristic of yours as something you choose to be because you like the outcomes, is far better than allowing those ghosts from the past to chase you all the way to success.

      I read a book that I want to share – in fact I’ve not even made it all the way thru the book and would love to book club it with you if you’d like (no pressure). It’s called “Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood” by Wayne Muller. As life would have it, I found it at a thrift store here in town (and I almost never go thru the book section because I’d never buy anything else! LOL). I believe I was meant to read it and now maybe you can too. 🙂

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