How often do you scroll through your Insta or Facebook feed and look at the perfect photos of other peoples’ lives, compare them to your own and feel you don’t measure up?
Or flick through magazines and wish you had that outfit/decor/hair/complexion/holiday? Or perhaps you read about someone so much younger who seems to have achieved so much more than you have?
At times I can be be really horrible to myself and do exactly the things I always say I mustn’t do. I compare myself to other people, I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to completely take over. I look for evidence that I’m not good enough, that I don’t deserve to be loved or that I’m not living up to my full potential.
From talking to some of you, I don’t think I’m the only one living with an internal critic.
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” ~Maya Angelou
There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture. We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of income, don’t have a huge social circle, or don’t look or act a certain way. This list could go on forever.
So much of our society is based around aspirational messages. Of course it’s not a bad thing to have dreams, goals, and ambitions, but many of us struggle with balancing our hopes for the future with feeling satisfied with who we are right now.
Ultimately it comes down to feeling as if we are not good enough.
I was listening to author Kute Blackson on the Melissa Ambrossini podcast the other day and he said, “The greatest lie we are sold, individually and collectively, is that who you are is not enough. See a magazine stand – we are sold an image of beauty – it makes us think “I am not enough”. But wear these socks, wear this underwear, wear this watch, drink this beer, drive this car… then you’ll finally be enough. That’s the greatest lie, that you are not enough. At your core, who you are is whole, perfect and complete.”
It reminded me that amidst all the pressure to measure up to those around us, we seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things about ourselves.
And that it’s important to say, “I am enough”.
As Jon Kabat-Zinn famously put it “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”
So what are those 3 most important words we can say to ourselves?
I am enough.
Therapist Marisa Peer says that if you have a voice in your head telling you that you’re not all you could be, replace it with one that says “I am enough”.
It sounds very simple but it’s not. In particular it’s not easy to overcome that inner critic.
Marisa Peer says, “It’s natural to initially come up with objections to the ‘enough’ statement. ‘I am not really enough because I don’t have a great job and I don’t earn enough money’; or ‘I am not enough. I don’t even have a car’.
At this stage many people give up. Don’t! You simply need to look at the objections and replace them with something better. If you keep on with the self-praise eventually you will run out of objections and your brain will conclude: ‘You say this so often and with such conviction it must be true’. When eventually your brain starts agreeing with you, you are ﬁnally making real progress.”
“When you say ‘I am enough’ say it out loud; say it with feeling; say it like you mean it and say it over and over again until it replaces all those feelings of negativity,” Marisa suggests.
While it can be challenging to free yourself from the need to be perfect and simply be who you are (while also acknowledging that you still have room to grow, like every one else on the planet), being able to do so will set you up for future success. Not to mention the ability to deal with obstacles and meet challenges head-on.