I am enough. How often do we all forget that we don't need outside acceptance? I have to re-learn this notion again and again as I'm yet to crack it.
Simon Di Principe
Whether it’s praise from my work peers, a pat on the back from my folks or a 'like' on Instagram, at times I feel like I need this validation from others to feel I'm doing ok. And I'm sure you do too. We stumble through life knowing roughly what feels wrong and right but there are no set rules and there’s no ‘correct’ route when you feel unsure about a decision or life choice. These are the moments when I feel I need the nod from others to settle my overactive mind.
But I don’t, do I? Because it’s me that must live with the choices I make and be happy with them. Sometimes the knowledge that acceptance must come from me alone, escapes me completely and a small crack appears in my mind. It soon widens to a gaping abyss, which in turn is the perfect breeding ground for paranoia and insecurity.
When I meet a new acquaintance I often over-analyse our time together afterwards, worrying I’ve said something stupid or come across as too friendly/nerdy/dull. I turn in to a 13-year-old waiting for her first date to text back and make it all ok. I imagined that by 35 I would be over this sort of behaviour, but sometimes I'm still as anxious as ever about being accepted by others.
Unfortunately, my job’s foundations rest on the rocky terrain of peoples’ opinions. Was I good ENOUGH, cool ENOUGH, funny ENOUGH; did I wear the right clothes and make up. The work version of me gets judged and labelled in seconds so I’ve become accustomed to this outside judgement making up a portion of my self-esteem.
After twenty years of working in this way I'm pretty used to it but occasionally I still get sucked into the vortex of comparison and self-doubt. If I don’t get a job I was in the running for or I’m working less than I'm used to, I can start to worry that I'm not good enough, or OK. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s a chance to make personal tweaks and ask why don't I feel enough? What are the real reasons? It's rarely to do with others.
So, how do we feel like we’re ENOUGH without waiting for the approval of others? Acceptance. One word, so easy to say, but much harder to put in to practise. It may take weeks, months, years to crack it but in the meantime start telling yourself you are brilliant, smart, funny, beautiful, flawed, vulnerable, dynamic, unsure, ever-changing – and know that you are OK. In fact you're perfect.
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