Growing up in a family where conditional love reigned, it was easy to never feel good enough. My role was to be perfect, then I’d receive love. My sister was the "problem child" so consequently, the message I got was that I wasn't allowed to be in need, melting down or falling apart.
I had to be together and became a master at pretending I was when underneath I felt totally insecure and inadequate.
The way I navigated around New York City then was a good analogy for how I managed my life as a teen and young adult. I’d get off the bus at the Port Authority which, in the 1980s, was pretty shady. The area was still chock full of XXX movie theaters, prostitutes, petty criminals and other nefarious types. I’d walk confidently even when I was lost. Part of me knew it was a good coping mechanism, to act like I knew where I was going. Another part of me was simply used to donning the mask-“I know what I’m doing” even when the scared little girl underneath didn’t.
Because of the role I chose to play as a child, I never felt good about me, that I was enough just the way I was.
I had to be who you wanted me to be in order to be loved. I had to be thinner, more organized, responsible.
It felt like there was a hole in the center of me, a hole I was always trying to fill up – with food, with drugs, with boys, with travel. But no matter how much I tried, it was still there until I finally surrendered to God and to me, to accepting me just for me. As I did this, the hole was suddenly filled up with love, love of myself.
Or put another way, the recognition that I was indeed loveable just for being me.
This process took a while and pressed me to let go of a lot of my old beliefs about myself, my family and how to give and get love. And, like everything, lack still rears its ugly head from time to time. Especially on days when I don’t feel like doing anything (ever have one of those?) The voice inside says, “don’t be so lazy. Do something. Be productive. At the very least go for a run or water the plants…”
Those moments are opportunities to catch myself and remember my new orientation.
I can stop and say, “Can you see what’s going on, how you’re talking to yourself? How does that feel? Is it okay just to be who you are right now, to accept yourself just the way you are right now?”
And to remember that I’m enough just the way I am.
Yesterday I was in the supermarket waiting to check out and was perusing the magazine headlines when my eye came across More. I smiled remembering a conversation I’d had with a friend a few years ago. She’d said, “Why isn’t there a magazine called Enough?” As the words left her mouth, I knew she was right. Because not only do we get messages of inadequacy from our family we get way more from society.
It tells us we need more- more money, more clothing, more furnishings, more beauty, more Botox, more, more, more. When is it enough?
My answer is when we decide.
From decades of self searching, healing and studying, I’ve realized that it all comes down to one simple thing, self-acceptance. The more that I love and accept myself, the more life opens to me, love is attracted to me and I am connected to the divine energy of the Universe.