Happy Hump Day, friend,
To start, I want to thank everyone who participated in my first Thread - ok, it was only one person, but I hope you’ll look forward to the next one in a month or two.
I always welcome comments on every edition that goes out, and Threads are extra special (particularly for introverts like yours truly) :)
Now let’s get into today’s topic which, no surprise, was inspired by a book I read recently …
the feeling of being “enough.”
It’s a big-little topic that seems to circle back into my life at least once a year, perhaps even more often now that I feel like I’m finally shedding all of the “shoulds” in life (are you there too?)
Let me step in on my own conversation here and say that I have had a life-long struggle with Self-Acceptance (dun-dun-dun).
I grew up with the whacked-out belief that any mistake was bad, and I didn’t even pick that up from my family - it was a subtle societal message that seeped its way into my straight-A brain.
So be good, don’t make mistakes and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be good enough in someone else’s eyes. Then they’ll give you a degree, a job, a promotion, maybe even love … you can see how toxic that is, no?
But nowhere along the way did someone stop me and say “um, what about accepting yourself first?” What!? No, who cares what I think - other people’s opinions matter more than my own … cue the lightbulb moment.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I’ve had to have that lightbulb moment at least 23678 times before it’s finally started to sink in my 37-year-old brain.
The hard truth is this: healing - of any kind - doesn’t happen overnight. It is not a one-time-only experience, it isn’t linear, and it isn’t something we ever totally finish. Healing doesn’t mean fixing, forgetting, erasing, or undoing. Healing means integrating the painful pieces of our story so we can become more whole, so we can become our full selves. It means allowing ourselves to carry our story without being carried by it.
OK, let’s hit the brakes one more time …
As a rule, I’m TRYING to read fewer “Self-Help” books, because they can often do more harm than good and encourage us to hyper-focus on one aspect of our lives without seeing how it intertwines with everything else.
That being said, Lisa’s book is written from her personal and professional experience. It has a softness, a gentle feel without being pandering or “woe is me.”
It’s the book I needed 20 years ago when I was just graduating from high school.
It’s the book I needed 15 years ago when I left the modeling industry.
It’s the book I needed when my partner went to Afghanistan with the Marine Corps.
But you could say that it arrived right on time.
So many of us have come to believe that we are not enough as we are. That, for some reason, we have to change parts of ourselves or do certain things to be loved, heard and seen, understood and accepted. I’ve come to understand this belief of not being enough a root belief.
That’s pretty much the entire summary of all social relationships, at least as a teenager.
Through years of off-and-on therapy, and some additional insights from the book, I realized what one of my darkest root beliefs is: I’m a bad person.
Didn’t get an A? That’s because you’re a bad person.
Didn’t get a date? That’s because you’re a bad person.
Didn’t get the dream job? That’s because you’re a bad person.
Didn’t make enough income from that business venture? That’s because you’re a bad person.
It goes on and on and on …
Consciously, I’m not thinking “you’re a bad person,” but it’s there - the undercurrent of all mistakes, all failures, all things that went wrong that I had .000000001% control over.
You matter and your existence matters, and I am so sorry this society doesn’t always make that apparent.
As a white pansexual female that toes the line of non-binary, and who recently (finally) decided to be childfree by choice for the rest of her life, I still read this line over and over as often as I need to.
If you are LGBTQIA+, anything other than white or white-passing, and/or going against the mainstream flow of your culture or your family, this is for you too.
Your existence matters.
You DO NOT have to change to fit in - you’re simply trying too hard to fit into a place where your light would be stifled.
A simple truth, but never easy to live out.
But always know that you are welcome here, and you are enough.