If I were to ask you to fill in the blank below, how many answers would you have?
I am not ________ enough.
My answers a few years ago would have been, I am not pretty enough. I am not a good enough mother, daughter, wife or friend. I am not doing enough. I am not saving enough. I am not successful enough.
Or to sum up all the ways I didn’t think I measured up to who I thought I should be, one blanket statement fits—I am not enough.
I discovered this core belief underlying most of my negative behaviors during my five years of therapy and many EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) sessions. It is the root of my anxiety. The root of my depression. The root of my abandonment issues. And it is a damn difficult one to replace, especially for a perfectionist who weighed her worth as a human being on always getting everything right.
If you too have a list of answers for that fill-in-the-blank question above, it’s likely you’re struggling to believe that you are enough. Maybe you, like me, are working with a therapist or mental health professional who tells you you are enough. Maybe you, like me, have a supportive and loving network of family and friends who want you to believe you are enough because it’s what they believe. Maybe you, like me, want to believe you are enough, but you keep circling back to feeling like you’re always coming up short.
So then, the question is, how do you believe you are enough?
I learned through yoga. My journey with yoga has been a humbling one. During my yearlong teacher training, I threw my back out twice and lost three months of asana practice. (Asana is the postures we practice when we in America go to a yoga class, but yoga has seven other limbs often unknown to Westerners.) There were days where just laying on my mat breathing was my practice. And I learned to accept that as enough.
As a yoga teacher, my back problems limit the postures I am safe teaching. And I’ve had to learn to let what I can teach, and my teaching style, be enough. As a result, I’ve discovered how many people think my style of teaching and my classes are exactly what they needed due to their own physical limitations.
And the magic of yoga, one of the reasons people are out there suggesting it as a treatment for practically everything, is that the lessons learned on the mat often translate into our everyday lives. Learning to be enough teaching my way with my back problems, I learned to be enough as a parent. I learned to accept my writing process, my writing style, and even that some days it’s enough to just write a journal entry. I don’t need to produce Pulitzer Prize winning material to be happy as a writer. All I need to do is write. I don’t need to compete with the Pinterest moms of America out there who make every birthday and class project magazine spread worthy. I don’t need to do headstands to teach the philosophy and benefits of yoga. All I ever need to be is me.
And all you ever need to be is you.
But maybe yoga isn’t your thing? There are other ways to practice being enough. Pick anything. Any hobby or activity you just don’t care about the outcome. Something you want to do for the pure joy of doing it. And do it. Do it often. Maybe it’s running, biking or swimming. Maybe it’s learning a new instrument for no other reason than to learn to play. Maybe it’s crafting. Journaling. Scrapbooking. Maye the first thing you try, you find you don’t enjoy it. Then try something else! The whole point is to pick something you can 100% be imperfect at and still enjoy. Practice imperfection in one area of your life and watch as you learn to accept it elsewhere.