I am not enough.
Did you know that this belief about oneself is the common denominator of all other negative thoughts?
I love listening to any podcast that teaches self-transformation. I am always striving to learn about how to become a more peace-filled, joyful person. One of my absolute favorite people to listen to when I need some guidance is world-renowned psychologist Marisa Peer. From the first time I listened to her, I really resonated with what she had to say. After witnessing how simple yet effective her methods are and how well they have worked when applying them to my own life, I am astonished that so few therapists teach similar strategies to their clients.
Marisa’s whole philosophy on living a happier, confident, anxiety-free life is fundamentally rooted on these three words: I am enough.
A phrase so simple that its meaning is often lost. This is unfortunate, because the words ‘I am enough’ contain the power to absolutely transform your life if you make it a part of your core belief system.
I am enough. Say this to yourself, either in your mind or out loud. It sounds a bit silly or maybe even uncomfortable, doesn’t it?
This is because deep down in our subconscious mind where our core belief system resides, ‘I am enough’ is not there. The majority of us don’t believe that phrase to be truth.
It is not your fault that you don’t believe it. We live in a society that sends out very contradictory messages. Confidence is something to be admired, but be careful, because too much confidence is not okay. It’s often considered conceited or selfish. Most of us do not want to be seen this way. Our society also puts great pressure on women and men to be attractive and successful, and it promotes the need to constantly get more of everything. Our beliefs are a reflection of our personal experiences and what we have been taught by society. Ultimately, our beliefs create our reality. So, if you wonder why you experience fear, anxiety, depression, or a constant sense of wanting more all the time, these are the reasons.
We tell ourselves we want to be happy, but we go about it in an entirely wrong way simply out of ignorance. We think that just maybe if we gain the recognition, the likes, the promotion, the money, the dream spouse, tons of friends, the big house or the fancy car, then we will be fulfilled and complete, but we soon come to find that we never are. Eventually, we get used to everything, and thus, you very well could achieve every dream you ever wanted and it still wouldn’t be enough. You will then very likely become even more depressed, because after you get everything you ever thought you wanted and you’re still not happy – what is left? What’s the point?
Like any substantial problem, in order to truly fix it, you cannot just fix the surface or put a band-aid on it. Instead, you have to dig deep down to the root of the issue, pull it out completely and replace it with truth. In this case, trying to fix the surface would be telling yourself things like, “Don’t be anxious.” “Why are you depressed? You have nothing to be sad about.” “I’ll just focus all my energy on working hard and getting what I want. After I get it, then I will be happy.” These things we frequently tell ourselves in an attempt to feel better don’t work, because the core issue hasn’t been uprooted, seen as a lie, and then replaced with truth. The core issue of course is the belief that we alone are not enough.
If you truly believe you are enough, you will not need anything. You will not crave outside validation, fancy things, or a high status. You will still receive some of these things, as true security in oneself is a magnet for manifestation (but that’s a whole other topic for another day 🙂 ), and yes, it will be nice to get those things, and yes, you should display gratitude for them if you receive them. But if you lose them, or don’t get them on time, or in the way in which you yourself would choose, it will not rattle you. This is because you know that you are enough, just as you are, and you always will be. It doesn’t matter if others reject you if you believe you are enough. You won’t lose anything. If people say nice things to you, that’s great, but that’s extra; you don’t need it. Your happiness doesn’t depend upon their approval.
The funny thing about the mind is that it doesn’t care what you tell it, it simply believes whatever you tell it. Think about it. If you continuously tell yourself things like, “I’m so stupid. I could never do that. My life is pathetic. She’s so much better/smarter/prettier than me. He’s so much more successful than me. I’m worthless.” After thinking thoughts like this enough times, your mind is going to internalize it, and it will become an automatic thought response. With negative thoughts being your mind’s automatic response to any given situation, how do you think you are going to feel, both mentally and physically? Obviously not great, because your emotions are bodily projections of your thoughts. This is why we often feel sick or pain for unexplained reasons. It stems from too many negative thoughts over a substantial period of time, looking for an outlet.
Fortunately, there is a cure, and it really is quite simple. Since the mind believes whatever you tell it, begin to tell it great things!
As I mentioned, in the beginning of your practice this may be uncomfortable or difficult. You see, our minds like what is familiar and they avoid what is unfamiliar. Because praising ourselves is usually very foreign to our minds, our minds don’t like it. It forces them to work harder, and to be honest, our minds are quite lazy. They want to take the path of least resistance, the one that has been traveled many times over, because it’s easier.
But you are not your mind. You have a mind, and thus you can tell it what to do, with practice. So tell your mind you don’t care if it is uncomfortable or has to work a bit, you are going to praise and love yourself from now on. As Marisa Peer says, “Make praise familiar, and criticism unfamiliar.” You do this by praising yourself over and over again until it becomes the norm.
Teach your mind to only accept praise and to reject destructive words. How many times has someone complimented you, only for you to say something negative about yourself back? While you may think this is humble, it’s really only hurting you as it reinforces the mind’s negative beliefs about yourself, whether you consciously realize it or not. So the next time someone gives you a compliment, stop hindering your happiness and just take it! On the other hand, if someone says something negative to you or about you, choose not to let it in. If someone told you they hated you because you were an alien from Mars, would it hurt you all that much? No, because you know without a doubt that what they said is not true. You would just think they are some crazy person talking nonsense. Therefore, if you know without a doubt that their intentionally hurtful words, whatever they may be, (“You are so stupid, I hate you, nobody likes you, etc.”) aren’t true, then you can brush them off and move on about your day, completely unaffected.
Do you ever find yourself upset because you feel unappreciated or not acknowledged? What do you wish others would say to you? Do you wish your boss would tell you what a great job you’ve done, or do you wish your partner would tell you how attractive you are? Instead of waiting around for others to say it to you, say it to yourself. Yes, it might feel fake and forced at first, but over time it will rewire you mindset and will become a part of your core belief system. And again, if you do this, then you won’t crave outside validation in order to feel okay with yourself, because you will already be okay with yourself.
Your mind responds to two things, the pictures you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. Think about it- the things you’ve done in your life that beforehand you felt extremely excited about- what were you telling yourself? What were you picturing in your mind? I highly doubt if you went into something feeling excited that you were picturing embarrassment, failure, death, or any other negative scenario prior to the actual event. I also highly doubt that you were telling yourself how afraid you were, or how stupid you were going to look while doing it. You can’t have negative thoughts and a happy life!
So often, we wonder why we say we want something, but when the time comes around to do it, we feel another way. It’s all because of the pictures we have created in our head and the words we have said to ourselves about the situation.
Want to get in shape but never do? What have you been telling yourself?
If it is along the lines of “I want to workout….but it’s so hard, I don’t have time, I don’t feel like it, I dread exercising, I’m so out of shape it will take forever to reach my goals… etc.” Then guess what? Your mind thinks, “Working out?! You make that sound hard and painful. My job is to avoid all things painful. Therefore, I’m not going to give you any motivation whatsoever to do it!” And thus, we don’t work out, or we give up very quickly upon starting.
Or perhaps you want to move up in your career, but it requires a great deal of harder work than you are used to, or public speaking which terrifies you, or something else that makes you uncomfortable. You think you want it so bad, but every time you get ready to go to work or do what you need to do to get to where you want to be, you start to feel sick. Headache, nauseous, shaky, whatever form it comes in for you…why do you feel this way? Well, once again, what have you been telling yourself or picturing in your mind about this situation? More than likely, the accumulation of negative thoughts and pictures are the cause of these feelings.
So what do you do when you want to do something, but you can’t get your motivation up or your fear down? Tell yourself, “I’m choosing to do this, I’m choosing to feel great about this. I want to work, I want to reach my goals. I enjoy doing everything it takes to get to where I want to be.” Your brain will work with you when it thinks it’s doing what you like or when it thinks it’s doing the choosing. So tell your brain what you want, don’t let it tell you. You are so much stronger than any thoughts that come to you. Eventually, after much practice, once your mind is familiar with positive thoughts, negative thoughts may try to come, but they won’t stick. Your mind will instantly reject them because they won’t be aligned with your core belief system that says you are enough, and therefore you will be able to wave them away without any sort of confusion or resistance.
In conclusion, tell yourself “I am enough” repeatedly, everyday. Write it down. Post it in random places around your house. Set an alert on your phone that tells you this, whatever helps you. I promise the more you see it and speak it, the more you will begin to believe it. And once you start to believe it, your whole life will change. You will be happier, satisfied, and more confident. I am a prime example of someone who was always anxious, always unhappy, super insecure, and to be honest, felt quite hopeless. Now, I am the opposite of all of those things. Learning to love myself set me free.
To learn more about the concept of ‘being enough’, watch the full-length video featured below!