From the moment that our alarm rings in the morning, we’re already not enough. We didn’t get enough sleep. We don’t have enough time to complete everything on our to-do list. We didn’t get enough likes on our Instagram post. Not enough, not enough. never enough.
My brother and I grew up in a family that valued hard work, grades, high achievement and honesty. They provided everything for us. We knew they loved us even though they never uttered those three words: I love you. My parents expected big things from us; after all, they didn’t uproot their lives and move to a foreign country for no reason. An A grade received a “good job” and a B got “why is this not an A?” Going to college was not an option, it was the rule. I learned that I was only enough when I was achieving; my worth was directly proportional to the amount of hard work that I was doing.
I worked hard in school. Got good grades. Went to college, got my bachelors and then my masters. Got a great job, moved to management level. Kept achieving but kept feeling not good enough. I was sure that when I made over 50K a year, I would be enough. Then when I made over 70K a year I would feel enough. Then over 100K. All of those things happened yet I never felt enough.
As soon as I turned 15, I got my first boyfriend. I knew I would feel complete if I had someone that said “I love you” to me. I’m ashamed to admit that I jumped from one boyfriend to another, without a break, until I was 26. I was always looking for my worth, always knowing for sure the next relationship would make me feel whole. It’s a miracle that I never got myself into serious trouble or found myself in dangerous relationships. Finally, at age 31, I got married. I knew I was totally enough then.
Then it happened. My husband asked me for a divorce. There I was, thinking my life was set, I was finally married, I had a home, a great career and I was finally enough. The divorce came out of nowhere, something we never discussed and something that never crossed my mind. But a strange thing happened. At the exact moment that he uttered those seven letters, this feeling of knowing my worth washed over me. There it was, a clear message from the universe. Nothing outside of me will ever make me enough. I knew this was the lesson that I never learned.
I vowed to never look for anything outside of me to make me whole ever again. I knew I already had everything within me to be enough. Now, I just had to believe it.
“I love and approve of myself exactly as I am.” Those ten little words changed my life.
I wrote it out and taped it on every mirror in the house. I taped it over the radio screen in my car. It was the last thing I said to myself before I went to bed and the first thing I said out loud when my alarm rang. I repeated it every single time thoughts of calling him and asking him to come back washed over me. I saved it as my background on the screen of my phone. Surprisingly, it worked. It felt fake at first. I totally didn’t believe it. But I trusted the processes. I said it anyway.
And it worked. One day, I woke up and I felt like a different person. It seemed to have happened overnight. Only it hadn’t. It had been my whole life in the making.