“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody” – Maya Angelou.
There’s beauty, strength and stillness in Maya Angelou’s words; there’s also a lot to love about someone who values themselves. It is the quickest way to a restful night’s sleep, a deep sense of inner calm and an unfurrowed forehead, give or take a bathroom cabinet filled with GoW’s Neurophroline Serum.
Enough is such a small word and yet so very loaded. Call it acceptance, self-love or call it confidence if you like, but why aren’t we championing it more? The pursuit of enough flies in the face of the pursuit of everything. Being enough means that you don’t have to try to become more valid, more acceptable, more beautiful or more loved because you already know that you are all of those things.
Being enough does not mean you have to be alone either or that you can’t ask for help. What it does mean is that you understand how much you do need. You also understand your worth, surely one of the cornerstones on the path to true happiness.
When you know you are enough (that’s the ‘warts and all’ you by the way, not the photoshopped version) it is easier to ask for help. It’s easier to acknowledge your weaknesses, because you have long accepted your imperfections. You know that they don’t reflect your worth, that you are learning – and failing – everyday (that this is normal) because this is what it means to grow. You have readily embraced weaknesses because you have already embraced you.
Living with a sense of enough begins with giving to yourself first, the internal validation of knowing we are valuable “as is” however many degrees we have, however popular we or how rich or poor we might be. It is also damn sexy to boot. Because let’s face it, the list is endless as to how we are conditioned by society or someone else’s Instagram feed to feel “less than”.
Even those who appear outwardly successful, who appear to have it all, so often feel inadequate and beat themselves up internally. Stop comparing yourself to others because therein lies madness. You were enough before, you are enough now, and you will continue to be enough as you become more of who you were made to be. Believing that when the world keeps telling you otherwise is brave. We should learn not to be defined by others; this is something we have to take responsibility ourselves so go and own it.
Of course it isn’t easy. I’m trying to figure out how many people I know who actually think like this. Human nature would have us every other which way. Possibly it explains the rising of God awful face tweakments or the incessant body/life/career/relationship/wardrobe/house shaming. It doesn’t help that we live in a society of more, more, more even as the march in saving the environment is slapped down before us. It’s exhausting this relentless desire to have more, buy more, be more. And lest we forget there’s the 24/ FOMOing on Instagram and also the desperate – not to mention hugely time wasting – need to share everything with everyone at any time of day.
Enough is restrained elegant and complete. For the harried, enough is also a lot less wasted time.
At the heart of it, it is valuing yourself and putting yourself first. As I’ve written before, when you put yourself first, everything in your life benefits. Loving and looking after yourself, i.e taking the time to sleep properly, eat well, breathe, exercise means that we can all live up to the many, many roles we take on. When you value your emotional health as well as your physical health, you are SO much more better equipped to take on all the challenges that are hurled your way.
This is an acceptance which does not come from external factors, instead it is something which is achieved from looking deep within ourselves. Enough is a mindset, not something we acquire. It is not something we attain by working harder, buying more, giving more to others, achieving the best—or from receiving accolades from others. You are not being immodest by valuing yourself.
Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose said, “you can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” Saying “no” and setting boundaries with work and with others who ask too much of us is often the best way to reclaiming feelings of self-worth and not only because it makes your “yes” so much more powerful. Set boundaries and stick to them. At the core of this is learning to love yourself you too.
It has always tickled me how many people can’t bear to be by themselves, because they don’t enjoy their own company. They don’t like being alone and yet, they somehow expect others to enjoy being alone with them. Oh smell the irony.
Loving and accepting yourself is the surest way to allow your relationships to blossom and bring out the best in you. And while we’re there, perhaps you need to learn to forgive yourself too? What would happen if you really believed you are enough? Now there’s a thought. Knowing that you are enough denotes true wisdom, but therein lies a whole other story.