26 Jul I am enough from Amy Kessel
I wait patiently for the session during which my coaching client whispers, “I am enough”. It always comes. It comes after a grueling internal battle between “should be” and “am”, or a descent down a steep ravine of fear and doubt that eventually leads to a calm and peaceful valley. Some journeys are long and arduous, others seem simple because she has courageously prepared herself for what she is undertaking. Regardless of how, each client eventually arrives at this place.
I am enough.
The relief she feels in claiming her enoughness brings me to tears every time. We sit quietly, drinking in the wonder of her discovery. It’s an enormous feat and we both know it. I encourage her to say it again.
I am enough.
The realization I am enough marks a turning point for us wherever we are on our respective paths. It’s the beginning of truth telling, of settling into our skin regardless of how young or old our skin may be. It’s the self-love that mirrors the way we love others, yet have kept from ourselves until now.
For me, I am enough is a long exhale. A relaxing in the body. The hint of a smile and a slight nod. A different way of living the outlines of my life.
My story is probably similar to yours. I spent many years striving and perfecting and rehearsing and anxiously peeking over my shoulder to see if I got the nod of approval. Wanting so desperately to be sure I got it right. Looking for proof of my enoughness in the grades on my report card, the shape of my body, the words spoken by my parents. Then the diplomas, the stamps in my passport, the performance reviews.
I was constantly on the move to gather proof that I was enough. I figured I’d know it when I found my soulmate. Nope. When I fit into those great jeans. No again. Got the plum job. Uh uh. Okay, then, finally I’ll be enough when I’m living my childhood dream: husband, kids, house, career – the whole package.
Still, no. The pieces were in place but I still was not enough. Not down deep.
Then something happened while my children were very young. Enoughness came crashing down on me. I had no idea how to be a mama, and there are no training programs. So I gave the babes the things I instinctively summoned to love them : my attention, my body, my adoration. I was not a perfect mother. And I was enough.
At the same time my marriage was rocky and unsupportive, so I stopped looking to my husband to tell me what I yearned to know about myself – and I turned inward instead, where I found my enoughness intact, eager, fresh, alive. It was ready to be brought out into the world even while my relationship was in shreds and I was a sleep-deprived new mama fumbling around in unfamiliar territory. I realized that in the times of not knowing, when I didn’t rehearse or strive or prepare, I was enough. And when the outward reflection wasn’t giving me what I wanted, I found it by looking inside.
I fell in love with this new knowledge. So I made a practice out of being enough.
Once the floodgates were opened, I found I could reclaim enoughness again and again. As a perfectionist overachiever, enoughness is a balm for my old wounds. A lightness set in, a new delight in messiness and imperfection. Amazingly, I found I am enough even when things go sideways. When I underestimate, or overcompensate. When I misstep, or say something awkward, or embarrass my kids. Or myself. Once I let myself off the hook, I could relax and appreciate the pieces of my life in a whole new way.
I wish I could say it’s a permanent change, but it’s not. Knowing enoughness is a practice for me, and I still have moments of profound disappointment, self-doubt and shame. The overachiever in me doesn’t like to stay in the back seat, so I work hard to keep her there while also being authentic in my commitment to my work and my passions. The balance between doing things well and being enough is a delicate one, and I am always aware of it.
I’m not surprised when my clients show up with their own version of the same story. I listen, and offer support, and hold space for them while they poke holes in the shroud they have wrapped around themselves. I bear witness to the remarkable truth revealing itself before me, and nod in agreement when she acknowledges for herself and for all of us, I am enough. Right now. As I am.
About Amy Kessel
Amy Kessel is a life coach, mama, yogini, and recovering perfectionist. She is enchanted by women who are hungry for change, and writes about personal transformation at www.amykessel.com. Click here to receive her free eGuide, Reclaiming Your Brilliance.
Photo courtesy of Valeria Spring of The Red Balloon Photography.