I am Enough from Jen Lemen

I am Enough from Jen Lemen

I am enough.  

Even if the people I love are not always happy.

Even if I still don’t know how to balance a checkbook or save money or pay my bills on time.

Even if I never lose this last twenty pounds.

Even if I don’t know what to do about my problems.

Even if I am incredibly hard on myself.

Even if my house is a mess.

Even if I cannot get it through my head that I am dearly loved.

Even if I’m paralyzed with indecision.

Even if I don’t understand.

I am enough.

It’s difficult for me to say this, because I’m still hoping I’ll get it all right.  I’m still holding out for that miraculous day when I will understand once and for all what it means to live in this moment, and I will know how to behave so that everything turns out all right.  I hate to consider that perhaps that day is not coming, and that I will have to move forward as I am right now.

 Imperfect, tender, strong, mistaken, fragile, worried, flawed, beautiful.

This is who I am and who I will always be.  I may become a little bit more or less this or that way, but essentially I will be the same.  I will be myself–a girl who desperately needs to be loved exactly as she is–even if for all of her punishing and exacting efforts, she never gets much better than she is right now.  A woman who has no idea what to do but who gives her whole heart and cannot bring herself, despite the odds, to stop trying.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve mastered the art of being my own dear self, that I’ve made peace with the truth of my imperfection, but that would not be the truth.  Everyday I wake up and wonder if I can be loved for who I really am.  And everyday I pick up the phone and ask the same question, over and over again, to the dear souls in my life who love me enough to keep answering.

If I stop giving, if I stop trying so hard, if I stop helping, do you think I can still be loved?  Just for being myself?

No matter how many times I ask, I always forget the answer (like someone with short term memory loss in the movies who has to make sense of her life over and over again) but the other day a friend from a faraway told me this in little bits of broken English, and for some reason I haven’t forgotten it yet.

People who love you, love you.

And people who don’t, don’t.

There’s nothing you can do to stop love.

You are enough.

I don’t know how long this thought will last in my mind, but for now I’m hoping it’s the God’s-honest truth. 

That love never dies. 

That love cannot help but keep leaning towards you. 

That the most radical thing any of us can ever do is find the courage and the forgiveness to choose to love our own damn selves the way we love others–even if we do so imperfectly. 

Even if we can barely believe, that just a little is more than enough.

………..

About Jen Lemen

 

Jen Lemen uses photography, storytelling and cross-cultural friendship to explore the power of dreams and the essence of hope. Her current projects include Mondo Beyondo, an online class about dreaming big, and Picture HOPE, a global photography assignment that carries her around the world finding stories of radical trust and remarkable courage. A chronic doubter and aspiring mystic, Jen is learning what it means to be vulnerable and brave, fragile and strong–all at the same time. Jen is currently co-leading the Mondo Beyondo Summer Dream Lab–an eight week experiment in rest, play and the power of kindness.

Featured photo courtesy of Stephanie Roberts.

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29 Comments
  • myriam
    Posted at 18:33h, 22 June Reply

    Imperfect, tender, strong, mistaken, fragile, worried, flawed, and beautiful are your best looks.

  • Jackie
    Posted at 19:08h, 22 June Reply

    Oh, thank you – thank you for this. It spoke to my soul since I feel so many of those same things. Thank you!

  • jane
    Posted at 01:56h, 23 June Reply

    this made tears from somewhere very deep inside of me…. thank you for honouring your imperfect self … so liberating and generous..it gives me courage to hold the same thing possible for me

  • Lindsey
    Posted at 01:59h, 23 June Reply

    "I’m still holding out for that miraculous day when I will understand once and for all what it means to live in this moment, and I will know how to behave so that everything turns out all right. I hate to consider that perhaps that day is not coming, and that I will have to move forward as I am right now."

    Ummm … me too. Thank you for saying it so much more eloquently than I ever could. Presence, acceptance, clarity is what I write and think about all the time. And the terror, for me, of letting go of living for the next thing is that once I do that I’m left with …. this. What if THIS is what it is about? All there is? But also, to really look at THIS, my actual, flawed, gorgeous, painful life … well, it is like staring into the sun.

    Thank you for your wisdom, here and everywhere you are.

    xo

  • mindy
    Posted at 02:02h, 23 June Reply

    this is awesome. and just what i needed to read today.

    i love the part, "people who love you, love you
    people who don’t, don’t.
    there is nothing you can do to stop love.
    you are enough."

    wow. that really does say it all. sometimes simple words are the loudest.

  • Alessandra Cave
    Posted at 03:21h, 23 June Reply

    Beautiful friend, Jen. I am one those those people who loves you. I love you head to toe, heart to soul. You are a gem! I think i’m going to print this one to remind myself about all the things that make me feel as if I am lacking all the time. Thank you for being exactly the way you are. xoxx

  • chris
    Posted at 04:20h, 23 June Reply

    I will tell you anytime you need, you are enough. And me? I love you, plain and simple. That’s it.

  • Jeanne
    Posted at 13:19h, 23 June Reply

    This is something to take to heart. Jen is right – we all are enough!
    Reading this post is a great way to start my day. Thanks!
    xo
    jeanne

  • melissa
    Posted at 14:19h, 23 June Reply

    thank you, jen and tracey, from that soulful place. xo

  • marina
    Posted at 15:01h, 23 June Reply

    Thank you so much Jen, for writing these words, for sharing your difficulties and your wise words.
    "I am enough. Even if the people I love are not always happy.": this is so difficult for me as well! thank you for writing it, it is very helpful to see it written and to know that I am not alone in this path!

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 20:34h, 23 June Reply

    Jen ~ I had to go back and read this over twice to really soak it in. So powerful, so honest, so brave. It really touched my heart. I love when you said: I am enough Even if I still don’t know how to balance a checkbook or save money or pay my bills on time. How often I bet myself up for this little thing.

    Thank you for stopping me dead in my tracks. You are so beautiful. And just as you are…you are enough. People will never stop loving you for you….they will indeed lean into you. Because just being you you draw people in.

  • stef
    Posted at 21:48h, 23 June Reply

    Jen Lemen is one woman who I love entirely ~ a beautiful soul who I can’t imagine not in my life somehow. Such a reminder to us all – we are loved!!

    xo

  • Connie
    Posted at 22:53h, 23 June Reply

    Thank you so much. I needed to read this.
    Big hugs!

  • Lisa
    Posted at 14:37h, 24 June Reply

    EXACTLY what I needed today…and each day after. Thank you for such deep wisdom – and a gorgeous photo to accompany it.

  • Trece
    Posted at 17:38h, 24 June Reply

    "I will be myself–a girl who desperately needs to be loved exactly as she is–even if for all of her punishing and exacting efforts, she never gets much better than she is right now. A woman who has no idea what to do but who gives her whole heart and cannot bring herself, despite the odds, to stop trying."

    Who ga you the right to write my life? I am crying so hard I cannot see the keys. I keep trying to beat it into my brain that I AM enough and I NEVER get it. And I keep asking why and feeling ashamed.

    You are enough and you are wonderful.

  • Jennifer
    Posted at 01:03h, 28 June Reply

    So I’m just catching this and wow! Were you writing this about me? to me? for me? My husband and I have been having rather heat talks about just this topic and me learning to "love" me. I’m absolutely dumfounded as I feel these exact words in my heart, have been told these exact things to me by loved ones, and here it is in words….words I could never find to express it and a with a voice, a voice I have an excruciatingly difficult time finding.

    Thank you.

  • Hanna
    Posted at 19:59h, 28 June Reply

    Thank you for I Am Enough.

    Just as equally grateful to all those who posted comments.

    At this moment, I Am Enough is my guardrail while posted comments are my safety net.

    Thank you to all of you out there.

    Hanna

  • Cara
    Posted at 01:00h, 29 June Reply

    Just beautiful. I never thought of this – "That the most radical thing any of us can ever do is find the courage and the forgiveness to choose to love our own damn selves the way we love others–even if we do so imperfectly."

  • brigid gallagher davies
    Posted at 02:35h, 30 June Reply

    thank you so much-you brought tears to my eyes. i was never allowed to be enough. iwas told "who do you think you are-those things(dreams,aspirationsbroccoli(really!) are for other people,not for you." i am 56 years old and i am just now starting to believe that i am enough-talented enough,beautiful enough, smart enough, loved enough, to let go of all those long dark years of believing that i didn’ deserve anything, that i was allowed to want things, to become someone worthy of love, worthy of taking a chance to try and make my dreams-the dreams i wasn’t allowed to have come true. thank you for giving me something else to hold onto-thank you for being you and for letting me share your wisdom and strength.

  • Brooke
    Posted at 20:43h, 30 June Reply

    Thank you for this post. It touched me deeply because I was sure that it was me writing it. I couldn’t believe someone could identify so much with my story. Here is to unearthing oneness by telling the raw honest truth.

  • Susan
    Posted at 12:00h, 06 July Reply

    I got about six lines into your post and the tears surfaced. Being enough, within myself, often seems out of reach-I am so busy ‘being’ for others-whether it is work, family, friends-that my ‘I’ disappears. Thanks for the reminder that underneath it all ‘I’ am still there.
    Blessings-S.

  • kmichalene
    Posted at 17:56h, 09 July Reply

    I think this is beautiful. It made me sob but not because it made me sad. It caused me to feel in sync with another person. And after reading the comments, I feel in sync with several more people. Thank you for speaking from your heart and to my heart.

  • Kerilyn
    Posted at 20:00h, 16 July Reply

    Hey there – Found you via Kelly Rae – read this – TOTALLY where I am right now. Learning to be IN THE MOMENT. ACCEPTING where I am. Sigh.. I cannot tell you how at peace I am every time I relate to someone in the same boat as myself… Case in Point – Jen Lemens posting…. It makes me feel less crazy – and yes.. a bit more of being good enough. Thank You.

  • boho girl
    Posted at 23:50h, 19 July Reply

    thank you.

    one of my readers directed me here in my tenderness.
    i type each word tear soaked and nodding my head.
    more permission. i didn’t realize i needed more permission to feel all of this, until now.

    love to you, jen for weaving so intricately the way you do into my heart.
    xo

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 23:55h, 22 July Reply

    I had a hard time even to start reading these because of the place I’m at in my life right not and not believing in myself not thinking I could ever be ENOUGH. Then I got to Jen’s WOW I’m a mess but boy did it make sense. So thank you to all you great people who are enough who shared your stories! Thank you Tracey for this

  • Jen Osborn
    Posted at 15:40h, 05 January Reply

    oh Jen, I SO needed to read this today! I have the same virus … the one day I will be the perfect me one … the one that whispers in our ears late at night that we are not who we could be. I love you so much for writing this – YOU are AMAZING and truly enough. I don't even know you, and now I too love you JUST THE WAY YOU ARE THIS VERY MOMENT. Imperfect … messy … wide open … strong enough to post these thoughts.

    YOU ARE AWESOME!

    xox
    Jenb

  • littlepurplecow
    Posted at 05:21h, 01 March Reply

    Whew. Beautiful.

  • Leah
    Posted at 12:59h, 21 November Reply

    I found this page the other night through a random search and it resonated with me so much that I had to post on the topic too – "I am enough"! Thank you all for sharing so honestly!

  • annie
    Posted at 16:52h, 02 July Reply

    Jen,
    Thank you. I really needed this now. I am struggling. This post made me feel less alone.
    Annie

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