A Mindful Connection
“When will I ever be enough?” is the question many of my clients have asked me. That question comes from women of all ages.
What or who has made their inner core of worthiness seem to be non-existent?
It isn't only women who feel this lack of being 'enough'. Men also grow up with a lack of self worth. But with them it manifests in a different way. They tend to stuff it down and then, generally speaking, wear a mask of denial, covering it up in a variety of ways.
Most of my life I felt like I was never enough. I had low self-esteem and misinterpreted others behaviour or comments due to this. I took “taking things personally” to a whole new level; which is what we do when our 'worthiness' foundation is weak.
It makes for an uncertain life if you constantly question whether you ever measure up in any situation.
There will be very few of you who read this who will not be able to relate. I believe issues around self esteem are almost at epidemic proportion and I think it has been fanned by societal influence.
The messages that we receive from all aspects of media imply that we can never be skinny enough, pretty enough, young-looking enough, successful enough, smart enough or sexy enough.
Ageism is rampant and boomers are heading in droves to salons and medical professionals who can ‘erase’ lines and make us look younger, implying that a youthful appearance is better than normal aging. The message is that we are not ‘enough’ if we age normally. “Wrinkle free” has become a cliché in the cosmetic industry.
The message of never ‘being enough’ is constantly reinforced, because realistically, nobody would ever be able to achieve the perfection that is presented as being normal.
While the women's movement has helped to bump us into new thought and behaviour patterns, it seems children are influenced in a way that leaves them feeling like they are not good enough.
Girls as young as six are beginning to become aware of body image, so they start to feel 'less than' in elementary school and these feelings follow them and grow as they do. They have been set up to compare themselves with the unrealistic images they see on TV, the Internet, magazines and other media.
Our focus, sadly, has become all about image and consumerism.
We can learn how to control our thoughts and how we process information. We can mindfully learn to block out messages that do not make us feel good about ourselves.
We must learn to celebrate our uniqueness and not give up what makes us different by becoming someone we aren’t.
Are you in an unhappy relationship?
Do you want a relationship primarily because you do not feel ‘whole’ without a partner?
Are your decisions fear-based?
Do you feel like a chameleon, changing the essence, the inner core of who you are, dependent upon the imagined or real expectations of others?
On April 27th, I will team up with Lynn Moore (Intuitive Coach/Mentor) of Inspirational Goaling and together, we will be offering a day-long workshop entitled “Will I Ever Be Enough” for women of all ages.
Join us on this empowering day and find your personal confidence. You may come in asking “Will I Ever Be Enough?”, but know you will leave with the tools that will allow you to say, “I Am Enough!”
For more information go to: www.EverBeEnough.com
The journey to get to where we want to be can be fraught with challenge so enormous that it may seem to be almost impossible. We sometimes really believe that we will not achieve what we hope to achieve.
That thought has the power to stop us in our tracks. Everything begins in the mind and our thoughts have incredible power. We believe and subsequently achieve what we think.
Sometimes our own minds are sabotaging us, due to the power of what we perceive to be real. This perception has been coloured by our life experience.
Perhaps we have learned at the knee of a well intentioned parent who looked at life with skepticism; or perhaps we have had a run of negativity in the things that have or have not happened to us; or perhaps we unknowingly (subliminally) buy into the negative media that surrounds us.
But there is a key to stopping those thoughts, brushing them aside and moving forward. Know that everything is temporary. We can influence the time that we have right now, in this moment but have no control over the future, so it is futile to worry ahead of when things will happen.
'Temporary' can be defined by our own personal measurement of time. Do you notice that when things are going well in your life, time seems to speed up? Then, when we are being challenged and are feeling stuck, time seems to drag like never before?
A busy challenged brain moves forward with purpose, while a not so busy (and perhaps depressed) brain focuses on ”what isn't” and this adds to the frustration and “grows” the issue that can keep us stuck on the ol' gerbil wheel of our mind.
There will always be issues in our lives that we have no control over, but the one thing that we do have control over is ourselves and how we choose to respond and think about situations and events.
Happiness and satisfaction come with having goals that keep life moving along in a positive direction. Whether our goal is to walk for 15 minutes daily, or to help someone else, or to stop snacking at 7:00 pm every evening, or to finally get to a project we have been procrastinating about, the payoff is the feeling of accomplishment when the goal has been achieved.
It is important to have an achievable realistic goal every day if you feel yourself floundering about emotionally. Personal goals can assist us in sending positive messages to our brain putting us in the driver's seat of our thoughts. This will help us to stay focused on resolution, and keep us moving ahead with some positivity and purpose.
Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” He knew that by keeping focused on the end result (the goal) we would eventually come out the other end. Challenges in life are temporary – depending on how we think about them.
If you feel there is a cloud hanging over you every step of the way, know that it is a temporary part of your life's interesting journey.
The great Churchill also said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”
Remember when we had to go to the library to get information? (And we still do use that resource – a beautiful new one at that).
If you were really lucky (keeping with the ‘remember when’ theme), you had your own set of Encyclopedias purchased from a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.
Now we say, “Just Google it” when we want information.
The computer has become the encyclopedia of yester-year with the information quite literally at our fingertips. It has brought with it some interesting challenges (okay - for some of us – ahem).
I’m in the Boomer age bracket, plus I’m someone who loves to collect words. I have many dictionaries, several thesaurus', books on weird words, unusual words and much more.
I have had a relationship with words from a young age. I love the sound of them as they roll off my tongue and I’m nearly orgasmic when some brilliant word-meister like Rex Murphy, uses a word that is deliciously unusual – and is descriptive beyond belief.
Screens do not speak to me the way paper does. I have to squint and lean in and the glare makes my eyes watery. It’s quite unpleasant and I have to consciously use one section of my tri-focals to focus.
I love paper, (all types, all colours, I'm not a paper-ist) and it feels lovely as I hold it in my hands and my eyes caress the page...sigh...reading the lovely words (and I prefer 14 pt font size, due to the aforementioned vision issue) .
But I digress.
I am in the middle of a move. I have lived happily in the same place for eleven years. Need I say more? It became obvious to me that I did not live with the ‘one thing comes in and one thing goes out’ rule. Groan.
I have collected and saved words (and other stuff – and never knew I was a closet saver – OMG!!) for eleven years. Who knew a human being could save so many words? But I blame it all on the inventors of the computer. They gave me an encyclopedia in my home that goes well beyond even an imagined word utopia.
And the infamous “they” thought the computer would be environmentally friendly and that we’d use less paper.
Ah, the myth makers are at it again.
I am confessing publicly (sigh) that I managed to save and collect eight drawers of fabulously fascinating information that has filled said filing cabinets until they are bursting at the seams.
I have purged myself down to six and I’m hoping, in the next week or so, to cleanse even more and only be left with four. (legal sized and deep).
Just Google it. Uh-huh. Right. Extremely dangerous territory for yours truly. When I hear, “Just Google it”, it turns “Google” into a verb – which means action and this means I have to print everything – more action – and it goes on and on and on and my head spins with word possibilities and it becomes a slippery slope of wonderful words on paper. I’m printing! I’m printing!
I stand before you now (well, I’m sitting actually) and I make the following promise to the world, the environment and to me:
“I shall not print everything that seems to be fascinating, interesting, educational, quirky, cute, wise, insightful or brilliant. I shall, instead, save it on a memory stick, or a CD, or on the computer itself in a nice tidy little folder.”
The paper has left the building. Honest! (Okay - so why is my nose growing?)
“I sat here and contemplated suicide” was scribbled in red on a bench by a bus stop. The despair in those words stopped me in my tracks.
I was on my way to my office early one morning when I saw those sad words, and they pulled at my heart. It doesn't matter if they were legitimate or not, or if they were the scribblings of a youth who thought it may be amusing. The message is still the same. Notice me. Care about me. I'm here.
There are many reasons that send someone to the brink of self destruction. Loss of any kind can add to the burden of an already challenged life (death, job, financial, health, friendship, etc). Unresolved emotional baggage from the past can present itself with the right trigger.
When we feel unbalanced emotionally, it can feel like we live with thought-chaos. This leads to fragmented thinking and behaving. Routines change and we start to fill our own mind with toxic thoughts. We can become fatigued to the point of chronic exhaustion with any predilection to addictive behaviours worsening.
If we started the journey with low self esteem, depression will likely follow bringing along with it, its partner, anxiety. So, depending on the problem, we may start our own personal journey of hell.
I wondered about this when I read the words on the bench. For many years I used to wonder why some people managed to get through a crisis and others didn’t. I now think I know. I say “think” because there are no hard and fast rules.
The pile of angst can become so overwhelming as it gets higher and deeper that you don’t know where to turn. But if you have someone in your life that cares enough about you to notice when things start to go south, you will likely be okay. You will also be surprised to learn that more people do care about you than you realized.
Then again, if your survival technique is to pretend that “everything is alright” and you are not being honest with yourself or anyone else, it may prevent friends or family from reaching out to help, because nobody can read your mind.
Sometimes we worry that if we give voice to our emotions, we will fall apart. Releasing emotion and feelings is cathartic and allows a cleansing of the mind to begin. Besides, it is such a relief to be able to tell someone.
I believe we intuitively know when we are on the slide downwards, but, generally speaking, our society does not encourage us to acknowledge and deal with mental health issues. Unlike feeling unwell physically and making a doctor’s appointment, with mental health we seem to wait until we are feeling so bad that we are almost paralyzed with depression.
Sadly, there is still fear attached to issues around mental health. Despite the best efforts of the Canadian Mental Health Association and various other agencies, the stigma still hangs around. Please check out their website and educate yourself.
If you notice that a friend, relative or colleague is behaving differently, is withdrawing, is giving belongings away, has had a major loss in their lives, or has been downsized at work, take them for coffee and ask how you can help.
If you are a person who is feeling sad most of the time, or if you are contemplating suicide, or have a friend who is, please reach out to the Crisis Line at 250-545-2339 (Vernon). All calls are confidential and they are caring listeners.
You are not alone. Allow yourself to ask for help. We promise to notice and we do care.
More A Mindful Connection articles
- Pain: our body's warning system May 20
- Dancing neurons Apr 21
- Mother Nature Jan 27
- The gift of friendship Dec 23
- Bless 'em all Nov 11
- The impact of you Oct 6
- How To Do Self Hypnosis Aug 29
- Your Hidden Emotions Jul 25
- Stress and the Amygdala Hijack Jun 27
- Accessing the subconscious mind Jun 8
- Are you cocooning? Apr 18
- The Science of Laughter Apr 4