As a self-love and body love expert, I frequently talk to women about "enoughness," that is the feeling that they are "good enough" just as they are. I know this can sometimes be a struggle as I felt "not enough" for decades, but I thought I had finally gotten past this issue of "not enoughness." And then the universe decided to test me.
I recently discovered that my ex-boyfriend is in a new relationship. The moment I found out, I felt the bottom drop out of my stomach. As we've been broken up longer than we were actually together, I couldn't figure out why I was so affected by this news. So I decided to dig a little deeper and figure out why this knowledge cut me to my core.
What I discovered floored me: My "not enoughness" had reared its ugly head again. Prior to this six-month relationship, I had been married for two decades. One of the key issues in my marriage was my infertility. I have endometriosis and after decades of synthetic hormonal therapy and four failed fertility treatments, I decided I was done trying to have kids. My ex wasn't. To make a long story short, he blamed me for my infertility for 20 years. I internalized that -- hence, my "not enoughness." After our divorce, it took about a year before I stopped blaming myself for failing to bear him a child.
A little after that, I met the man who would become my ex-boyfriend. While we had issues, my infertility was never one of them. I remember one time when I realized I was perimenopausal and my potential child-rearing days really were coming to an end. I freaked out because I thought he would leave me (20 years of programming will do that to you!) Instead he held me and told me it wasn't my fault and that I was whole and beautiful.
Although our relationship didn't last very long, it was the first time in my life I felt fully accepted for who I was as a woman. He was the first man who made me feel like I was enough just as I was -- infertility and all.
After we split, I made a conscious decision to stay single for a while -- to focus on me, to fully heal. And I thought I had. But for some reason the knowledge that he is in a new relationship made me feel rejected once again. It brought up all of my insecurities around the fear that no one will want me because I can't have kids.
The more I reflect on this fear, the more I realized what was at its core: It wasn't the rejection of me by my exes; it was the rejection of me by myself. The sting I'm feeling is that I'm still rejecting myself because I don't feel like I am "enough."
So how does one heal this feeling of "not enoughness?" I took my own advice: I meditated. I journaled. I reached out to friends for support. I wrote myself a letter asking for my own forgiveness for my self-rejection. And I cried, oh how I cried. As I let the tears flow, I felt something shift inside of me: my "not enoughness" began to feel whole again. Like maybe, just maybe, I really am enough -- perfectly imperfect just as I am.
And as the tears flowed, I decided to write myself a letter -- asking for my own forgiveness -- for how I treated myself, for how I blamed myself, for how I allowed another person to make me feel "not enough" for over 20 years.
I share part of this letter with you in the hopes that maybe it will inspire you to write one of your own.
I am so sorry. I apologize from the depths of my heart for every making you feel like you weren't enough, for focusing on your "brokenness".
I am so grateful for this sacred womb temple of mine that allows me to give birth to new life/projects/ideas -- my womb is my precious power center. I apologize for not realizing that before now.
I apologize for doubting you, for ever believing for even one second that your value was somehow tied to your beauty, work ethic, doing, producing results for others, your ability to give birth to a child.
Your value is you. You worth is you.
You, in and of yourself, are enough, just as you are.
I am so sorry I hurt you. I value you and love you wholly, deeply.
You are enough. You are more than enough. You are a creative soul, so nurturing, so giving, so beauty-full. I love you because you give your all, you keeping trying, you continue to see the good in people and situations where others might not. I love your smile and your big heart. I love your devotion to growth and self-improvement.
Here is my promise to you:
I will set boundaries to make sure your needs are met.
I will take care of you.
I accept you fully, just as you are.
I will always choose you.
I support you.
I will always be there for you.
And I will never, ever break a promise to you again.
I love you.