Lately, I seem to be becoming everyone's therapist. Which I love. It's all I've ever wanted to do quite frankly. But I'm alarmed at the central theme of these conversations.
Although they all have different circumstances, and range in age from 23 to 65, every single one of these amazing, beautiful people seem to be saying one thing:
I'm not good enough.
Different variations of this theme sound like this:
1. What would he see in someone like me?
2. I'm such a crappy mother. All I do is yell at my kids.
3. I regret that I never had kids. I feel like my life has meant nothing. Like I didn't do anything great with it.
4. I just do_____ (fill in the blank) for a living. I'm embarrassed to even tell people what I do.
The list is endless... we all have our own variation on this theme. That "non-truth" we tell ourselves every day when we look in the mirror. The insecurities that 99 percent of the time nobody else sees but us.
I know each of these people intimately and when the words came out of their mouths, I almost thought they were joking because MY perception of them was quite the opposite:
1. What would he see in you? Well first of all, you're HOT, not to mention super talented, funny as all hell, and you have a huge heart to boot!
2. I just spent an entire weekend watching you with your kids and not only are you patient and attentive but I can see how much they love you. My mom did a ton of yelling when I was growing up, and I think she's the best mom in the world and was just teaching us boundaries.
3. You didn't need to have kids. You've done other amazing things in your life and it's still going. Every soul has a purpose and yours did not include having kids. God had more important and different things for you to do. Look at Oprah.
4. A job is a job is a job. It does not define who you are, nor is it a reflection of your worth. I see a sweet, deep, soulful, caring man in front of me and it never crossed my mind what you did for a living because I could care less and I see YOU.
Listen, I have my own issues with not being good enough that I've been working hard on the past 2 years. It's been a rough journey to get to the other side of that mountain. I stopped and stood still alot because it was just too hard doing the climb. I went back down the mountain a few times because you know... it was just more comfortable going downhill. I even sat down in the dirt after a particularly rough encounter with a fellow climber, put my face in my hands and cried like a bitch because that other climber tripped me up pretty good and was quite persuasive that going downhill would be easier for me.
But I'm happy to report that I persevered on that climb because I really really wanted to see what the view from the top was like. I'd never been there before and I hear from some pretty strong people the view will take your breath away. So I crested that treacherous, arduous and sometimes ugly mountain and am starting to enjoy the view from the top and see the endless possibilities on the horizon.
I was sitting at lunch just this week with two very close friends who were dissecting my most recent, "Wow... that felt like s*it" experience. The one that told me once again I'm not good enough. My one friend said it actually physically hurt her to listen to my pain talking about what someone I really liked said to me. To be fair, that "something about me" was not really personal per se. It was more about my current circumstances... my age, my marital status and the fact that I have two small children.
My second friend said, "I completely disagree. It was the BEST thing she could have heard and the fact that the person said it in a way that was extremely hurtful to her was exactly what she needed. Because she carried SHAME about it. And she needs to get over the SHAME of being divorced and having two kids. And the belief that somebody may choose to not be with her because of it."
AMEN SISTER. BINGO!
There is no room for shame or regret in my life anymore. I'm too full of love, and dreams and passion and promise to waste my life being crippled and held back by shame... thank you Brene Brown for that lesson.
See, the thing is... people we care about come into our life and trigger us for a reason. They bring up these insecurities and judgements we have about ourselves so that we can heal them. So we can face those big bullshit stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what other people will think of us... the ones we've carried around so long, we wear them like a very comfortable pair of holey pajama bottoms.
Here's the truth about those comfy holey pajamas... They're used and worn and ugly and they don't look good on you anymore. Retire those ugly suckers and splurge on a new pair because you deserve them. You deserve to feel not just comfortable, but beautiful and sexy and deserving of a brand new pair.
It was around sometime last week, I decided to retired mine. And with it, I released the "I'm not good enough story" because I'm a 44-year-old divorcee with two kids. I started really listening to what I was being told about myself on a daily basis by some pretty smart friends and I decided that their version of who I am was soooo much better than mine. So I tried it on and decided that I like the fit.
So here's my new story... I'm an extremely beautiful, smart, sexy, funny and powerful woman. I'm not my age or my marital status or unworthy of love because I'm a mom. And anyone who uses that as an excuse to not get to know me is missing out on knowing the beautiful, smart, sexy, funny and powerful woman. I won't be losing sleep over that anymore.
I have a job I'm passionate and excited about going to every day, a blossoming writing career and two amazing kids I love with all of my heart. And although their father and I decided to part ways, I am extremely grateful that he is such a good dad and for all of the amazing years I spent with him. My children have another woman in their life besides me and she does a great job loving and caring for them when I'm not there. So the way I see it, I'm pretty lucky.
Yea.. this story really resonates with me. I think I'll start telling this one.
What's your new story? Think about it, because I guarantee it's so much better than the one you're telling yourself now. This whole "I'm not good enough " thing... Retire it and accept the fact that all of us who encounter you on a daily basis think you are. Make that your new story.