When you woke up this morning, what was your first thought? Was it, “Oh wow, I’m so rested and I have everything I need to face this day.”? If you are like me, it was a “to do” list followed by all the resources you lack to get the work done. It would sound like this,
“Ugh, I have a cold today. I didn’t get enough sleep. How am I going to take care of the kids and get to work today? Can I push through? I wish I had not eaten that cookie last night. I should really exercise today, but I don’t feel good. I need to do a couple loads of laundry and make the kids lunches. Can I do that and go by the dry cleaner before work?”
Whew! What a racket, right? While the above thoughts were about mundane tasks, what if I examined my self-worth, body image, marriage, career or role as a mother/daugther with the same scrunity? I’ll let you in on a secret, I do. If I do not catch myself, I can go into a spiral about how I need to “be more, strive for more, accomplish more and contribute more.” Here’s the scary part, my mind is happy to assess this list of “mores” while also reminding me how to be “less.” For example, “I should weigh less, I should not be too outspoken, I should not impose on others etc.” Thankfully for me, I do the work I do. I spend much of my time being aware of my mind and body and helping others do the same. Doing this work can ground my busy mind.
An author that I greatly admire, Brene Brown, writes that thoughts like these are steeped in “scarcity.” As she says, scarcity is the game of “not enough.” Ultimately scarcity is fear and shame based.
“I can see exactly how and why more people are wrestling with how to believe they are enough. I see the cultural messaging everywhere that says that an ordinary life is a meaningless life. And I see how kids that grow up on a steady diet of reality television, celebrity culture and unsupervised social media can absorb this message and develop a completely skewed sense of the world.”
So knowing what I do about our culture and my own mind, I often purposely choose to live a life of “enough.” I am currently wrestling with accepting that I may lead a “completely ordinary life.” I may not change the world. I might not ever write that book, or do that speaking tour. Or maybe I will and I will reset the goal-post. Either way, it all about how I approach this belief that I need to “do” to “be enough.” I know better than to believe this sentiment. So when I wake up and my mind is swimming in “not enough”, I find one thing in that moment that is okay just the way it is. I admire it and smile at it for a moment, and then I move into my day. I befriend my fear and my discomfort. I welcome them to join me throughout my day. I soften. I remember that my mind is just a part of my whole being and it is flawed too. Once I do this, I remember that my fear is here to guide me away from danger and toward joy. That’s what I believe fear really wants…what’s best for me. Whenever I forget to do this practice and I believe my fear, I’m depleted. Scarcity sucks joy.
So I choose to question my culture and my own mind when it presents me with the message that I “don’t measure up.” I’m okay if I don’t fit a standard, as long as I accept my life as is. I want to continue to practice to show up as “just enough” in my life as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a professional etc. Just enough.
I invite you to find your own way to have compassion for your mind as it struggles to make your life meaningful, especially when it uses fear and lack of acceptance as the method. Your mind is most likely doing the best it can to help you.