For so long, I’ve been feeling “not enough”. Here are some of the thoughts and narratives constantly played in my head. I’m so behind in career compared to others my age. I wasn’t making enough money. I didn’t have enough savings - if anything urgent were to happen (what if I needed an emergency surgery and I didn’t have money so I died - replace “I” with any of the family members and that’s even scarier). I’m not smart enough. I’m not confident enough. I’m not healthy enough. I’m not selfless enough. I’m not friendly enough. I’m not empathetic enough. I’m just so not good enough.
Reflecting back, I’m realizing that I lived with such negative thoughts and energy. Sure, these have functioned as a fuel for me. I've worked hard. I've put 1000% of myself into whatever I was doing. I've been on fire. And I have had achievements that I’m proud of along the way. But the constant pressure of “not enough” stopped me from fully recognizing and enjoying the achievements.
Only very recently I started challenging myself to think differently. I now am able to catch myself when the negative thoughts and narrative of “I’m not enough” are creeping in. I say that is a really meaningful step forward. Because before, I was not even aware when I was caught in the spiral of the negative thoughts.
The most recent moment when I stopped myself from heading toward the familiar “I’m not enough” route is when I was having a vacation in Porto, Portugal. I was in a beautifully designed reading room at a gorgeous hotel. I was reading a book and feeling so happy. Just so content, peaceful, and happy. Then these thoughts were coming to me:
“Do I deserve this really happy moment? Am I wasting hard earned money on this absolutely gorgeous hotel? Yea, we got a deal on it and so spent less than expected but still… I could’ve saved the money and spent this time on something else that is more productive…”
I noticed my that these thoughts were coming and affecting my mood. Before too long, I put a stop to it.
So you see, these thoughts visit me not only when I’m deep in a giant hole of imposter syndrome but also when I’m in my happy place.
Another dimension to all of these is that I don’t have a clear idea what “enough” means. I believe (well, I know) this has been one of the reasons behind the constant thoughts of “not enough”. When you don’t know what “enough” means, nothing is enough. When nothing is enough, you constantly strive for “more”, whatever it is that you are pursuing. And you are left to feel “not enough”.
Again, this constant push for "more" does encourage you to stretch yourself. I welcome the push to stretch myself. What I didn't know but have recently realized is that I should welcome it only in a healthy dose.
I am still working on defining what “enough” and “abundance” mean to me. It doesn’t come natural to me. It will take some work. What are the negative thoughts that have been holding you back? Do you have a definition for your “enough” and “abundance”?