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The Fear of Not Enough

To place my hands over my heart, take a deep breath, and let go of that something.  I attempt to do this many times throughout the day but I am unable to identify the exact think that should be let go first.  There are too many to let go; each tourtuous thought linked intricately to another like an endless string of pearls waiting to be shed.

What do I feel most strongly?  Do I first let go of the thing that brings me the most fear?  Or perhaps that which brings me sadness? Or maybe it’s supposed to be the thing that I am holding on tightest to, in an attempt to avoid processing those feelings for which I’m most dreading.  Without knowing the answer, I finger each individual pearl and then place it back down as carefully as it was lifted. Regardless of my care, the string feels shorter – tighter – against the cool and sweaty skin of my neck.

I feel my old patterns returning.  These are patterns that are so well engrained in my personality that they remind me of spinal pattern reflexes that are completely out of voluntary control.  When you touch a burning flame, your hand is withdrawn even before you feel the pain of the fire. And just as such, when I experience the trauma of inadequacy, I unknowingly search for the comfort of validation.

I need to let go of the inadequacy.  This is where I need to start. However, there are so many inadequacies intertwined within themselves that it’s impossible to determine the one that unravels them all.

My inadequacy: why am I inadequate and is it really the truth?  I’ve been made to feel inferior. Not good enough. Ashamed of something that I did (without knowing that I even did it).  I’ve explored this beyond reason and with everyone I hold close to me. And logic says, time and again, that there is no inadequacy that really exists.  But how can I really let myself believe that? How can I truly and honestly believe that this isn’t about me? This is the reflex – the immediate conclusion – when I am given blame, I believe that it must be my fault… That it must be my flaw… That like Lady Macbeth, I will never succeed in scrubbing out that damned spot.

How do I let myself believe that there is no spot to be scrubbed away?  Do I point the blame at their inadequacy? Did they let me down? Did they fail to care for me, to nurture me, to groom me, and let m blossom the way they should have?  Is this what I should believe? Because if I can believe this, then perhaps I can believe that I am adequate… or even that I am more than adequate. The truth is really easy enough to see, it’s just against that reflex to believe.  To believe such a truth means that I have to remove that response that has been ingrained from forever ago. This is not easy work, but I cannot accept the fault and shame that stems from their mistakes.

They are inadequate.  Not me.

My inability (or even inadequacy, if you will) to accept, believe, and live this truth is really where it all begins.  My patterned reactions and behaviours rear their disruptive heads and bear their sharpened claws when I am confronted by one simple belief: that I am not enough.  

I want to believe that I have grown and weeded away these unhealthy and destructive behaviours, but the habits will never completely extinguish.  For a long while I accepted that it would take work, effort, and constant vigilance to recognize when I was being led astray by these reflexes. But this time I didn’t.  And my omission had led me down a path of more self destruction and torture*. It needs to stop here. Unlike a burning flame, the threat of inadequacy is not in itself the threat. Rather, it is the reflexive, instantaneous, and shameful response that causes all the damage.  It is time to retrain my brain to stop responding with such a harmful reflex.

I will end this post here and give myself time to think about the downstream effects that have resulted from my blind acceptance of my own inadequacy.  *I will write more, in subsequent posts, about the ways that this one quick and almost indestiguisahble patterned response has made this time in my life even more painful than it has needed to be.  

For now I will finally take the chance to place my hands over my heart, take a deep breath, and with that exhale I will release the erroneous belief that I am inadequate.  And with the next breath, I will take into my body courage, confidence, and the believe that I AM ENOUGH.

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