“I am not enough” is easily the most common limiting belief I’ve come across with my coaching clients. While I don’t know how common it is in the overall population, I can tell you it is holding a ton of people back on their paths.
I’ve been reading a lot about limiting beliefs lately, and still processing the volumes of information I’ve been taking in about what they are and what to do with them. There will be more coming from me soon on that topic, but in the meantime, I’d like to take a step back in this week’s blog to look at a bigger picture question: are we (really) enough?
If you spend any time Googling limiting beliefs, you’ll get a wealth of helpful articles, most of which tell you some version of the following: 1) put exact language around the belief that is holding you back, 2) identify where it is coming from, and 3) reframe it into positive affirmations and/or write a letter to the belief. This is certainly a helpful strategy, but is it enough to tell yourself over and over that you’re enough, or simply to process your feelings through writing, coaching, or therapy? What if these are “Band-Aids” that never really arrive at the root of the question?
I invite you to take a step back with me and consider the following bigger picture questions:
- To paraphrase a famous quote by Marianne Williamson, who are you NOT to be enough? While her quote contains religious content, I think the point stands for us all regardless of our beliefs, namely: “Your playing small does not serve the world. […] We are all meant to shine.”
- If you’re not enough, will there ever be another version of you that is somehow enough? There’s only one of you in all time – in the entire past, present, and future of humanity. Even within your own lifetime, is there some milestone you can hit in which you are suddenly enough? What does “enough” mean for you – can you actually define it?
To dive deeper into this last thought, I looked up the word “enough” in various online dictionaries. The main idea that emerged among them was the idea of a sufficient degree to fully meet a certain purpose. If we apply this to your career and/or life purpose (spoiler alert: I don’t think those two are fundamentally different), at what point do you have enough within you to fulfill your purpose? Do you need certain degrees, training, amount of money, competency, affirmations from others, skills, or something else? Who decides when you’ve met these criteria “adequately?” What is that threshold at which you become enough? As you’ve probably guessed by now, I don’t really believe there is one. Of course, there are struggles, stepping stones, and accomplishments we must have along the path (for example, if your dream is to be a teacher in a K-12 setting, obviously, you will need some certifications to do so). Those types of practical criteria aren’t what this blog is intended to shine light upon and encourage reflection – instead, the focus is the arbitrary limits we place on ourselves, often subconsciously, that hold us back from living fulfilling lives (or worse, feeling that we deserve to do so!).
The truth behind the questions and thoughts I’ve present here is that I believe you already have within you everything you need – right now, in this moment – to fulfill your purpose and live your best life. The most important question is: will you believe that you are already enough?