Am I enough?
Me. The person I am. The girl, now a woman, is she really enough?
To outsiders, or just people I kept at arms length I looked so confident. The truth is I didn’t want anyone to see the real me, I was scared that if people got too close they would see the truth, they would see I wasn’t good enough.
I wasn’t enough.
When I was first dating my high school boyfriend he told me I was a snob, that he couldn’t believe I was with him because I had always thought I was’ too good’ for him. I was actually shocked when he said this to me. I never saw myself as a snob! I never saw myself as too good for anyone! He had mistaken my lack of confidence, my avoidance of talking to him as me ‘thinking I was better than him’. In actual fact it had been quite the opposite. He was the captain of the football team, he was the guy who had parties every week, everyone hung out at his house. I never thought he would be interested in the ‘shy’ girl.
That is what I had been labelled as by my family growing up, “Shy”, it would be explained to strangers when I was little if I didn’t join in or answer someone back “Oh she is just shy”. I was also “sensitive”, “emotional” and I never saw these as positives about myself. I was also the “worrier” or the “difficult one” because I asked questions, I didn’t follow rules without first understanding why they were the rules. I was curious, which I saw as a negative because when you grow up the youngest child of 4 and your dad works 2 jobs and your mum is trying to run a business, a curious child is a little annoying at times.
I didn’t feel I had much to contribute to my family. There was my eldest brother who was 8 years older than me and he was responsible, my other brother was the sporty and chatty one, and my sister 4 years older was the cute one, the well behaved one, there seemed to be no place for me to fill. I wasn’t sure why I mattered. I was loved, I never felt unloved. But I didn’t understand why I was loved. I was their child so they had to love me, but other than our biological connection I didn’t understand why I deserved to be loved.
My curiosity in many ways, I feel set me apart from my siblings, my eternal questions were seen as annoying and I loved to understand “the why”, so if my knowledge or opinion differed I wanted to hear the other side, I wanted to learn more, I wanted to be challenged. But my siblings saw this as me just having to be RIGHT all the time. I didn’t have to be right, I just loved to hear and get all the sides and opinions. To me if people agreed with me then that bored me, I wanted my mind to be stimulated. So I felt like I was difficult. I felt that everyone wanted me to shut up, they just needed a little silence.
I get it, the youngest in a family can be annoying, when they were 20, 18 and 16, they didn’t want to have debates with their 12 year old sister! Who would?
So I tried my best to shut up. To fade into the background, to agree. I buried a big part of my natural self and remained that shy girl. My mind was alive with thoughts, the thirst for knowledge, and a wild imagination. I learned to love being by myself because by myself I could write, create and be me. Only as adulthood took over I lost that too. I stopped writing and talking to myself and being creative. And I mouldered myself to please everyone else. Whatever my friends or boyfriends were into I tried to be into as well. I studied what my brother said I should at university, I was living, and I was happy enough, but I still felt I had nothing to offer. I was still afraid to show people the real me, I don’t even know if I knew the real me anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I was one of the lucky ones, I had a lovely childhood, a happy home, and so many friends through school and beyond. I was never alone, but I did always feel like somehow I was lost. I was not enough!
How can we ever be enough if we deny who we are to our very selves?
How can we ever be enough if we don’t even recognise the person we are?
I feel I must apologise for going on about myself so much in this piece, doing so much self reflection, but that is me still carrying around that same thought that no one really wants to listen to me. I wrote a post the other day which talked about the way we carry beliefs about ourselves around, and how difficult it can be to change them. I am not that same insecure girl, yet sometimes she slips out and I have to remind myself that I have come so far. I have to look at the evidence, the fact that so many people subscribe to my blog shows me that people do want to hear what I say, and maybe that they relate to my story. Ultimately that is one of the reasons I open myself up to whoever wants to read my blog, (because believe me it is not always easy opening up), I do it in the hope that it reaches people, that it helps people reflect on their own lives, and inspires them to live happier and more authentically. I hope that as you read this you know that change is possible, that the negative beliefs you may carry around about not being ‘good enough’, or ‘no one wanting to hear you’ can be changed!
Like I said changing those beliefs will not happen quickly, especially if you have built them over a lifetime, but please never believe that finding self acceptance isn’t possible. For me it has been gradual steps. It has occurred over time usually at pivotal moments where I have had to make a big choice. It can be at those moments where you stand at a cross road and your life can go one way or another. Making a decision to leave a relationship that pulls you down, making a decision to study, to change careers, to get married, or start a family. Making a decision to end a toxic friendship, making a decision to not end your life, making a decision to forgive yourself for past mistakes, for feeling weak at times, making the choice to fight for your voice to be heard! Maybe for you that crossroad is here now in front of you, so listen to your gut, even if the decision is hard, even if it will break someone else’s heart, or cause people to be mad with you, you have to fight for yourself! You have to find a way to know you are enough. Because you are enough. I am enough.
I have made mistakes, so many, but the biggest was not being me, not fighting for me, not believing I was enough. Some days I question if I am enough, sometimes being a mother and being spread so thin I feel I am failing my kids, my husband, my parents and friends, but I am still enough. No matter how many times I feel guilty for not being enough, deep down I finally know I am.
I am enough.
I always was. I just didn’t see it.
You are enough. Isn’t it time you believed it? What would life be like if you did believe it?
You are enough.
We are enough.
Thank you for joining me, love Mackenzie xx