"You realised that it was not necessary to live a perfect life.
Exit drive to perform. Enter love.
You believed in a God that did not desire anything from you.
Just your presence, just as you are."
When I read this sentence from “Rauw Hart by Ineke Riem”, I could not help but pause. I re-read the sentence again and again, until it fully sunk in.
For someone who has her existence connected to doing, it is one of the hardest struggles I am dealing with, almost on a daily basis.
Because “Who I am when I am not making myself useful in some way?”
When I am not working or making myself useful, 9 out of 10 times Guilt steps in.
Her voice whispering in my ear that I should be doing something and not waste my time. That I should be productive.
Just reading a book all day (for fun) or Netflixing is, according to her, being lazy.
The funny thing is that I love to read. Both fiction and non-fiction and that I love to learn as well.
So reading for fun is something I enjoy and reading to learn something as well. But just a whole day of leisure is hard. Guilt will let me know for sure.
So how can I feel being good enough?
That seems to be the 1 million dollar question isn’t it?
As I struggle with the feeling of being enough the way I am, most of my clients struggle with exactly the same question. When you boil down the questions people have and the challenges they face in life, most of it comes down to feeling enough. That you are good enough just the way you are. That you don’t have to deserve love.
I have always (unconsiously) thought that I had to work very hard, to make sure everybody was happy. My right to exist was depending on the approval of others.
(sounds somewhat familiar?)
It lead to a more than a few challenges in life and I became aware of this mechanism in myself.
That is step one, becoming aware.
Now, changing the mechanism is a whole different game. As it had served me for so long. I have received promotions, recognition and praise for the hard work I have done. And it felt good.
But it was time to disconnect My Self Worth from Hard Work.
There is nothing wrong with work, there is nothing wrong with drive or ambition. But once it is connected to getting the recognition from the outside world and you are getting dependent of it, you have a challenge.
I have become aware of my challenge. And I have changed the way I view work. But the mechanism is hard-wired and difficult to change.
So how do I deal with this?
1. I listen more carefully to my body. When it is tired, when it aches, when it is hungry, and I take care of it. Which for me meant I have to live in a different rhythm as my body requires more down time than my mind would allow it.
2. If I hear the voice of Guilt I know that she is old. Even older than me, and that she is part of my family system. I know she was once protecting us, but it is not necessary anymore. It is safe to rest and play besides working. I don’t suppress her but she does not control the steering wheel any longer.
3. If someone asks me to do something for them I tell them that I will think about it and get back to them.
I take some time to feel what my answer to the question or request is. Is there a Yes or a No? I then reflect why the yes or no is there and make a decision. And I gave myself permission to act upon this answer without defending myself all the time.
4. I practice. Every day again. And I don’t have to be perfect. As I am only Human.