First off, I’d like to apologise. If you’re reading this and resonate with some of what I say, then it may come across a little strong and pull at some defensive cords. Try and see it as tough love, but necessary for you to see through the clouded way you view and talk to yourself. Saying that, I apologise all the same. It can be categorised as many things. Imposter syndrome, fear, lack of confidence etc. Ultimately these all culminate in a deeper feeling that ‘We’re not enough’. See if some of these sounds familiar: • I’m scared what people will think of me • I care too much what others think of me • What if I fail • I'm struggling for confidence • I'm not attractive enough • They made me feel like im not enough While I do hear these from some of my clients and friends. These are all example of what I used to tell myself. Especially in the early days of having my bag. My body no longer looked ‘normal’, whatever the f*** that means. Haha. In a society still focussed on body imagery, I often looked at myself with displeasure. Being a single guy, thoughts naturally compounded. Constantly, fearing if I would be attractive to others because of what I have. Wondering what others now thought about me. Not helped by the odd rejection on dating apps as soon as I mentioned the bag. Essentially, I was allowing myself to believe I was not enough. Though without realising it, the underlying thought, was that I wasn’t good enough for others. Naturally, this hit my confidence, and I wasted most of my time and energy trying to gain external validation and acceptance. Turns out I was looking at it all wrong, which I’ll get to a little later.
As I was eluding too, most of my time was spent seeking the validation of others. It’s something we’re all guilty of. Unfortunately, this desire is programmed into us at an early age. It becomes part of our identity until will decide to change it.
This often starts in the form of rejection. At school, we’ll get rejected if our quality of work isn’t sufficient, or if we don’t behave to the standards expected of us. Then we’re judged based on our exam results. Instantly feeling judged whether we’ll “make it” in the outside world.
Then, we reach the outside world, and its more of the same. Expectations to hit, societal goals to achieve. All because of what others perceive to be a success, based on their programming. That to be successful, we need a high paying job with status, a big house, to be married with children by a certain age, or we’ve failed.
In addition, there’s the dependencies of our relationships. Romantic relationships are a good example. Often when things don’t work, the first assumption is because we weren’t good enough, rather than things didn’t work out for whatever reason. It happens unfortunately. Another, and perhaps more common example. Do you have that friend that doesn’t seem to stay single for very long, yet they always seem to attract the same type of person and then wonder why it always ends the same? This is commonly due the feelings and emotions that need fulfilling. The mistake is made by thinking these need to be fulfilled by someone else.
I ramble on, but the message is, each time you listen to someone else’s words and actions telling you you’re not enough, you’ll then tell yourself the same, therefore re-affirming their opinions that you’re somehow not enough.
The question is what do you want to do about it?
it's all about you!
I mentioned earlier that we were looking at the subject all wrong. We shouldn’t ever need or seek the validation of others. We need to seek it within ourselves and only for ourselves. We need to get out of this habit of blaming others for making us feel we’re not ‘enough’, and find that value and worth within ourselves. Strong statement. Hence the apology at the beginning!
Now, that’s not to say whenever someone gives us a compliment or praise for our work that we reject it. More that we should try and operate in a state of mind where we no longer need to rely on it. That we have an overwhelming love and respect for ourselves, we no longer feel that we have to focus on what others think and feel about us to feel some kind of value.
We stop letting society and others tell us what a successful person looks like, acts like, behaves like. Instead, we get to decide what our own version of success is. There’s immense power to be had in that, so allow yourself just to sit in that statement.
we are already enough!
I go back to my early days with bag again. Still looking for validation from others on my ‘attractiveness’. Sticking random topless pics on social media. To promote awareness, but secretly hoping for many likes and comments in my favour. Like I say, it’s a spiral and a difficult mindset to break. I knew I needed to love myself fully first, not for anyone else. I couldn’t keep relying on others to fill the void of love and happiness. I need to feel it coming from me.
First, I started by just a quick change in mindset. A few affirmations I guess:
· “I don’t give a sh*t what anyone else thinks about me”
· “I love my bag; it saved my life”
· “I know longer live to what society and people expects”
These little affirmations helped shift my mindset into power. I wasn’t needing the validation of others. I accepted people’s nice comments and gestures, only if they were in line with my values, but I wasn’t reliant on them. In addition, any bad comments were just forgotten at the door. Chances are, you’re just trying to push your own insecurities and limiting beliefs onto me. No thank you.
Any time I post pics of me in the bag now, it’s purely to raise awareness and promote messages of power that you are not the victim of your circumstances. I hold no attachment to how many likes it may get. I no longer need that validation and ego boost.
We are already enough. We just need to rediscover that truth. The next question is. How can you do this for yourself?
Do it for yourself first!
When I say do it for yourself first. I mean, be selfish, its ok to be selfish. Anything you choose to do, you need to decide to do it for the benefit of your own wellbeing and happiness first, and not for the sake of anyone’s approval or validation.
I give you a recent example. I regularly worked out. Using weights and resistance bands. All with the intension of getting bigger and stronger. All was going ok, until I listened to a Peter Crone podcast on YouTube (seriously, check that guy out). He brought up an example about going to the gym as part of his morning routine at 6-7am. He starts working out, and can hear all these beefy looking dudes screaming while lifting the weights; and he brings up the question. “Why are these guys putting themselves through all that strain?”. So, he flipped the attention onto the listener. If you’re working out, not with the true intentions for strengthening your body and mind, but rather to make yourself look more attractive and intimidating to others. Then, chances are you’re still looking for acceptance and validation in others, subconsciously working with the feelings and emotions that you’re still not enough.
So, this got me thinking. What was my intention for working out? Sure, it was making me stronger, but actually, I think I was trying to get bigger and bulkier just for how I would look to others. At that moment I knew it was for the wrong intentions. This forced me to rethink my priorities. Since then, I have changed my workouts to just simple Yoga and Pilates. I enjoy this much more, and I know my body feels a lot better. It helps knowing that I’m attacking it with the mindset that I’m doing this for me first. Any growth in body and strength is purely a by-product of my workouts.
I encourage you to use this mindset with any lifestyle choice. Whether that’s exercise, changing hobbies, changing jobs, starting a new business. Question the true reasons for wanting to do it. The more your focus is on that, the happier and less pressure you should feel. The success that follows is simply the by-product of your hard work. More importantly, you’re doing it for yourself, because you know you’re enough for yourself.
This isn’t me saying you need to follow my words as gospel. I’m simply challenging your perceptions and beliefs. If you want to get buff, for confidence. Go for it. Want to hit the gym to lose weight, excellent. I encourage you to just ask yourself what you are trying to achieve and why.
Also, think about spending some quality with yourself. Read my blog (The art of loving yourself). It brings a little focus on better loving ourselves. Taking yourself out, buying yourself something, treat yourself to dinner. Anything you’d assume can only be done as a couple, can easily be done by yourself. Think about the message you’ll be sending. By spending more time and energy doing things for you, you’re re-enforcing that message that “I’m worth the time and energy. I’m enough for me”.
If you feel disheartened that some how you’re not enough. What I’d say first is “forgive yourself”. As I said, it’s in our programming to have built up these feelings of unworthiness. Please don’t be hard on yourself. Forgive yourself and those you wrongly feel are to blame. The pain of staying in these moments will only keep coming the longer you choose to stay in a state of suffering.
Call me crazy, but these are moments to be grateful for, as they show you areas of your life where you’re not free. Time will not wait for you and you cannot expect others to give it to you.
Find the right tools and methods to shift your mindset, and keep practicing. But do so you with you in mind first, and the rewards will be truly amazing.
Be the leading role of your own movie.