More Than EnoughOne of the common threads of humanity is that most of us, on some level, run a version of the program called "I'm Not Enough." It shows up differently for different people and may have slightly different titles, but it's there, nonetheless. I am continually amazed by the parts of me I have left on the side of the road or have shut away from the light, in the name of "I'm Not Enough." Even more, I'm amazed by what it takes to uncover and then retrieve that part if it is something that I want to reintegrate.
When I was younger, people commented frequently about how thoughtful I was and they were impressed that I remembered the "little things" they would talk about and yearn for. I loved the opportunity to surprise someone with a loving thought or a little note to let them know they were loved by me. Usually it was well-received, sometimes even to the point of overflowing tears of gratitude, "How did you know I needed that right now?"
Most often, I didn't know how I knew. I had followed something inside of me that said, "Now is the time. Let them know you love them." Sometimes I would do something anonymously, without ever witnessing the response. Other times, I did something small or shared a few loving words face to face. This thoughtfulness was a natural inclination for me. For most of my life, with everyone in my life for whom I was thoughtful there was no return surprise and I was good with that.
One day, I began to wonder... what would happen if I stopped being thoughtful for others? About the same time, I made friends with a young man who was completely taken aback by my thoughtfulness, scared by it actually. Never having experienced anything like it before, he scorned my thoughtfulness and said some things that hurt.
All I'm clear on is that my essence is compassionate, thoughtful and caring. In the past, I had simply moved and acted with love, on the impulse of love. It was a true, innocent expression of what I felt for that person in that moment. When I met this friend seven years ago and he told me my thoughtfulness had "ulterior motives," suddenly my world was tilted and any time I wanted to do for or say anything to him, I questioned myself.
Suddenly my thoughtfulness had become something other than a pure expression of my love and I felt afraid and in that moment, I made him more right than me about who I am. And so I stopped it all with him and with everyone else. A little while ago, this same friend said to me, "I didn't realize what all those 'little things' meant to me until now. I really miss them." However, I couldn't find it in me to start sharing that side of me again.
In hindsight, I imagine that it was more than just this friend's words that led me to the space where I could make him more of an expert about who I was than myself. However, right then in that moment, he said the exactly right - or wrong, depending on how you look at it - words that were able to unwind my fragile self-esteem and left me flailing about sadly. The damage I did to myself in that moment resulted in magnetizing me so that most of my interactions somehow proved the decision that I am, at my essence, fundamentally screwed up.
The saddest part about this tale is this... when I made that decision I cut off one of the most beautiful aspects of who I am. Suddenly it wasn't okay to be a caring, loving person. With one statement, suddenly my entire life became a sham. And I shut away the tenderest part of me. I sometimes revert back to that innocent stage and leap at offering comfort out of the goodness of my heart but it is more often than not received poorly and generally ends with me retreating quickly and spewing swear words.
I had no conscious knowing that I had done this to myself. As the memories have been surfacing slowly over the past week, I began to realize how strong of a hold this had on me. I went into my training this past weekend with the wounds open and the pain of this truth intensely close to the surface. We did a process in triads where one of the people repeatedly told us the things we were most afraid of hearing while a coach was beside us to help us process the emotions that came up in the face of our biggest fears. I chose that opportunity to face into these memories, into the decision I made years ago that when I show up in my essence, I am wrong, conniving, sneaky and dishonest - fundamentally screwed up.
WOW! What a powerful process! I experienced the memories pulling from all of my cells in trembling explosions that felt like tiny earthquakes all throughout my body. In three separate waves, my friends and I worked to repair the damage I had done to myself. After about five minutes, I began giggling. The "truth" of the statements no longer held me captive. My friend tried several different ways of stating the old stories, but I simply giggled. I suddenly felt light and young. My body felt like it was sparkling from the inside out and I was so hot, as if I had just ran a marathon through the desert!
I feel happy to be free of those self-inflicted bonds. I feel really happy that one of my "not enough" programs has been discovered, dissolved and I am a few steps closer to reclaiming all of who I am.
© Angie K. Millgate 4/26/09