“You are important for who you are; not what you do, how much money you make, or what title you have;” the words rolled off my tongue effortlessly and honestly as I spoke with a friend on the phone this week. I truly meant it, but sat in slight shock after hanging up the phone reflecting on how many times this lesson had appeared for me this week. The irony in this moment being that I had gone from student to teacher. It's pretty wild and beautiful, really.
Though I may have had to hear it my a handful of times and even say it myself before fully grasping it, the message this week really was loud and clear: You are enough. Personally, as someone who is always trying to improve, I've always valued feedback from others. But, there is a fine line between "valuing feedback" and words of affirmation and using that feedback as a basis of self-worth (a trap which is easy to fall in to).
The problem is, we often become stuck in our own false story. A store where we are not, in fact, enough. A story where we require validation and confirmation that we are good, smart, lovable, or worthy. A story where we must endure, persevere, sacrifice, and perform in order to gain the outside affirmation that we are indeed enough.
We begin building this narrative at a young age through personal experiences and observations. We begin to believe we must reach certain milestones - the approval of another person, the validation of a number or a title, the satisfaction of specific achievement - in order to be worthy and happy. Over time, we reinforce this story in our minds, affirming that once we have the person, the job, the house, the success, etc. that we will be validated and thus we will be complete.
We become deeply attached to these images, of course, because we created them. Thus, it is hard to part with any of the beliefs we’ve manufactured about how our life should be in order for us to be happy. The truth is, happiness doesn’t come from any sort of validation we receive from others or achievement we make externally. It comes wholly from within. Until we make the commitment to turn inward in order to find our truth, we will continue to chase false sources of happiness and come up short.
That’s not to say we shouldn’t all have dreams or goals to aspire to. Our goals and dreams are certainly important parts of who we are, but our perceived success in achieving them does not make or break our worth as a human being. Over the past few years, I’ve come to believe that our greatest achievement is the ability to reach the highest expression of ourselves; to live a life where we can make the biggest impact with our gifts and be truly helpful. How exactly do we do that? I’m not sure exactly. But, what I do know is that we must tune in and listen to the small subtle voice that is there to remind us. Sometimes, if we are in-tune enough with our inner guide, the reminders can come from within. This week, my reminders came through loud and clear, over and over - through a stranger, through a friend, through a podcast - I heard the reminder: You are worthy, you are enough. You need no validation or proof of this, you simply are. It’s a reminder not just for me, but for you too.