How many of us believe we are enough, just as we are? That we don’t need to be a better friend or sibling or parent or child? That we’re not failing because the house is a mess, and we can’t keep our plants alive? That we’re not losing at life because we can’t ‘find our purpose,’ keep a relationship, have a child or grow our Twitter following? That we’re not desperately flawed because we flipped out in the line at the grocery store, or because we cannot stick to a healthy lifestyle for more than a morning?
It’s hard to find our self-worth when life seems to be constantly reminding us that we could be doing better, but activist and writer, Chidera Eggerue in her book What a Time to Be Alone offers some advice on how we can stop believing we’re not enough, and instead start celebrating who we are.
1. You’re supposed to be here
At the most fundamental level, it’s important to remember that you are not a mistake. Nature doesn’t make mistakes, and while you may not be living up to your idea of purpose, “you’re still purposeful” says Eggerue, and “you’re supposed to be here.”
2. Who or what exactly are you not enough for…?
It’s a question worth asking because Eggerue points out that, for the world, we will always be too much of one thing or not enough of another, and even for our own egos. One day we’ll judge ourselves as not kind enough, and the next we’ll judge ourselves as too kind. We set ourselves the impossible task of having to respond to life in the perfect way for every moment. But why? If we take some responsibility for the pressure we put on ourselves, then we can start to say – I am enough for myself.
3. Learn how to say goodbye
Surround yourself with those who honor how you feel. It’s not their fault, but if someone is making you question your instincts and doubt yourself, or constantly bringing up your past, then it could be time to say goodbye. And yes, says Eggerue: “You are allowed to change your mind about how you feel about other people.”
4. There isn’t a wrong way to be you
“As long as you’re not harming anyone, then there really isn’t a wrong way to be you,” says Eggerue. “You don’t have to wait for people to give you permission to believe that you are amazing.” So rest and accept that what you’re doing, who you’re being, is just fine. If you want to do more, great – but know you are enough as you are.
5. Speak kindly to yourself
When you’re about to tell yourself that you’re ugly or not good enough, visualize yourself saying all those things to a four-year-old you, suggests Eggerue. While time may have passed, you’re still the same fragile human being – just as lovable and innocent as when you were a child, and definitely not deserving of being berated by the one person you listen to most.
6. Stuff happens
And it’s not personal says Eggerue. Just like the quote: “The sun shines on everyone and doesn’t make choices.” Well, life kicks everyone in the balls, it doesn’t make choices. Don’t blame yourself or take it to heart if things go wrong. You’re still enough. Sometimes life just needs to go wrong now in order to go right later.
7. Remember you are magical
We spend so much time dwelling on goals we haven’t achieved and dreams we think we can’t reach that we forget to realize how magical we are as human beings. The human body, the human emotions, the human experience – it’s wondrous, and it’s all you.
8. Choose Yourself
Be nice to yourself. Take the bath. Walk along the river. Spend the night in, on your own. Ditch the relationship. You deserve happiness, but you have to choose it by choosing yourself. Eggerue says, “Over and over again. Even when you let yourself down. Choose yourself. Even when it feels uncomfortable. Choose yourself. Even when you’re tired. Choose yourself.” Now those are words we can get behind.
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