Why do we find that so hard to believe?
This weekend was busy with the family. I was trying to stay on top of keeping the house tidy, have a good fun time with the children and carve out some quality down time for me. I was also experimenting with a 4 hour chunk exercise where you divide the weekend into 4 hour chunks, allocating a different group of tasks to each 4 hour chunk. So 9am-1pm Saturday was household and family chores and errands; 1-5pm was family time; 5-9pm was time for me. It went quite well, but by yesterday afternoon I was SO tired, and burst into tears when the boys asked to go on another bike ride (not my finest hour), and I just didn’t think I had the energy, plus was surveying a house that seemed impervious to the 4hr tidy up slot I had allocated it. Yesterday evening I watched a Marie tv video with Colleen Saidman Yee, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpWbESrIAPc) where quoting a Jason Isbell song lyric, “Cover me up and know you’re enough”, she said, “You are enough”. She then went on to say, “If one woman would stand up and tell her story, the whole universe would break open”.
“You are enough” is a great line, and it is a challenging one too because it requires us to be honest about who we are and where we are. I’m not superwoman, I’m me: parenting the children as best I can; working; shopping; planning; cleaning; and tidying up as best as I can. And that has to be good enough, because I am enough. Why, though, do I find that so hard to believe about myself? Why do I think I am NOT enough? And why do we try and hide our feelings of inadequacy? Is it through guilt, or fear, or shame?
Colleen is right, each time one of us stands up and tells her story, the whole universe breaks open. What is your story? How can you be authentically yourself with yourself, or with friends, or with me as you’re reading this, in a way that frees you and allows you to be you? I seem to have spent a lot of time recently on my weaknesses: making them stronger; better; faster, attempting to make my life more efficient and much more productive. By focussing on my weak points: structure in my work life, tidying up at home, being organised generally, I think I’ve lost sight of what I am good at: creating, visioning, problem solving, reading, having ideas…and because this is an uphill struggle, it makes me feel that I’m not good enough. So I know I need to get back to a place where I am in touch with all those attributes about myself that I feel good about. It’s ok not to be engaged with people all the time if you are the sort of person who needs to read a book. Conversely it’s ok to spend time with people and never pick up a book again if that is who you are. If I could have the mental space to know each day that I am enough it would be very empowering. I’d still be getting good at the other things, and they are necessary to my life, but I don’t need to be judged by them: I am enough. Interestingly, some of the things I though I was REALLY bad at I am starting to love and think one day I could actually be quite good at. For example work planning and time management, neither traditionally part of the clothes designer’s skill set, but which are becoming part of my life even dare I say it an enjoyable part of it, so I know not to give up on them.
I know I’m enough because this is who I was created to be: creative, energetic, positive, deep thinking, visionary. Areas that need more work because they don’t come naturally are more administratively based: remembering, recording, filing, grouping, recalling….but even here, I am enough. Hard as it may be for me to fathom, I am enough. What would your lists look like and even in the list of skills which don’t come as naturally, do you know that you’re enough?
At the end of the day it doesn’t boil down to how long your to do list is, or whether you’re chipping away at the less natural skill set while enjoying executing items on the “comes naturally” list. What it comes down to, as Mary Oliver wrote (and Colleen quotes her in the interview),
“What are you going to do with this one precious life of yours?”
This has been said many times before, in many different ways: Are you going to spend it worrying that you’re not good enough, or are you going to know that you are enough? What is it that will make you realise that this is so, and keep you in that amazing space where there is no regret, guilt or shame, but only the knowledge that we are enough? For me, going on the bike ride on a beautiful June afternoon, being outside, seeing the children so happy and cycling through gorgeous fields full of wild flowers, and to have the children say it was the best bike ride ever, and that I’m the best mum ever, told me what Colleen already knew, “I am enough”.