So late last week, the Universe, in her infinite wisdom, presented a wonderful opportunity to practice “enoughness” — to notice my thoughts on that topic with curiosity rather than judging myself as lacking.
“Enoughness” is knowing and believing I am enough, without needing affirmation, confirmation, or even recognition from other people.
It’s a tough task for me. It has been my whole life. You’d think I would have it nailed by now.
The backstory. Without divulging too many details (for safety reasons — this is a small town), I recognized a “bad guy,” in the vernacular of my cop friends, at one of my workplaces. This individual was wanted by the authorities, but because of company policy and procedure I couldn’t alert them (or lose my job), and those in charge at the worksite didn’t seem to have any urgency about reporting his sighting.
As luck would have it, this person returned the following night, the police were called and they took him into custody.
It was an adrenaline rush, the kind I used to get at the newspaper covering courts, cops and fire. But more than that, I felt proud of myself for doing some detective work that led to his arrest. This initially was my payoff.
But in the days after, I wanted attention. I wanted recognition of my resourcefulness. I resented other people who inserted themselves in the arrest scenario. This is embarrassing to admit, but I told myself (and them in my head), “If it weren’t for me, there wouldn’t have been an arrest. This whole thing went down because of me (implied: and my brilliance 🙄).”
Now, I know that everyone loves a pat on the back, an atta-girl for a job well done, but this was something else. I craved it, as though my actions themselves would disappear if someone else didn’t confirm by praise … well, that I was a “good girl.” (See why it’s embarrassing?)
I struggled with staying open and curious about these feelings. This time, when I felt the fear or hostility rise up, I talked to myself gently. I reminded myself that I was enough, that I knew what I did was enough, and that although kudos are nice, my knowing was enough. I didn’t need anyone’s validation.
On a recent Writers Oasis audio, Jennifer Louden talked about practice and patterning. As it is with practicing a new skill or habit to get better at it, so it is with our thoughts — even the negative ones. The more we think those self-defeating or harmful thoughts, the more we’re “practicing” them, and the more ingrained they become as patterns of thinking.
What I am attempting to practice instead, with the goal of changing my thought pattern once and for all, is self-compassion, self-acceptance, and the belief, nay, the knowledge — that I am enough … and always have been.