That word is so loaded. It has much poignancy in my life, and I'm sure in others'. 'Enough', 'successful', 'productive', etc. All those kinda words. Today, I found myself in a scenario that has happened a bunch of times throughout the years...I rearranged my work day to be at home, stuck to the couch with a feverish, sleepy little kiddo. It's pretty easy to feel inconvenienced by this, with running my own business and all. How I reacted in the past was to mentally hem and haw about how I could make up for this "lost" time. About what I 'should' be doing instead of momming my sick 5 year old. But if I didn't take the morning off, if I had had someone else come and be with her, and gone to work, I would berate myself similarly. I should be home with my baby. It's crazy. At times I feel like no matter what I've chosen to devote my time to, I'm beating myself up over not doing all the other things. I drive myself nuts with telling myself I'm not doing enough, not giving enough, not being enough. I catch myself in this pattern often, all over my life.
I'm a people-pleaser. Most people can understand or relate to a desire to please their loved ones. When my family and friends are happy and content and I've done something to contribute to that, I feel good. There have been moments where I question whether this is codependency, and other times where I think it's just realizing that others' freedom and richness in their life creates a flow into mine. A sort of thread through the human experience. But even acquaintances, passers-by, strangers. I notice my own tendencies to be the one that they are looking for in some way. Professionally, for example- if a new potential client emails me and describes their circumstances and needs, it may seem like they are a great fit for my services. But then they say they are only available on the weekend. It is painfully hard for me to accept that they're just not my client. To say the words, no, I'm not available. That doesn't work for me. And let it go. Somehow I turn it into me not being accommodating enough, or not professional enough. Or if one of my kids' friends' moms asks for a favor or a play date at my house, I create a scenario in my head that paints me to be a bad mom or bad friend or bad person if I say no. Or even on line at the grocery store, and I have 10 items and the person behind me only has 2- I let that person go ahead of me, even if I'm in a rush. Sometimes yes, it is just to be kind. But other times I have to check myself- is it because if I hadn't, does it mean I'm not considerate enough?
It's all bullshit. Ego bullshit. Guilt and shame and old patterns rearing their ugly heads in every day scenarios. It's not wrong to say yes to any of the above situations. It's not wrong to say no. But it's been a practice to notice where I'm moving from. Is it for validation or recognition or thanks from others? Is it from a feeling of obligation or guilt? Do I should myself into things? When it comes from that place, whatever I'm giving-whether it's energy or time or money or things-loses value. It actually becomes heavy and loaded. It feels like it warrants something in return because how can something so inconvenient or painful be given for free?
Or when I give, is it from a feeling of wholeness and completion within myself, so much so that I want to share? This kind of giving feels light and easeful and sweet. Like if no one ever whispered a word about it, it would float into the ethers and become part of the sunlight that shines on the whole world.
Self Love and self acceptance has been a major struggle for me, I'll admit. I tend to be proud of myself when I "do" something great, when I get shit done and have something to show for it. And then tear myself down if there's anything less than that. Circumstantial, transactional, conditional love. Which is not actually love. It's ego food. The greatest lessons from the spirit-teachers in my life (my aunt/godmother, my daughter, my yoga community) have been of True Love, which is unconditional. Not love in exchange for something. Not love that is taken away if that something isn't given. The kind that is turned into sunlight. So I have to ask myself, what would it be like to know that the people in my life who love me-who really truly love me-love me for just existing? For the person that I am at the core. For the connection between us that is there no matter our circumstances. To know that I don't have to necessarily meet a standard for them to love me. I think if I can apply that practice to loving myself, it's a great start. Can I love myself not for what I accomplish or produce or for being anything enough...but just for being me.