“Why wasn’t I enough for him?”
I posed this question to my journal soon after discovering that my then-husband had obtained a new wife.
“What does she have that I don’t?”
I asked of the page, not expecting an answer.
“How could he do this to someone he loved?”
The words perforated the page like his actions pierced my heart.
“He threw me away like so much garbage!”
My tears fell on the page, causing the words to bleed down the paper.
I felt worthless, discarded. I wore this self-image like a corset, hidden from public view yet restricting my movements nonetheless.
I rationalized that if I had been a good enough wife, he would not have secured another. I believed that if I had only been a better partner, he would not have left. Even while publicly blaming him, I secretly blamed myself. Convinced that I was not enough.
My “I’m not enough” taunted me when I faced my fear of going downhill, telling me that I would fall. It threatened that I would never find someone to love me. It followed me into dating, acting surprised when anyone was interested in a second date.
I carried this feeling into my second marriage, determined for a time to be a “perfect” wife. And fearful that when I fell short of this impossible goal, I was risking abandonment again.
My now-husband picked up on this underlying anxiety and reassured me that I was enough. Imperfections and all.
And even though it’s largely gone in the context of my marriage, it still haunts me at other times.
It still whispers every time I press the “publish” button, apprehensive about the reactions. I have to work to quiet it when I face criticism. And I still have to tell it to shut up when it tries to take everything personally and assume the responsibility for everybody’s happiness.
The voice isn’t so loud now, but it still exists. It drives me to achieve, which would be good if it didn’t have the aura of fear around it. It encourages me to always strive to be better, do better. I have to constantly work to find that balance between believing that I AM enough and that I can always be more.
When you’re rejected by someone you value, it’s not easy to separate yourself from their actions. It’s hard to trust that you ARE enough.
In the beginning, I felt like I needed to prove my worth TO my ex (even though he was out of the picture). It had a, “I’ll show him” motivation behind it.
And then one day I realized that I was allowing a person of questionable character to determine my worth, which is pretty much like letting a known embezzler set the market price of gold.
If I didn’t value his opinion about anything else, why would I let him decide that I was not enough?
I felt pretty silly.
And so I stopped trying to prove to him that I was worthy.
But I still felt a need to prove it to myself. That little voice of insecurity still pushing through like a pessimistic parrot on my shoulder.
So that’s where I am now – working to let go of that residual feeling of not being enough.
Recognizing the voice for what it is – a lie based on fear.
And learning to trust that I. Am. Enough.
Do you ever have the feeling that you’re not enough? What does that voice try to tell you?