Dearest Shiny Sailors,
I know that the world often gives you messages of not being enough. The dominant culture says you are too fat, too thin, too old, too young, too loud, too quiet, too opinionated, too passive, too rich, too poor. It says you should do this or you shouldn’t do that, the media says there are 5 right ways and 5 wrong ways for every choice point. I say, FUCK THAT NOISE!
People have personally hurt you along the way. Kids at school, parents, lovers, teachers, you have some stories that linger and create doubt and insecurity. We all have those wounds. The wounds of feeling different, of not belonging, of heart-break and neglect, of aggression. They fester and create stories inside that you are the problem. They create stories of comparison that other people are somehow better. I say, THAT IS BULLSHIT.
Look it: there is no normal. There is only YOUR normal. There is no one way to do anything, there is YOUR way. Everyone has issues, everyone has insecurities, you are not alone. We can look at research, we can listen to others, we can seek wisdom through a variety of philosophies and modalities. They have their helpful place in life. Ultimately it’s your show. You have to live with you. You have to live with all of your choices and decisions, so make them in line with your integrity. Find your authentic voice. Align choices to your wisdom. Don’t align them to the bullshit messages of not being enough.
The message of not being enough makes you self-sacrifice, makes you mean, makes you isolate, makes you crave, makes you distract, avoid, grasp, shut-down, spin-out. Not being enough makes you sell yourself short or get greedy. Not being enough pushes survival buttons that make you react with coping that perpetuates its dissonant song. It disconnects you from yourself and the world. Not being enough equates to you being a problem, you being unworthy, it is a message that something is wrong with you. This leads to constant critique and seeking the solution.
While it is healthy to seek to evolve and grow, making yourself a continual project to fix is not getting anyone anywhere. Fundamentally, there is nothing to fix. You are perfect in your imperfection right here and right now. You are worthy of love just as you are without a need to perform or please. You are enough. Can you feel your body react to that statement? Do you tense? Do you relax? If you relax can you allow yourself to melt into all your edges? Can you feel where you tense? Can you rest into the places where you bleed? Can you show up and say, “Oh sweetie, I know this hurts. I am here.” Can you care for that wound in the ways only you know how? Can you listen there and ask, “Dearest, what do you need?”
Here is my guess based off of lots of experience. What you don’t need is more judgement, more doubt, more tension. What you do need is more self-compassion. You need to learn to be a good friend to yourself. You need loving boundaries with your inner critic. That critic has been fed by others massages your whole life. It has taken them on in a misguided attempt to protect you. That critic wants to make sure you know where you are flawed so you can be better. So you can be lovable. That critic is in pain.
So, my dearest sailors, you need to hug the shit out of that critic. You need to say, “Sweetie, I hear you are scared. I know you are worried and vulnerable. I am learning to take care of this, I need you to hush now so I can do this a new way.” Then you breathe. You keep breathing my friends. You let the air fill up the spaces with warmth. You breathe until the tension melts. You cry. You laugh. You yell. You stare silently into the unknown. You let whatever is there emerge and you keep loving the shit out of all of it with kindness and compassion. You become both the crying child and the soothing mother. You reassure yourself, you comfort and care. You watch it shift and move like the weather over the sea. You learn to tolerate the discomfort and over time you learn to accept all of you, just as you are right now. You do this with curiosity and intention. You do it with unconditional love.
This is the path to enough. Because within you is all of it. You are so full. You are so beautifully and vulnerably human. It is all right here, right now. You just have to turn your attention inward and learn to stay. It is going to take time. It is going to take practice. It is not always going to be easy. You will run, you will hide, you will go into patterning. All of that is fuel and opportunity to grow through being present and kind to yourself. It is most definitely going to be worth it. You want to be loved? You want to be enough? You want to be worthy? It’s an inside job folks.
That doesn’t mean we don’t need crew to navigate the course. That doesn’t mean we don’t need friends to reassure us, or lovers to hold us, or parents and mentors to advise us. We do. We never get anywhere alone. As good as all that is, have you noticed that at a certain point your loved ones greatest gifts don’t sink in? That there is a little wall in there that prevents you from fully allowing that love to nurture you? Or vice versa, there is a barrier to fully expressing it sometimes? Oh sailors, that’s your edge. That is the place that needs your attention. That wall is trying to protect you, and it is holding you back in doing so.
Personally, I have spent my life working towards greater love inside and out. I deeply believe that is why we are here. I am still working on it. I always will be. There is no end point, only a process. Part of this work has been because, like so many, I grew up with intense messages of shame and not being good enough. I had to internalize to survive and it took a lot to unwind that. I have been incredibly privileged and fortunate to have had resources and people to help me. Many teachers, healers, clients, friends and some family have all helped me grow greatly in my compassion and love. You all know who you are and thank you!! While there are so many wonderful resources out there to read or explore, below are my favorite go-to people for self-compassion.
Kristin Neff’s Self-Compassion
Pema Chodron anything and especially Start Where You Are and Wisdom of No Escape
Tara Brach’s Radical Self-Acceptance
Brene Brown anything including The Gifts of Imperfection
I wish you health, growth, and peace my dear sailors. Fair winds, and lots of love for the storms.