“You are Enough”
I don’t remember exactly what I had just told her. I was probably rambling about one of the millions of things I was juggling and how I felt like I was failing at all of them.
“Getting all these things done perfectly or making everyone around you happy does not define your worth. You are worthy of simply being you. You are enough,” my therapist told me.
As someone who had been hustling all her life trying to prove to everyone around me that I was enough, that I belonged, it hadn’t dawned on me that the only person I needed to convince was myself. All my life I had searched for someone other than myself to validate my worth. I searched for things such as:
- Gold stars from my teachers
- Getting approval from my family
- Accolades and promotions at work
- Invitations from friends or colleagues to join at the latest social event
I wanted others to tell me I was enough and worthy of their approval or acceptance, yet I never looked within to realize that I was enough simply for being born.
You are enough.
Three simple words can change the way you look at yourself. Those three simple words can change how you show up in the world. Three simple words that give you permission to make mistakes and still be okay.
However, even after I learned this phrase, it wasn’t easy to believe it. Any time I embarked on something new that was outside my comfort zone, such as starting a new job, meeting a new friend, or having a new manager, all those feelings of unworthiness came rushing back.
Can I do it?
Will I be good enough?
Will they like me?
This type of inner chatter might be constant for some of us. Everything you do comes with an inner commentary. You try to quiet the disappointed voices in your head but they don’t seem to go away. Sometimes these voices are so subtle you might not even notice them. They are just these inner feelings that keep telling you that you might not be good enough.
So, how do you dampen these worries and cultivate self-worth?
The first step is to simply notice what words you are telling yourself. Many times we don’t even realize the negative self-talk happening in our minds. One strategy is to treat yourself in the same manner you would treat someone you loved. Would you use those same words to someone you cared about? If not, why are you using them on yourself?
The second step is to practice ways to manage negative self-talk. For example, one strategy is to use mental time travel to distance yourself from the experience that is questioning your self-worth. Ask yourself: “How am I going to feel about this tomorrow, next week, next year, in ten years?” This technique reminds us that no matter how awful we may be feeling in the moment, eventually, it will get better. It puts those worries into perspective.
The last step is to realize that self-worth begins with self-acceptance. If you are hiding or changing who you are in order to fit in or belong, you may not realize that only by accepting your authentic self will you achieve the success you are looking for. It took me over two decades working in corporate America to realize that worthiness and a sense of belonging begin with self-acceptance. The more you value your real self and what you bring to the table, the higher your self-worth and ultimately your sense of belonging.
The journey to self-acceptance may not be easy for some. There may be years or even decades of microaggressions and other traumas that have you questioning your worth. This may take time to unpack. If that is you, give yourself grace during this process and lean on your friends, family, or community who accept you exactly as you are for support. The journey may be hard at times, but it is worth it. Once you get on the other side of your fears, gain a sense of self-worth, and get to the place where you can show up proudly as your authentic self, your life and career will soar.
This journey can start for you today by simply believing these three words… you are enough.
This guest post was authored by Tricia Montalvo Timm
Tricia Montalvo Timm, a first-generation Latina, C-suite executive, thought leader and DEI advocate, is no stranger to these challenges. For her, it all boils down to self acceptance in order to succeed on any level.
She is the author of the forthcoming book, Embrace the Power of You: Owning Your Identity at Work (March, 2023). Tricia chronicles her journey toward self-acceptance and her own definition of success, sharing stories of those she’s met along the way who have been instrumental in shaping the professional Latina woman — and wife and mother — she is today.
Tricia is also an advocate for women and girls and serves as a mentor, advisor, and investor in female-founded companies.
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