The champagne glasses are put away, as is the NYE hangover. What remains are the resolutions.
Most New Year’s resolutions tend to be garden variety, and focused on self-improvement (lose weight, volunteer more, spend less). They are “actionable” – and result in a more aspirational version of ourselves (thinner, more organized, better budgeted). Sadly, MOST resolutions tend to emanate from a place of not being “enough” – not svelte enough, not successful enough. It’s really not okay that we begin each tabula rasa of a new calendar from a place of deficiency rather than abundance.
The rhetoric around “not being enough” tends to have deep tentacles, especially for women. Somewhere along the line, many girls got a memo that we need to be more. But more importantly, we also tend to internalize blame. When things go wrong, especially in a relationship –we tend to blame ourselves. (maybe I didn’t listen enough, wasn’t available enough, wasn’t good enough in bed..enough). It takes us a while to reflect on the two-way street that is a human relationship.
There is also an economically nefarious piece to the “not enough-ness” – it’s easier to sell to the vulnerable. So when the magazine covers scream out at you about better abs, tighter butts, cooking 3 course meals, and pleasing your partner 5 or more times per week – you realize that it feels like a conspiracy and everyone is in on it. And you keep trying to be a sexpot with 6-pack abs and cooking 30 minute meals on a Wednesday night while running a business. But you don’t have to be that!
What if you can make a paradigm shift this new year? What if you started the new year from the assumption that you are more than enough. Armed with that belief, you are more likely to move through the world with a different kind of confidence.
For many people, the only way this letting go of “not enough-ness” can take place is by letting go of the voices that contribute to it. Sadly, most of these voices come from within us. However, a fair number of them come from outside of us too.
Ask yourself. Who in my world do I walk away from feeling like “not enough?”
Take a long hard look at what is happening in the relationships that make you feel less than enough. What are the contributors?
Are you struggling with the idea that you need to “win them over?” Do you feel anxious before you see them? There are deep roots to this as well. Oftentimes feeling like “not enough” is a setup that starts in childhood.
Did you feel as a child you were always trying to please your parents? Many times, we as children tried to win over those disconnected parents, and impress them any way we could. The parents disconnect is projected onto the child, leaving the child feeling as though she has to “DO” for the parent – be pretty, dance well, get straight A’s, practice the piano, and down the road, marry the one that mom thinks is right (not necessarily the right partner for you). Whether it is the parent’s dashed dreams, or the parent’s working through his/her own stuff, it is in fact a set-up for finding future relationships where you get stuck in the same dynamic of “doing” in a relationship rather than just “being.”
If you find yourself in any kind of relationship that lacks that easy empathy, or that feels detached, or like you are putting on a show, or the sense that if only you were “more” things would be better – take a big step back. If you feel that you need to be “more” to please a partner, parent, or anyone else –take stock of that relationship.
So, before you make cleaning out your closets your first new year’s resolution, you may want to consider cleaning out your people.
No, that does not mean leaving your spouse, or blowing off dear old mom, or skipping your daughter’s wedding. It DOES mean paying attention in your relationships. If you feel like you are pedaling faster and faster to “earn” love and be “enough” – then stop. Retain your compassion, be loving, but stop thinking that “more” of you will earn “more” of them. It doesn’t work that way. Armed with the knowledge you are more than enough – enter those relationships with head held high – and stop expecting something that isn’t coming. If they aren’t paying attention to you, or things feel lukewarm – stop being the only one “trying” so hard.
There is a second step to this resolution. As you re-calibrate your expectations and stop doing the “I’m not enough shuffle” – start looking for those people in your world who appreciate who you are…the ones who make you feel like you are more than enough. They are the people you leave feeling better than before you saw them. Interestingly, we waste so much time trying to please the unpleasable people in our world, that the ones WHO are easy, authentic, present, and kind often get short shrift. Psychologically, the squeaky wheel does get the oil. But maybe you need to start taking your oil elsewhere.
Remember the Greek myth about Sisyphus, the king who continued pushing the giant rock up the hill, only to have it come down on him each time? Don’t let that be the story of how you roll in your relationships. If it is, you’ll never move forward. Relationships can and should result in growth. This year – clean out the expectations. Be authentic. Stop chasing the illusion that someone else can make you feel like you are “enough.”
You are more than enough.