Never enough?

Boy do these words mean something to me.  Not slim enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough. Not flexible enough, not strong enough, not fit enough. Not enough money, not enough time, not enough space. No matter what I was doing with my life, it never felt enough. It has taken me a long time to realise that this belief, that no matter I did I was never enough, has been holding me back for years.

On the outside it might not seem like this has been much of a problem for me. After all, I took the leap and spontaneously went travelling for a year without any money or plan. I wanted a job at Oxfam, I worked my ass off to get a job at Oxfam, I got a job at Oxfam. I left the charity sector to take up yoga teacher training, something which, when I began my yoga teacher training, had never even been a dream, let alone an intention. I save up money with the vague idea that it’s the right thing to do, then suddenly spend it all on something I had never considered before, but that suddenly catches my eye (and my heart). On the outside, it looks like I’ve lived a pretty confident and go-getting life. And to a certain extent, I have.

But all the whole time I’ve been taking risks, aiming high and playing big, I have been caught up in fear. Fear that somehow it was all going to come falling down. That I was somehow being stupid by taking these risks, that it was irresponsible, and that I was going to get caught out.

This fear comes from the loss I experienced in my childhood, the death of my mother and my grandparents, the absence of my father, the abrupt and heart-breaking move away from my childhood home. It’s a well justified fear. For a time, I didn’t have enough money. I know what it’s like to scrimp on every detail, not because you’re saving for a gap year, but because you do not have two pennies spare to rub together. I know how it feels when sanitary towels really are a luxury, when you realise you’ve spent more money on the cat food than your own, and the dread, fear and sickness you experience when another bill comes in the post, or the bank write to you to say you’re overdrawn, but you don’t have an overdraft, and by the way, you can’t get one because you’re 16. When I talk about not enough, I know what that means, and I know how it feels to live life in this way. It is restricting and constricting. It is definitely not fun.

I took these beliefs with me, even when I did have enough. I panicked when I was travelling that I should be starting my career. I never felt like I had enough money to justify holidays, clothes or massages, and when I did spend money on those things I felt guilty for doing so. No matter what I achieved at work, it was never enough. Even now as a yoga teacher I get fits of feeling like I’m not the glamorous, bendy clean-living yogi I imagine people want me to be. I now know this is my pattern, created through my life experiences, but something I can choose to break free of.

It has taken me a lot of yoga, a lot of breathing, and a lot of meditation to get to the point where I can acknowledge and recognise that these beliefs are not real, that although my experiences were real, my situation now has changed and that life is pretty damn good. This allows me to actually enjoy and appreciate what I have right now, and worry less about what might happen.  Although I took a lot of chances and a lot of risks when I was younger, a lot of the time those experiences were marred with worry, fear and doubt.

I have learnt that faith and trust are essential in this world, but that without feeling connected to this planet – to the people around us, the ground beneath us and the work that we do – we are left feeling insecure, instable, and that we are still not enough. My willpower has always driven me forward, and definitely is why I survived so much of what I experienced. But it is only through intuition, love and reflection that I’ve been able to begin to thrive in my life.  

If you’re going through a difficult time, if you feel stuck, trapped, or caught up in thought patterns that are not benefiting your life right now, you need to change these. Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting crossed legged for hours on end, but simply taking the time to sit, drink tea and observe the thoughts that travel through the mind. Before we can begin to change whatever it is we feel about ourselves, we have to connect with what it actually is that we do believe to be true, and to really truly feel that we are enough.