You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
One of my favorite life lessons (and I admit one I am spiraling up on) is the lesson: I am enough PERIOD! Not when I am skinny or when I get all A’s or when I get married or when I can buy a house or when I am CEO or fill in the blank. Right now–as you are you are enough. As one of my greatest mentors, Annette Franks would say “you are worthy, lovable, valuable.” Such a lesson: we are unconditionally lovable.
One of my favorite homework assignments is to write these words down and hand them to a client, instructing them to post them near their bed so when they wake up in the morning, they see these words, repeat them to themselves and breathe it in. Breathe in the truth. Inevitably, when I say these words to a client, they will not hear me “yeah, yeah” is the general response. But when I get out of my chair, go to my desk and write the words down in my big sloppy handwriting and hand them to my clients–they get tears in their eyes. I kid you not, EVERY client I have done this with has gotten teary. Sometimes I will ask (depending on the client) where the tears come from. Consistently, they will say to me: no one ever said that to me. Now whether no one has said that to them or whether then never HEARD it is up for debate. The point is–it is new information to them.
As it was new to me when I went into therapy broken, defeated wondering–what the hell am I doing with my life! And to be honest, I grew up in a pretty fabulous household. Parents who are still happily married who regularly showed their support and love. Two older brothers who served as great role models and were typical big brothers. I had attended a good college, had a decent job, good friendships, but I still wondered what the point was. I still woke up at night wondering why I am so unhappy? Finally, I found a good therapist (something even I will admit is a challenge) and she wrote down those words: You are lovable, valuable worthy period. And I too got teary. Talk about a wow moment! That moment changed my life. I still have the ratty old piece of paper, and as I spiral up through that lesson, I still look at it. I don’t know why I never heard that message–not saying it wasn’t ever said to me–but it didn’t sink in. That piece of the paper was the beginning of me finding self-love and recognizing it didn’t matter how successful or driven I was–my happiness came from the inside. I had to love myself to find what was missing.
Hands down the biggest gift we can give ourselves and the world is the regular practice of breathing in the belief I am enough. When we start giving that gift to ourselves, we can then give it to our children and our loved ones. The gift of letting them know–yep we all make mistakes, we all mess up but at the end of the day–you are valuable, lovable, worthy period. You are enough just because you are here breathing. It is powerful, life changing and a definite key to living happier.