The “Not Enough” SyndromeAugust 28, 2013
The “not enough” syndrome–you know what I’m talking about. “I’m not good enough, I don’t do enough, I’m not this enough, I’m not that enough.” Seems like even if we have pretty decent self-esteem we sabotage ourselves with these statements. I’m working on changing that for myself and taking a totally different approach. A positive one. I hope you will too. Here are some of my own examples:
I don’t write enough.
I beat myself up about this a lot. But the flip side is that three years ago I wasn’t writing at all. Now I write a blog and put out a monthly newsletter. I’m constantly writing–it’s just that it’s mostly in my head! You see, whether or not I’m actively making art, I live my daily life from an artist’s perspective, and this can really slow things down. I can stop by a tree on my way to the post office and start taking photos. An hour later, I’m on my way again. You get the picture. (No pun intended.) At this point, I’m likely running behind in my day, but my spirit is happy because of the love fest with the tree.
Yes, I’m almost 60, and yes, I could have produced so much more by now. And I will continue to strive for more discipline and focus. (My Vata creativity always wants to derail my Pitta organization.) But I love experiencing my life with childlike wonder and I am embracing the Vata part of me that flits around like a butterfly or a bee from one thing to the next. We Vatas are all about movement, after all–it’s our nature.
So, I’m going to begin approaching my way with gratitude, rather than guilt–and view it not as a problem, but as a gift. And I realize from some of the emails I receive from strangers that what little I write somehow impacts somebody out there in the world in a positive way. That’s a little miracle in my book (the one that I’m going to write some day!)
I don’t volunteer/give enough.
That’s another popular one. If we’re not off to Africa or India to volunteer in a big way, or we’re not organizing a demonstration, it’s easy to think we’re not doing enough in the world. But I believe with all my heart that effecting change in the people around us–in our very own home or in our neighborhood, is effecting change in the world. One smile, one door held open, one “How is your day going today?” can uplift somebody’s day and possibly change the course of their life. And there will be a ripple effect when they pass it on to others.
Don’t ever underestimate the impact that you’re having on other people in your daily life. Sure it’s important to give money to charities. But I also know that the homeless men and women in my neighborhood benefit from a handshake, a conversation, or simply a smile just as much as some cash to help them out. What’s really important is our heart–opening it to give and receive. Who doesn’t love to give to others? It’s the best feeling in the world and we all know that. If your passion is to go to India or Africa, that’s amazing. Because boy do we need people with that kind of heart-centered energy sharing their love on a global level. But know that you can open your heart right in your very own backyard.
Back in my little Catholic school girl days, I was obsessed with St. Therese of Lisieux – “The Little Flower”. I have no idea why I was so captivated, but I was. I felt strangely connected to her and secretly wished my name was Therese. She had a humble but powerful message of love.
St. Therese entered the Carmelite convent in Lisieux, France at the tender age of 15. She led a short, simple life, dying of tuberculosis at the age of 24. In her autobiography, “Story of a Soul” she described her life as a “little way of spiritual childhood.” Therese said “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.”Therese lived and taught a spirituality of attending to everyone and everything well and with love.
She believed that just as a child becomes enamored with what is before her, we should also have a childlike focus and totally attentive love. Therese’s spirituality is doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.
Therese loved flowers and saw herself as the “little flower of Jesus” who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God’s garden. Because of this beautiful analogy, the title “little flower” remained with St. Therese. http://www.littleflower.org/abouttherese/learn/
I love that we can effect change without any fanfare. Giving always feels good. But giving without making it known to anyone else feels even better. And don’t forget that we sometimes give in ways we don’t even realize. We share helpful information, connect in person or online, lend an ear to someone in need. I’ve come to realize that these things really do count.
I don’t communicate with my family/friends enough.
Definitely on my “not enough” syndrome list. Being both an introvert and an artist, I could easily go off to a desert island without a cellphone and be happy as a clam. I’m not a phone talker and I thrive on solitude.
Hold the phone!
Everything I love to do is mostly in the solitary category, whether for work or pleasure–reading, writing, making art, watching movies, biking, meditating. Time flies by as I’m absorbed in these activities. This can be a problem if the people in your life are extroverts who thrive on being with other people.
I think of my family and friends often during the day, and I love them dearly, but I need so much time alone to do my work that I can let days or weeks go by without checking in. I hope if they are reading this they will understand that it’s not personal. And I’m trying to do better. Texting is helping…
Those are a few of my own “not enough” examples. Just writing them down has given me clarity, because sometimes just acknowledging them can change your entire perspective.
I hope this gives you a little food for thought. I’d love it if you would share some of your own “not enough” examples by leaving a comment.