How Thoughts of Enough Undermine Your Efforts

This episode and blog post are on a topic that hits home for me. I talk to a lot of people who have weight issues and a lot of people in general and there is one theme that is almost always present: not enough.

Almost universally, we spend our lives feeling that we are not “enough” in some area (or multiple areas) of our life. I’m not immune. I’ve spent some time reflecting back and realized how much of these thoughts have floated around just below the surface.  Even when I was achieving things, there was often a little voice wondering if it was enough.

Where does this impact us?

The classic place this shows up for physicians is as imposter syndrome.  I remember sitting in the big lecture hall on the first day of med school and wondering when someone was going to tap me on the shoulder and tell me they made a big mistake.  In the various areas of medicine that I have focussed on; emergency, obstetrics, palliative care, obesity medicine, I have had thoughts of maybe I don’t know enough to be doing this.  Maybe I don’t know as much as the person next to me doing the same thing.

Personally, the biggest place I see this show up for people is in their weight and body image.  Regardless of body size, most people have some form of “not enough” about their body.  Stomach isn’t thin enough. Legs are too big, too skinny, too much cellulite. Arms are too wobbly, not muscled enough. Skin is too saggy, too stretch marked, not tight enough.  Even people who have lost a large amount of weight often struggle with these thoughts. 

Parenting would be another classic area that most people don’t feel they are measuring up.  Am I spending enough time with my kids?  Am I firm enough? Calm enough?

Think of all the ways you feel you may secretly (or not so secretly) not be enough. Now picture everyone around you thinking similar things about themselves (because there is a good chance they are).  What a collective burden we put on ourselves as a society! What things is this holding us back from accomplishing? Who do these thoughts serve?

Imagine if you were always enough….

Now imagine if we stopped thinking these thoughts.  If when they came up, we acknowledged that the thought wasn’t a truth, it didn’t serve anyone and let it go. And then we practiced believing that we are enough in every way. Right now. Not after a weight loss. Not after another course.  Not if we could only stop doing/start doing XYZ. Right now. Enough.

The world would be amazing.  Amazing things would get accomplished.  

 

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