Back in February 2013, Chris published this post about struggles with self confidence and its intimate relationship with vulnerability, authenticity and weakness. I’ve been mulling over the post for a while now, and coupled with my current reading of Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly it was about time I put something down on (digital) paper.
Chris and Brene both rather articulately outline personal and professional moments of perceived weakness, feeling unable or unwilling to “show up” (as Brene says) or confronting powerful emotions of your own triggered by someone else’s challenges (as Chris discussed).
Reflecting on confidence, weakness, and vulnerability, my mind continues to circle back to a term I first learned in graduate school that has stuck with me and continues to colour many areas of my life. Impostor Syndrome.
One ‘cure’, as it were, for impostor syndrome seems to be validation. To substantiate or confirm (thanks dictionary.com) seems to lessen the heady impact of feeling less than by confirming that what is, is as good as what could be. It’s being fine right now, in this moment. It’s saying there is enough, you are enough, and enough is good.
Humans, however, don’t often like enough. Enough isn’t our best yet, or our best ever. Enough allows weakness to seep through cracks in our emotional armour, and enough seems to imply that there will be no more. We are naturally and maddeningly attracted to progress and perfection, a doubly potent recipe for addiction as we continually strive toward something that, in my mind, we can never achieve. We perpetuate an odd cycle of validation – wanting to be ‘enough’ now yet always striving to be ‘more’ mere moments later.
How do we stop this cycle? When do we get off the universe’s roller coaster? Can we ever lay down our armour long enough to show up and be present with who we are, right now?
I’ve come to learn that enough is not a static state. Confidence and inner strength are not fixed qualities but are very much moving targets. These ends can downplay and utterly ignore the beautiful means by which we navigate through this adventure called life. Enough, then, is a process, not a product. It is enough that we try, every day. It is enough that we keep going. It is even enough when we pause, step back, or step out. It is not perpetual motion that defines us, but purposeful movement. Note that I never said this movement must always be forward. Yes, forward is the direction we crave, but backward, up, down, sideways or simply bending in the breeze are all enough too.
Enough is a willingness to go and to stop, to move and to be still. It is embracing the process, and never chasing the impossible goal of ‘best’. Enough is truly where you are right now.
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