Do people at work like me? Am I smart enough? Do I work hard enough? Am I thin enough? Do I eat healthy? Do I work out enough? Do I dress well? Am I a good friend/ family member? Am I good spouse/partner? Am I motivated enough? Do I make enough money? Do I talk too much? Am I too quiet? Do people think I’m annoying?
Any of these resonate with you? The questions are endless and I find myself plagued by these thoughts daily. All of these questions have one theme in common- self-worth. What am I worth? Unfortunately, many of us find ourselves basing our self worth on the questions above, creating measurements and expectations… “if_____(I’m smart, thin, rich, successful, in a relationship) than I’ll feel ok, worth it, good enough, HAPPY”.
The problem with this formula is that it often only results in more suffering, never finding any sense of relief, and in turn- feeling more disconnected from yourself, the people in your life, the world around you and most importantly out of touch with what you truly value. Eckhart Tolle touches on this beautifully in his book A New Earth, when he discusses the ego. Ego is identification with form, seeking yourself and commonly losing yourself in some form (not only physical bodies or material things, but thoughts and beliefs). As humans, we are divinely made for survival- everything we do is intended to increase pleasure and decrease pain. However, when we are caught up in those thought forms- always striving to meet some form of expectation of feeling “good enough”- our pleasure comes at a steep price that you must work hard to continue to achieve. I wonder if you have ever reached that place? Have you ever set a goal (e.g. once I lose enough weight than I’ll be able to start dating again)? I would bet that once you reach your first goal, your mind doesn’t stop there and sets another goal- nothing is ever good enough. And as long as you continue to run this race, you will always lose. Plus it’s exhausting! No wonder so many of us struggle with depression, anxiety, and addiction- freedom lies in increasing your awareness of your Being- the awareness that is consistent and behind all the foreground of the world (what you see, do, think, feel, believe).
Is it possible to let go of the belief that you should or need to know who you are? Can you STOP looking to thought for an identity? You are enough just as you are! Don’t believe me? The only way to believe that for yourself is to start to recognize the thoughts and expectations of what you NEED to do to be enough as they arise (and they will continue to), and stop believing them. Don’t fight to get rid of them, just change your relationship with them- just because you think it does not mean it’s true and most importantly- it’s not helpful. Instead, try taking 10 deep breaths and re-connecting with your reality and present moment just as it is. That is enough!