My teenage daughter recently returned from church camp- the theme…”Enough.” God is enough. YOU are enough.
I am 41 years old. I’ve been through hell and out the other side, had a bazillion hours of counseling, read over 20 self help books and yet I still wrestle with the theme that was enveloped within a camp for teenagers…I AM ENOUGH.
I look good on paper. Employed, single mother of two kids (who are pretty great), a beautiful 2nd marriage on the horizon, 19 years of teaching, 3 college degrees, my house has not been shut down by the Health Department….
I sound like I’m enough. However, late in the night, early in the morning, in the shower and driving to and fro, I often don’t feel like I am.
It’s a constant questioning…can I raise these two kids properly after the loss of their father? Can I be a good wife for my chapter two? Can I be a great step mom to my soon to be bonus daughter? Can I balance all the change and adjustment and not let my OCD go into overdrive? Has gravity been working overtime on my face? What is wrong with me that I am so dang tired???
This inner dialogue is hurtful to me- those bazillion hours of counseling have taught me that- but it is still a constant battle. I’ve realized that self talk is an addiction for me. I hum along pretty well when life is peachy and then…BAM. Something goes wrong and my inner monologue starts in like one of those bullet trains.
I’ve realized that I have the ability to participate in a jovial, sarcastic interaction with a teacher friend on the outside while berating myself on the inside. I’ve realized that I can be preparing dinner and talking with my family while mentally kicking my own tail all over the kitchen. These are not skills I have on my resume or that I’m proud of. However, it’s a truth I have to acknowledge and fix because (as my soon-to-be husband just pointed out) sometimes it spills out and my children see it. OUCH.
So, for my children, for my family and most importantly for me, I am taking some steps to fix my inner monologue. In a premarital counseling session the other day, with the help of my counselor and my guy, I came up with a mantra. My go to statement to repeat when the negative self-talk begins…
“I am good enough. I can’t mess this up.” And yesterday I added “God has this.”
It may be cheesy but a couple of times these last few days it’s slammed the brakes on that darn bullet train of negativity.
I’m currently rereading the book Rising Strong by Brene Brown. I’m convinced that book is like a Stanley Kubrick film- you have to experience it more than once to REALLY get it. Anyway, Brene talks a lot about shame (unfortunately I like to shame myself) and what people with high “shame resilience” do…here is a quick paraphrase…
1. Understand and recognize what triggers shame (for me making perceived mistakes).
2. Reality check the message “being imperfect DOESN’T mean inadequate.”
3. Reach out and share (DON’T INTERNALIZE).
4. Talk about how you are feeling and ask for what you need.
This set of steps along with my mantra above seem to be helping so far. I realize it will take a long time and plenty of prayer to break the bondage of negative self talk. Bad habits are not broken in one day or even one month. Some battles last a lifetime. However, I owe it to my family, myself and the God who created me to fix this.
I. AM. ENOUGH.
My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9