Recently an acquaintance of mine posed the question, “Who first told you that you weren’t enough?” Very few people responded and I wondered if it was because most women are embarrassed to say they don’t recognize their worth or have allowed someone to devalue them. One bold young lady replied, “Me!” to the question and that one word held so much power. I did engage and my reply was, ” I honestly don’t think anybody told me. I think the way I was treated in some of my relationships caused me to believe I wasn’t enough.” So in essence my reply was the same as the one other brave soul that took the time to respond.
I’ve recently started to question events and try my best to recall at what point in life did I lose the confidence I had as a budding teenager. The first thing that comes to mind is what I allowed in my first significant relationship. I was a little too forgiving and too understanding. I would allow myself to be mistreated, get fed up and leave the relationship. Because I was the one that walked away, I was also the one that had to humble myself and return. It took months for me to realize I was never walking away, I was being pushed away. However, when I was pushed away for the last time, I think I let some of my pride and dignity get caught on the wrong side of the door.
Another thing that bothers me now is realizing that while my mom was very supportive in attending my events, she never extended encouraging words to me. My mother was at EVERY SINGLE EVENT but I can’t remember a time hearing her say, “Job well done!” or “You are smart.” Through countless honor roll ceremonies, first place standings at track meets, perfect scores on standardized testing and the list goes on, I never heard a positive phrase uttered. My value was, however, attached to my presentation. She would comment on my appearance and make sure I was always neat. Now I understand why I focused so much on the image that was presented to others. For years I would look good on the outside but feel like crap on the inside. I would find myself never satisfied and would buy more clothes, more jewelry, more shoes, just more stuff in general because I was attached to a façade, an illusion.
Probably the most relevant incident I witnessed that has continued to hinder me is how my mom allowed herself to be abused. My mother was abused verbally, mentally and physically, and she stayed. Day after day, week after week, year after year, I found myself drained watching her tattered soul being ripped apart even more. I didn’t understand the “for better or for worse and until death do us part”. If what I saw her encounter is what those vows consisted of, I wanted no parts of it. As a result of the abuse she suffered, her children became her scapegoat. She got revenge by causing more damage to herself and thinking she was hurting her husband. Then she used us by making us keep her secrets because she knew we would never reveal the skeletons in the closet for fear of her being abused again. This behavior taught me to never let my guards down, do unto others before they do it to you, and it also taught me to settle. To keep from dealing with the sizeable offenses, I settled for allowing people to slide with the minor things. No one was using me as a punching bag, I wasn’t getting cussed out so it was all good.
It took me many years to recognize I needed to heal. I am slowly growing more comfortable with who I am again. I am learning to celebrate me with all my flaws. And I’m starting to acknowledge that even if I’m not enough for anybody else, I am more than enough for myself. I don’t have to mistreat people just to make sure they don’t mistreat me. Sad to say, I’m just realizing I don’t even have to interact with people that mistreat me. I have that option. As I move into the next phase of life, I pray God continues to grant me the opportunities to grow into the blossoming flower he designed. Because even in this moment, I am more than enough.