In today’s world, sadly, I think most of us feel that we are not enough. We believe our worth is conditional so it needs to be constantly earned. When we operate from this paradigm much of our behaviour can become driven by feelings of shame.
We get caught in striving to do more, be more, get more and achieve more because secretly we believe we are not measuring up yet. Living like this is tiring, stressful and unfulfilling. I know this first hand as I lived like this for many years.
Why do we so often struggle to see and know directly that we are already enough?
Why the human mind is hard-wired to seek approval and fit in
Here is the reason…our human minds have evolved over the last 150-200,000 years. Most of the time the human mind has been evolving it has been through our hunter gatherer ancestors and so although we may live in a different world today we still have minds that operate in much the same way as those caveman days.
Now our minds are capable of incredible things, but first and foremost its job is to keep you alive. It operates like a survival machine and in the hunter gatherer days fitting in with the group was also essential to survival—humans survived in groups but we didn’t last long alone. If you ended up getting kicked out of the group it wouldn’t be long before a predator, warring tribe or injury would get you. Our survival depended on having the approval of the rest of the tribe.
Because of this our mind is constantly assessing—am I fitting in, am I doing anything that could get me rejected, am I contributing enough, am I special, am I enough?
How approval-seeking holds you back from being your true self
Our modern mind still constantly compares us to other people and looks for approval. The problem is that now we don’t live in tribes and through technology and media we are now comparing ourselves to a huge amount of people instead of just those in our tribe. When we are constantly scrolling through images of all these people who seem to be smarter than us, better looking, sexier, richer and more successful than us we may quickly conclude we are not enough and not worthy.
For some of us this can crush our self-confidence or trigger anxiety or depression. For others it can be the catalyst for endless striving—pushing our bodies and minds to the limits trying to meet the new impossible standards of what it means to be enough. Instead of being our true selves we try to be liked. Instead of doing what makes us happy we can easily spend our time trying to impress others.
In the words of Will Smith, “We spend money that we don’t have, on things we don’t need, to impress people who don’t care.”
Understanding true self-worth
Think of this aspect of your mind as being like an outdated piece of software. The feeling of not-enoughness is simply a bi-product of ancient conditioning. It’s not personal. It doesn’t have anything to do with your actual worth.
The truth is of course that each human being is inherently worthy. You are inherently worthy.
Before you ever do, get or achieve anything, you are worthy. In other words, you are born worthy. Of course you were. Your worth is not conditional on anything at all. You are an integral, significant part of this living interconnected miracle we call life. You already belong, you are already whole and you are more than enough. Nothing you ever do will add any more worthiness to you.
When you see and understand this mind pattern for what it is, just an old evolutionary mind strategy and not the truth of who you are—you begin to free yourself from its grip.
Letting go of self-worth seeking and embracing authenticity
Knowing this, here’s a question to ponder. What would you do differently with your time and your energy if you weren’t out there hustling for self-worth through people-pleasing, approval seeking and overachieving? How might you speak, act and relate differently if you operate from a place of enoughness?
You truly don’t need to go and earn your worth today. So instead, feel free to focus your energies on what truly brings meaning, purpose, fulfilment, genuine connection and love into your life. You already are, always were, and always will be, more than enough