Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Curse of Too Much, Not Enough

"Am I okay? Am I okay? Am I okay?" I am plagued by this question. Every moment of every day it rolls around in the depths of my subconscious, seeking an answer in everyone else's words and actions. When I look in your eyes, no matter what I ask aloud, I am really asking you if I am okay.

"Am I okay?"

The implication in asking is that I do not believe that I am okay. For reasons obvious and still opaque, I have come to this point in my life thinking that there is some terrible flaw in my very make up- something about me that makes me unworthy of respect and adoration. It is the curse of too much and not enough. I find myself privately, quietly lamenting how if only I was a little more and a little less then I would be "perfect" and "worthy" of love. If I was enough and not quite so much, then I could fix it. There is something wrong with me and it is ruining everything.

This is not true. This is the ego speak of a little child who is self-centered enough to really believe that they have the power to single handedly ruin everything. As an adult, I can laugh at this part of myself with compassion- "Oh dear me, how misguided." I can see that it's ego centric. I can see that it's a small person's attempt at exerting control and influence over their environment. I can understand it with my intellect, examine the roots of this internal question and clearly articulate my feelings about it. But thus far nothing has succeeded in helping me to change the question- "Am I okay?" echoes in every heart beat.

In the book The Four Agreements, the author talks about how we make all kinds of agreements throughout our lives, from subtle to obvious, that create the version of ourselves that we know. At some point, I got the idea that I was not okay and I agreed with it. Since then, I have sought reinforcement of this idea and agreed with it over and over again. Every time I reach out to someone who has been unkind to me I answer my own internal question: "Am I okay?" "Nope. You're not good enough to protect from other people's cruelty. I'm going to keep exposing you to it. If you were good enough, you could help them. Try harder. Try to be more and less than what you are. If you're good enough you can fix it."

What a ridiculous, oppressive trap. The one and only way out is to begin to answer the question differently. We do this not with words but with powerful, meaningful, supportive actions to show ourselves that we are worth taking care of, worth respecting, worth adoring. We have to, as Sugar suggests, fill our own empty bowl.

Of course, the act of self-support is difficult to achieve when you're still not sure if you're okay. It's just one of those "fake it til you make it" things, honeyloves. Practice being nice to yourself in big and small ways, every day, until you confidently believe you deserve it. In the meantime, align yourself with the people who love you outrageously much. Unless you are a truly horrendous person (and, let's be real, you're not) there are far more people out there who respect and adore you than people who do not. Stick with your fans and take every opportunity, every glance in the mirror to affirm your worth. A friend of mine taught me to say, "Thank you, that's true" when someone gives me a compliment. It felt a little funny at first, but it's a good place to start in making new agreements about yourself.

Hopefully someday my internal question will change with a conversation that begins like this:
"Am I okay?"
"Yes, my dear. You are okay."
"Thank you, that's true...I am okay!"

What is your internal question? How does it inform and/or impact your vision of yourself and the way you live your life? Does it, perhaps, need to change?

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