I wrote this post for ProHealth’s Inspirational Corner, where it first appeared last month:
Confession? I’ve never been a super confident person.
I am kind, yes. Caring, yes. But confident? It’s never been my strong point.
Many of my years have been spent feeling ‘less than’; worrying too much about what other people thought and holding on to far too many careless words spoken to me. I have struggled with the thought that I’m somehow too much in the same breath that I don’t quite measure up.
When illness hit hard several years ago, this area of my life felt as exposed as it ever had before. I couldn’t push down the feelings any longer. They bubbled up and overwhelmed me. And as a result, I believed many lies in the wake of all that was lost over that first year of illness.
When I could no longer drive, I believed I was a burden.
When I had to cancel plans over and over again, I believed I was a disappointment.
When I could no longer work or play the same role in community, I believed that I no longer had anything to offer.
There were moments when I could push away these lies, but more often than not the honest truth was: they crippled me. And every moment that they weighed heavy on my heart, they kept me from seeing myself through honest eyes.
They kept me from embracing the strength that comes from believing the following words:
‘I am enough’.
Regardless of how limited my illness has left me, how many friendships have faded, or how discouraged I have felt: the core of who I am is still here. And if it’s changed, I believe it’s only changed for the better. My spirit is stronger. I have a deeper love and compassion for others. My approach to life is more purposeful and authentic.
And friend? You are enough, too.
When you and I believe that powerful statement, if only for a moment at a time, we recognize that we are more than our illnesses. We choose to believe we have value. That we are more than the sum of the things we cannot do.
I’ll be the first to admit that this change in perception is not an easy switch. The many reminders of how different life now looks makes this challenging.
But it’s possible…
We can turn to the people who believe in us. Sometimes we need the encouragement of others to bring life to these words. People who see our bravery and our worth. We feel valued when we are reminded: we are loved.
Tapping into our faith can help lay the foundation. This will look different for each of us as we all have different backgrounds and perception of faith. Find ways to connect with the truths that remind you of your worth, that bring your soul rest and peace.
We can put our abilities, our value on paper. Sometimes we need to make the effort to own our gifts. Perhaps we could benefit from writing out the talents/abilities that others say we have or that we see in ourselves. Taking the time to focus on that list periodically (or as often as needed) can help refocus our thoughts about ourselves.
Saying it out loud helps to engrave in on our hearts. Okay, so it sounds weird. But stay with me! Hearing ourselves say it is powerful. Even if it’s just a whisper to begin with. If you need to wait until you’re alone, that’s fine. You could say something as simple as the following: “I am enough. I am valuable. I am talented. I have something to offer.”
Even if we have to remind ourselves of this over and over again, that’s okay! I believe baby steps are just as valuable as giant leaps. Needing reminders doesn’t change the fact that this statement is true for us.
Our lives may look different, but our worth hasn’t changed one bit. We’re still as valuable as ever.
We are more than enough.
Want to read more about how I’m learning to find life, healing and purpose in the midst of this life of illness? You can download your own free copy of my book “Embracing the Raw” by clicking here.