Your parents did the best that they could do. They came from very humble beginnings. Growing up in rural Mississippi was not easy feat. They didn’t come from royalty. They had no silver spoons placed in their mouth. They came from struggle. They were at the bottom of the food chain. At least that is how they saw themselves. This could be understood because back then that’s how the country saw them. That’s how their community saw them. The Man was alive and thriving. The Man owned the property and decided how much he would pay your family to work it. The Man did not see your parents as equals. The Man saw them as lessor and had no compassion to see them do better.
However, your family did manage to do better. Your family managed to buy many acres of Mississippi land. Granted it was land that The Man didn’t want but it was land nonetheless. It was their land. Schools were still segregated because The Man didn’t think your family deserved to go to the same schools as their children. This was unfortunate because the quality of the schools education was not on par. Your family did what it could in the environment that they grew up in. They did indeed do the best that they could do.
Then you were born and your parent’s task was to raise you. They wanted the best for you and they raised you in that manner. They knew that a hard worker could be successful in this world so they instilled hard work into you. They knew that a disciplined child would get the most out of life so they disciplined you heavily so that you followed their rules.
They wanted the best for you but their definition of the best was derived from their own experiences. As their child they wanted to protect you from the disappointments of the world. They had experienced many and didn’t want you to have to do the same. In your family’s mind there was only so much you could do in this world and they wanted you to focus on doing only what you could.
First they wanted you to have a good job after you finished your education. Good jobs weren’t easy to come buy for them unless they were certain types of jobs. A job in a factory that had steady pay and benefits was definitely obtainable. Jobs that required special education and came with titles were definitely obtainable (doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, professors, etc). The military was always an option because if you could finish 20 years you were guaranteed a retirement check for life. After all the goal of working was to make decent money so you could have a good retirement. Much of your family didn’t know what a good retirement was like because they didn’t have retirement checks, pensions, 401Ks or any old money saved away. They had the land and that was it. There were small houses on the land but no money was accumulating from the land. As a matter of fact the land came with some burden because of the annual taxes that accompanied it.
So your family believed that to control your destiny you had to get a good education, get a good job and eventually retire comfortably. This sounded good but your family didn’t know how to do most of it because they were still in the midst of creating it for themselves. Therefore they didn’t know how to teach you to do it.
What they did know is all the pitfalls and obstacles you would face along the way. They knew that because they had faced them or where currently facing them themselves. As their child you were an extension of them. As an extension of them they unknowingly treated your life as if it were theirs. That is where the problems manifested.
As a child you too were trying to do the best that you could. You wanted to be accepted socially amongst your peers. You wanted plenty of friends. You wanted to be one of the cool kids that everybody wanted to hang around. You wanted to hang also. However, your parents felt that because they didn’t want some strangers child hanging around their house all day then that other family felt the same way. You actually were punished for staying over someone else’s house too long.
Since your parent’s friends had never done anything to make them more successful to protect you they discouraged you from having friends. You were denied the opportunity to hang out at many events because you were told you don’t need friends. You parents were trying to protect you from the life that they had manifested.
As a child you knew everyone needed to get a good education. You were actually very smart. Yet for some reason you only did enough in school. Funny thing is only doing enough was good enough to graduate with a 3.6 GPA and a nice score on the ACT. You got your first 4.0 the last semester of high school. There was no celebration, no pat on the back. You were merely asked why didn’t you do that every semester.
Encouragement was not on the list of activities that happened in your household as you grew up. Education was important but your parent’s intellect hadn’t made a huge impact on their success so they didn’t know how to encourage you to get the most out of yours.
Any mistake you made as a child, and you made many, was like the end of the world. You disrespected your family. You knew better and you did this, how could you? For your mistakes you were punished and punished heavily. This was meant to teach you not to make more mistakes. No let that be restated. This was meant to deter you from making more mistakes. Just like the prison system this isn’t about rehabilitation this about deterrence. Just like the prison system it didn’t work at keeping you from making more mistakes.
As a child you wanted to play sports because you were good at them. However your parents played sports in school and it didn’t lead to any success. Your parents believed shouldn’t play sports because it’s not going to lead you to any success either. You may think you are good but that doesn’t matter. Focus on your grades and forget about sports. It is a waste of your time and you could get hurt.
Deep down your parents actions always made you question, “Am I good enough?” You didn’t realize it then but you understand it now. The lack of encouragement didn’t make you feel like you were enough. The idea that other parents didn’t want you hanging around their house didn’t make your feel like you were enough. The punishment with no rehabilitation didn’t make you feel like you were enough. The you can do better but you didn’t, didn’t make your feel like you were enough. The don’t disrespect our family by what you do outside this house, didn’t make you feel like you were enough. All it did do was make you wonder deep down “Are you good enough?”
That is why you continue to make mistakes. That is why you continue to hesitate on implementing big ideas. That is why you used to not want to speak up in meetings in fear you would say the wrong thing. That is why you would hold back your work until you felt it was perfect when in fact it was good enough. That is why you withdraw and don’t communicate when you need to. That is why you want your own family’s unconditional love so bad that you look for signs that you’re not getting it. Deep down you believe that you are not enough.
You did not get your PHD in Physics. You are not a VP, GM or any other executive at your company. You don’t own your own successful business. You haven’t kept up with your friends from high school or college. You don’t hang out with your current friends as much as they hang out with each other. You are not in the best shape of your life. You are not the most handsome man in the room. You don’t dress as nice as you could. You are not the life of the party. You are so hard on yourself because deep down you believe that “You are not enough”.
Knowing that now the question is how to do you change that belief. A simple affirmation is not enough. You have to go deeper. You have to do more. You will need help. You cannot do this on your own. You will need the encouragement that you didn’t get as a child. You will need to create your own evidence that you are indeed enough. Actually you may not have to create the evidence you may just need to open your eyes. You will need to forgive yourself for your mistakes. You will need to take full responsibility for your life and your actions.
You will then see that you are enough. You will see that you are more than enough. No one will ever again influence you to believe otherwise. You own your beliefs and if they are not serving you it is your duty to change them. You are committed to do so. Journaling like this is a great step in the right direction.
You are enough. So it is written so it shall be.