I watched Tina Fey accept an award once by thanking her parents “for giving me disproportionately high self esteem for my looks and talent.”
“Damn, sister” I thought, “preach.”
I am the kid that people are writing all those books and blogs about, lately. The poster child for the “me” generation, a woman in her twenties who sincerely believes I am awesome. Exceptional. Unique.
Destined for greatness.
Entitled to: a fabulous, creative, challenging job where I make loads of money and travel for three months a year; immense personal and global responsibility, a personal voice in local decision-making and a seat in Congress; a book deal, a talk show, and eventually, a movie, of course.
My mom taught me I could be anyone and do anything. No exceptions, no limitations. Begin, excel, master, End.
The first time I heard the phrase “I am enough” in a yoga class, I thought, “Damn right I am.”
“Where’s the work in that?”
Like everything else in my yoga-life, and not like everything else in my other-than-yoga-life, the learning came slowly. With difficulty, and resistance.
At first, I paid attention to the whispers of self-judgment that play on repeat in the back of my mind, each day:I don’t date enough and I don’t eat healthy enough and I don’t brush my hair enough, either. I don’t make enough money and I don’t have enough travel miles, and someone my age should have a bigger retirement account than I do, right now. I haven’t been to Europe and I still hate airplanes and I’ve never driven a car my dad didn’t buy me.
I’m likely the biggest failure among the high achievers in my graduating class.
Then, the bigger stories seeped in: Like straight A’s on all of my report cards or a week of nausea and years of shame as a consequence. Like the experience of feeling paralyzed by even the thought of failure, and playing it safe to avoid messing it up. Like no matter how good I was at everything, for my dad, it was never enough.
Quitting my job as an attorney was a gigantic spiritual leap towards “I am enough.”
Who will I be without the fancy degree and the impressive job and the ability to showcase how brilliant and special I am by casually slipping in what I do for a living? Who will I be when I give up my sophisticated apartment with the granite counters and stainless steel? What will I tell the people who expect more from me, who know I’m better than this?
How will I make it clear to them, to myself, that “I am enough.”
Some days when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them “I used to be an attorney.”
It sounds better than refusing to answer the question.
Other days, I wake up completely satisfied with my income and occupation and relationship status and the contents of my Roth IRA. I beam with pride and love for myself, standing in the truth of what I know is real for me.
I thank my mom for my confidence and swagger, and my yoga practice for “I am enough.”