I was born into a wonderful and loving family. I am the youngest of three children, with both an older brother and sister. When I was younger I often felt like my brother and sister related better to one another than I did to them. I sometimes felt left out on their jokes and their adventures.
For me, this was the first time I can consciously remember not feeling like I was enough. That who I was, wasn’t good enough to be included in all of the fun and the secrets that my brother and sister shared.
Next would be the time in grade eight when I was called a porker (pleasantly plump would’ve been a little nicer). Following that would be being cheated on by a girlfriend… and then by another one.
I share these experiences with you so that you can see that, time after time, we all have these moments of feeling excluded and not lovable.
Those are some of mine. What are yours?
Now the challenge with understanding our childhood experiences, such as mine, is that we look back with the eyes and mind of an adult. I can rationally process the way I felt was silly. With my siblings it was just a phase of our childhood. My brother and sister meant no harm and I have wonderful relationships with them today. My girlfriends were young and I made decisions and choices that led to their choices… we’ve since reconciled so everything is ok now, right?
What you can see from all of this, is that I can make my feelings make sense.
But here’s the issue that happens when we do this to our past stories, especially from our childhoods:
We dismiss our wounds and don’t acknowledge that when we were four, eight, or twelve years old (whatever the age), those were real and valid emotional experiences. By rationalizing these experiences, we invalidate our childhood feelings.
We often don’t think our past experiences influence our lives today because we understand them logically, but that doesn’t heal them and stop them from being the main program running in our subconscious and guiding our decisions. Our emotional brain still remembers the impact of not feeling like we’re lovable… And the pain of the fear of isolation for a human is far greater than any other psychological pain (or physical pain) we can experience. To protect ourselves and prevent this pain we often react defensively, we cling so tightly to the people we love, and, in some cases, it causes us to never let people in…because if we do, we believe they’ll just hurt us.. and often, in our pasts, we’ve been proven right.
Here’s the deal… 99.9% of us live with the underlying belief that we’re not enough. For some of us we may intellectualize it as a “fear of rejection” and/or a “fear of abandonment”. But even at the base of those fears is the underlying belief that we’re not lovable. Because of this underlying belief of unworthiness, most of us send our representatives out into the world to be the ones who are seen. The version of us who acts like everything is wonderful and then goes home and suffers from GI issues, weight issues, depression, drinks Jack Daniels for breakfast, and for some reason, has crippling anxiety and just can’t sleep.
The majority of the time, the underlying pathology is that being someone else is f*cking exhausting. Pretending like everything is ok, f*cking sucks. Acting like we believe we’re good enough by buying more shit and getting more affluence works for a bit… till it doesn’t. And then we just go into hyperdrive and pretend “everything is fine” so as to hide the scared child who lives underneath. And the truth is that we can never get enough surgeries, lip injections, botoxes (is there a plural for this?), do enough drugs, eat enough food, become successful enough, take enough steroids, or buy enough sh*t to hide the fact that we’re afraid. The fact that we don’t believe we’re lovable.
Based on this definition most of us are frauds aren’t we?! Sh*tty deal right?! At least we’re all playing the same tricks. Really we’re just a bunch of actors and representatives running around pretending we love sh*t we don’t love and living lives composed of things we’re “supposed to” want… It’s insane isn’t it?! This is the greatest joke of awareness… that if none of us played the game, it wouldn’t exist. Welcome to the conundrum of humanity.
Freedom begins the moment we quit the game. When we begin to shed the bullsh*t stories we’ve been taught and actually decide we’re going to choose a life that reflects what we want, that we actually love ourselves, and we’re worthy of being loved for who we truly are. The trick is, we have to give it to ourselves first… and that means finally letting people see us. The real us.
How do you know if you’re kinda/sorta wearing a mask and pretending to be someone you’re not? It’s not that hard to diagnose…
Let’s try it:
Does your partner know everything about your past? Are you both open to talking about the greatest fears and the times you felt rejected and didn’t feel like enough?
Do you persecute your partner for their pasts? Do you get hung up on how many sexual partners they’ve had and the mistakes they’ve made?
Do you hold back your real feelings and don’t tell your partner that you’re upset out of fear of being seen as “needy” and/or “too emotional”?
Do you have stories and situations that you’re holding onto in your relationship from years ago that you are afraid to talk about? (If so, it’s not in the past… it’s a giant elephant in the fucking room… it’s operating in your underlying behaviour and unconscious in every moment.)
Do you avoid telling your partner about things you’ve done because you don’t believe they can handle the truth and/or they’ll get upset?
If you’re single, do you choose people who treat you poorly? Do you keep breaking up and getting back together? Do you keep dating “a*sholes” or “b*tches”?
Do you suffer from GI disorders or skin outbreaks? Do you have pain in your body that is there despite all your efforts to understand it and treat it?
Do you subscribe to a religious/spiritual practice and hold others to a standard while you have secret indiscretions that don’t align with that practice? Do you operate with an actual set of beliefs that are different than the ones you say matter so much to you?
Do you harbour any racism and/or dislike any group that doesn’t believe what you believe?
Do you have issues with your weight, drugs, alcohol, gambling, debt, food, sex, partying… and just in general anything that seems to be an escape from the pain?
Are you currently living a life that feels out of control, and your soul is calling to you with every ounce of its power?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, there’s also an incredibly high chance you’re a human being.
Every single question above indicates that we would rather be loved for who we pretend to be as it’s safer, than be loved for who we really are… because we’re afraid that no one will love the real us. The core belief at play here… guess?!? DING DING DING. We’re unlovable.
So what’s the way out? Awareness. Truth (getting real with ourselves). And then a sh*t ton of courage.
I wish I could sugarcoat this sh*t, but if I ask you to pursue truth I need to give it to you straight. Look, it sucked that I had to admit I was chasing love through flings. It sucked when I saw that I used alcohol as an excuse to numb my values and integrity. It really sucked when I saw that I made protecting my feeling of unworthiness – a core part of my former identity – more important than my desire to love deeply. It monumentally blew (not the good kind) when I saw that I hadn’t actually let anyone love me… like, truly love me, in sixteen years.
But I had to face all of my sh*t to change my life. I had to admit that I didn’t have it all figured out and that I’d been hiding myself and my heart because I didn’t want to get hurt. I let go of a religion that caused more separation than unity. I let go of any beliefs that made it so I didn’t meet others with love and acceptance.
It sucked but it was also the most freeing and transformative moment in my life when I decided to stop changing myself to accommodate the world, and instead said…
“This is who I am Universe. What do you got for me?”
For the first time, I let the world adjust to me.
When we finally see that everyone is full of sh*t and no one actually knows what the hell they’re doing, we begin to understand that under everyone’s representative and “perfect” life is a child who desperately craves to be loved. A child that craves a voice, and the birth of an amazing life is through giving that child words and self-expression.
How do we even begin to do that? Grab a piece of paper and a pen and take an inventory of the things in your life that are out of alignment. What do I mean by that? Anything that feels forced, heavy, and not a celebration of who you are in your heart. What relationships (family and friends included) are weighing you down? Is your job what you really want to do? Do you live in a city/place that feels good? Geez… does your home feel good?! What are the habits in your life that hurt you more than they help you?
Start there. Start with an audit of your life… and then get ready to be courageous. Because all of this stuff is easy to understand with our brains… and a whole other story to face and change. Why? Changing parts of our identity, especially a core belief (that we’re unlovable), can be challenging because of the neural pathways we’ve built and the foundations of our life (jobs, religion & relationships) have been constructed upon our identity in order to reinforce it. We’ll even fight wars and kill others to preserve our beliefs.
So, if we want to feel like we’re enough we have to make choices that reflect that. In each moment where you’re feeling stuck and/or wondering what you should do, ask yourself:
“If I was enough, would I tolerate this situation? If I was enough, would this matter? If I was enough, what would I do in this moment?”
On a final note, I want you to truly understand, like to truly feel, to awaken to the truth… that the loneliness you fear, the paralyzing concern that if people met the real you, you won’t be loved… is happening right before you’re eyes. Because if you don’t share your deepest truths with the world, you’re sending the message to yourself that you’re not lovable. The thing you fear most you’re already living in… so it can’t get worse. It can only get better. And the people who are meant to love you for the real you, will. That’s a fact. But they can’t find you till you find you.