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photography: BenTaylorPhotography.com

 

So my cat has zero problems with self doubt. I watch her mooch about my house, accepting food and cuddles and looking like a goddess the rest of the time (when she’s not hunting marbles). She knows she’s allowed to be here. She’s got nothing to prove to anyone.

 

Humans aren’t so good at this. I had an experience when I was a new mum which gave me a different perspective on the “am I good enough” internal debate.

 

Old Kent Road. February 2007. I’m on the bus heading to the Elephant with a six week old baby –  I’m young, inexperienced, gutsy, unsure.  I’m breastfeeding him, there on the bus, because he’s hungry.

 

I’m nearly home when an older African woman approaches and leans in close. I firm myself up, ready for a dressing down. You never know what people will throw at you in this city.

 

She points her finger sternly,  looks straight into my eyes.  “You should be very proud of yourself, young lady. You should be very proud of yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you anything else. You are a very good mother.”  I think I manage a weak “thankyou” as she turns and heads off the bus. 

 

You can pour as much energy as you’ve got into proving you’re ok, good enough.  The real work is in taking the time to realise how good you actually are.  Once you get there, you realise “good enough” doesn’t come in the form of a certificate, but a kind of bodily knowing. An absence of strain.

 

To work through the layers of shame, self criticism and pain that go along with every achievement, every success, and every beautiful moment is the real work of success.

 

Once you can say “I am enough”, other people will trust you. Because you trust yourself.

 

Permission ceases to be an issue.

 

Much of the energetic drain that people experience going after “success” consists of trying to convince the world to believe something that you do not. And that is exhausting.

 

Better (though emotionally more risky) to put your time and energy into unlearning the habits of thought and feeling convincing you that you are less than ok.

 

There is a lady on your metaphorical bus, getting in your face, telling you you are enough. Are you going to get yourself straight so you can hear her?

 

Want to dive into your own stress/permission/confidence patterns?

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