It’s easy to be swamped in your insecurities and fears, but one simple phrase can give you a sense of calm and happiness and change the direction of your life for the better…
How often do you scroll through Instagram or your Facebook feed, look at the picturesque snippets of other lives, compare them to your own and feel you don’t measure up? Or flick through magazines and wonder how you can get that perfect house, hair, outfit, and figure? Maybe you read about someone younger than you who seems to have achieved twice as much as you have.
So much of our society is based around aspirational messages and it’s not a negative thing to have big dreams, goals, and ambitions. Where many people struggle is balancing their hopes for the future with feeling satisfied with their present selves. Anxiety, stress, and depression can overwhelm your thoughts and emotions until you’re bogged in a mire of low self-esteem, stuck in a self-defeating cycle of comparing your life to someone else’s.
Marisa Peer, a therapist of 30 years who has helped a number of high-profile clients with insecurity and confidence issues, including Oscar winners and Olympic athletes, says “If you have a voice in your head saying you are not all you could be, replace it with one that says ‘I AM ENOUGH’. Say it every morning and every night until it sinks in and your mind accepts it. Say it when you’re in the shower, cleaning your teeth, travelling to work. ‘I am enough, I have enough, I have always been enough and I always will be enough.’”
While it can be challenging to free yourself from the need to be perfect and simply be who you are while acknowledging that you still have room to grow (like every person on the planet), being able to do so will set you up for future success. Not to mention the ability to deal with obstacles and meet every challenge with conviction.
Businesses and celebrities are getting on board with this healthier kind of honest aspiration. We’ve all seen the no makeup selfies from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Laverne Cox, Cameron Diaz, and Rihanna. After her run as the Bachelorette, Samantha Frost posted ‘raw’ photos on her Instagram account with the caption ‘The reality – no make-up, no filter, no edits, just me. Dark circles, patchy tan, blemished face, uneven eyebrows, dirty hair… And while I have fun getting dolled up, young girls shouldn’t scroll their Instagram and have an unrealistic idea of what they should look like. Do you, and love you. Exactly the way you are.’
Meanwhile Target has launched a photoshop-free swimwear campaign with untouched images of models who are a range of body shapes and sizes, and models within a variety of age ranges. The advertising industry’s credo of depicting aspirational images hasn’t changed; what is changing is what we now consider as aspirational. People who are comfortable and confident in themselves are role models for both adults and children.
However sometimes it’s not easy to overcome the inner voice that embodies all our insecurities and fears, Marisa Peer acknowledges. “It’s natural to initially come up with objections to the ‘enough’ statement. ‘I am not really enough because I don’t have a great job and I don’t earn enough money’; or ‘I am not enough. I don’t even have a car’. At this stage many people give up. Don’t! You simply need to look at the objections and replace them with something better. If you keep on with the self-praise eventually you will run out of objections and your brain will conclude: ‘You say this so often and with such conviction it must be true’. When eventually your brain starts agreeing with you, you are ﬁnally making real progress.”
“When you say ‘I am enough’ say it out loud; say it with feeling; say it like you mean it and say it over and over again until it replaces all those feelings of negativity,” Marisa suggests. “When you have reached acceptance that you do have enough, you will begin to have positive energy. People like people who like themselves and we all gravitate towards those who have inner peace.”
This article was originally published in Issue 3, Breathe Magazine – Restore Serenity.