Two classic narratives that sweep across genders, sexual preference, friendships, romantic relationships, family dynamics:
Being too much.
Not being enough.
They are seemingly opposites, but we can go from feeling one, to swinging to the other within moments.
Regardless of which belief we find ourselves frozen in, they are both firmly and deeply rooted in fear.
And that fear is controlling the story about who we tell ourselves we are.
We live in a society where being afraid and keeping ourselves small is standard practice, and it is so conditioned in us, that we usually don't even realize it until we get a nudge, or a large shove to wake up. Then, if we heighten our awareness, even if it is just a little, we can find these stories and beliefs popping up for us regularly in situations from home to work to dating to friendships.
In fact, wherever there are relationships, there also are these beliefs and stories. That may seem like a hard truth, but what is even harder is living in them.
We are completely overstimulated when we are in fear mode.
There is no time to relax, no time to tune in to our intuition, and certainly no time to let our guard down enough to see the actual truth of our surroundings.
The truth is, usually, that the other person or people we are with actually think we are great, however we are, and/or are probably also struggling with these same narratives themselves.
We are all in this together, remember.
If we view it as the empty glass / full glass analogy, it can help create a visualization of how we are viewing what we have to offer others:
If we feel like we can never be what is assumed to be desired, we are telling ourselves we are broken and insignificant, we feel not good enough or not worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not ____ enough. We are the empty glass that we see as doing no good to anybody. We are essentially asking ourselves, "Who wants or needs an empty glass?"
On the other side, if we feel we are the over-full glass threatening to spill at any minute, we are seeing ourselves as too stimulated, too dramatic, too loud, too raw, to exposed, letting too much show, being too much of ourselves. And then we ask ourselves why would anyone want to be overloaded with all of that, with all of us?
These two stories can feed each other so easily. Here is an example:
"I'm letting too much show right now, and I'm not mysterious enough." Sound familiar?
I felt that constantly when I first got into relationship. Most of the time, I could waffle one hundred times between these narratives within ten minutes. And it was exhausting, self-limiting, and left me absolutely zero time to enjoy getting to know my new partner.
And then, when I got home, I would analyze every exchange under the fear microscope and
re-label myself as "being too much" all over again.
I was scared to lose the connection by being "too much" or "not enough". (This is where self-abandonment has a really strong opportunity to take the reigns.)
These narratives, though seemingly opposite, are best friends and allies of each other, and they both reflect a deep fear of vulnerability and showing up authentically.
But when we are constantly reminded, subtly or outright, to play it small and keep ourselves "protected", no wonder we fear stepping into our fully expressed selves so much.
If we truly do want to make the effort to step out of these narratives that have been played on the loop pedal of our minds and egos for such a long time, we have to step into a vulnerable spot. That will look different for each person, and there is no wrong way to do it.
Whatever is happening, we will have to take the small dose of courage to say,
"I am here and I am who I am, and what I am is good." That is all. That is the first step.
For me, because I began to feel safe and trusting in my romantic partnership, it helped me ease out of those narratives slowly, and show more of who I was without agonizing over it. The journey out of these narratives took me the majority of our relationship (circa two years), and it was incredibly difficult.
These beliefs had pervaded in all relationships of my life over my entire lifetime, so digging them out at the roots was a long and arduous process, and it required a diligent monitoring of where I let my mind go.
It is not easy at all.
But, it will allow anyone who undertakes the work to finally and really hear themselves, and be seen and heard for the unique individual that they are.
As we begin to recognize the stories we tell ourselves, so can we also being to recognize the stories that others are feeding us. Perhaps there are people in our lives who are actually telling us these exact narratives. When we stop believing them for ourselves, though, it is astonishing how we can then begin to believe others less and less in their fear based critiques of us.
The truth is always: You are enough. You are worthy. You are just right, wherever you are on your journey. Keep stepping towards your true voice. Let the rest fall away, and welcome your complete self with an open heart.
When we affirm these truths within ourselves and live this way, we attract people who love and appreciate every single part of us.