From a very early age, I felt as if I didn’t measure up to the expectations my parents and relatives had for me. One of the statements that still make me emotional today is “you should have been a boy.” To make matters even more uncomfortable, we were a family of three daughters – Tres Marias, as everyone called us. Being a family of all daughters apparently wasn’t a very appealing family dynamic for a Filipino household as they also believed in the patriarchal systems like many other cultures. So for most of my life, I heard that one of us should be a boy.
Yes, I understand the importance of passing down the legacy of the surname. I also realized at an early age that this system is flawed. Without the females in the community, generations wouldn’t exist. Women in most cultures were viewed as less than and my Filipino heritage wasn’t any different. So with that one statement, repeated many many times during my childhood, I never felt that I measured up to something that I couldn’t control. I never felt that I was enough just as I am. Just as I came into this world.
As it turns out, this was the foundation from where my negative self monologue stemmed from. I only recognized that this statement shaped my belief in myself when I began to dig deep within myself and do some major inner work.
Inner work – the process of deliberately changing yourself through bringing an awareness to what is happening inside you and how it affects what you do in the world.1
I had gone through therapy when I was a teenager for childhood traumas. While I won’t go into that at this time, I want you to know that going to therapy really helped me tap into the feelings I had about who I was as a human in this world. Therapy was a safe space for me to understand what my inner being needed and I was thankful that my parents were open to providing me with this space.
Inner being – a person’s true or internal mind, soul, or nature.2
As an adult, I could never shake the negative self talk I had around being enough. I struggled with my self worth for my entire life. I never understood how to overcome this belief I had of myself. I didn’t have the tools to even begin to heal that deep part of myself. The inner child who heard that because she was a girl and not a boy – she wasn’t enough.
Since I couldn’t control the gender I was born with, I decided to control everything else around me. I became a control freak. I wanted everything to be as perfect as it could be because it was something that I could control. I thought that if I created an environment that was perfect that maybe, just maybe I would be accepted for who I am. I was chasing an invisible and unattainable standard of perfection and being enough. The questions I began to ask myself were:
What is perfect?
What is enough?
How is it measured?
This was the beginning of my journey to healing the inner narrative that everything had to be perfect, I had to be perfect, and everything around me needed to be perfect. I began to ask myself really hard questions and began to write down what I really believed about myself.
- Why does everything have to be perfect?
- Everything has to be perfect so people think I have my life together even if I don’t.
- What is enough?
- I have no idea what enough is but I think its more than I am already doing.
- How is it measured?
- What? I have no idea but I’m sure its more than what I am doing now.
Yes it all looks and sounds very irrational but in my mind it all made sense. Challenging all of the beliefs I’ve had since I was a child was and still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done for myself. It has allowed me be free of creating an immeasurable scale for myself that I could never truly quantify or gauge when it was enough.
Change the language
What I’ve learned from challenging my beliefs of myself from childhood is that they no longer help me become the best adult version of myself. So I began the hard work of reframing the words I used to describe myself because I knew that how I described myself was how I truly valued who I was and it didn’t sound like I valued myself at all. I wanted to badly to create a more accepting inner being and I knew that it wouldn’t be easy but I was up for the challenge. I began to ask myself one really hard but simple question everyday.
- What if what you did today was enough?
- Ummmm…I don’t know. That sounds really weird but ok if that’s true then I don’t feel like I need to do more.
That question is the same question I ask myself today because it allows me to accept that who I am and what I’ve done is plenty. There is no reason to perfect the task that I needed to do or to create a more polished persona. I could just be. And just being was glorious! The more I allowed myself to just be, the more I was comfortable with doing the best I could at that time, knowing that it is absolutely 100% enough.
This is hard work
Yes, it is hard to challenge the beliefs you’ve had about yourself for as long as you can remember BUT what if, they’re 100% wrong?
What if you can?
What if you are enough?
What if you are perfect just as you are?
What if you are capable just as you are?
I know what you’re going to say – BUT I have never been able to do that in the past because …..
Yes I understand that reasoning 100%! I thought that way too until I allowed myself to just take a small step forward into “What if I can?”
What would that look like?
How would I accomplish that?
What would I need help with?
Instead of asking myself a finite Yes or No question, I asked myself a more inquisitive question – What if? Questioning how I would accomplish a task, project, or job allowed me to freely think about all the ways it could be accomplished instead of if I could accomplish it at all. When I began to reframe the beliefs I had for myself, I began to transform how I spoke to myself. This was absolutely freeing!
If you read through this post and said, “me too” or “Amen” or “that’s me.” Know that you are not the only one who struggles with their self worth. Furthermore, know that you can begin to change the narrative of how you speak to yourself. I’d love to help you begin that process! The hardest thing to do is to admit you need some support. Guess what! I will offer my services to you for free.
All you have to do is schedule a session using my scheduling link here. Click on the FREE 30 minute session. We can talk through whatever you want. It’s your time and I want to honor whatever is most important for you. A coaching session is a place were you can say anything you want about yourself and no one else will hear about it. Its a confidential safe space for you to be as vulnerable and transparent as you want. You drive the conversation, I just ask you questions to help you get to where you want to go. Sounds easy enough right?
Let’s get started! Schedule your free session today. Click here. The best investment you can make is to become your best true self and I am here to 100% support you in that.