“I Am Enough”

Holding Up a Sad FaceI was sitting at the unemployment office the other day—just, y’know visiting, seeing how things were going. Doing my public service bit. Seriously, I was sitting there, because I was told to report on my job search.

The guy at the front desk assured me that someone would call me soon. So I sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat, waiting to discuss my progress. Finally after two hours, a guy asked me why I was sitting there. “Because you’ve been here forever,” he added. It turns out that the person who was supposed to call me over assumed that someone else was going to do so. Sigh.

Why am I writing this? Because of a TED Talk I just heard, given by researcher–storyteller Brené Brown. Isaac Yuen posted the video on his blog: Ekostories. Brown talked about her job as a researcher, but mainly she talked about vulnerability—what sets apart those who approach life wholeheartedly from those who don’t.

I don’t know about you, but I usually have to be beaten with a stick to be vulnerable. So I was totally with Brown who described her fight against vulnerability.

But yesterday was all about vulnerability. I had to go to the unemployment office twice, because the first time, I’d forgotten the letter I received ordering me to arrive, and the guy at the front desk told me I needed it. I got lost trying to backtrack after leaving the unemployment office. I turned left when I should have turned right. And after returning and finally talking to someone about my job search progress—and being told what I’m doing wrong—I felt a mess. I wanted to crawl in a hole somewhere.

We want the success story, don’t we? The triumphant days where someone gets engaged or gets the job or gets that book contract. (Or has only a two-minute wait, instead of a two-hour wait.) But life sometimes isn’t like that, or at least lacks that definition of triumph. For me triumph was finally making it back home—after getting lost a second time!!!

Maybe there are days when you feel broken or wobbly or sad. If you listened to the TED Talk, you’ll recognize the quote used in the title of this post. That statement resonated with me, because I’ve wondered if having X made me worthy. Brown talked about those who were vulnerable as those who had a sense of worthiness. So what’s X? Whatever I thought made me worthy: another degree; a great job; a great spouse; a twenty-pound weight loss; a great bank account; a six-figure book contract with celebrities embracing my book. So, if I don’t have those, what then?

As I write these words, I can’t help crying. Because this is where I live. This is reality. But you know what? I needed to see that statement—“I am enough”—shown on the TED Talk (and you have to hear it to know what I mean). I needed to know that I don’t have to have X or hide behind a polished veneer, even in this blog. I can have the guts to be real with you, to be who I am, warts and all. Because I am enough.

Image from fishoilblog.com.

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71 thoughts on ““I Am Enough”

    • I’m so glad you stopped by, because that led me to your recent post. I totally get what you mean!!! and I so appreciated that post!! So thank you for commenting today!

      • Thanks! I had just put up my post and started looking through the blogs I follow when I found your post–and they seemed related. I see lots of wonderful responses to your post–good advice for us all!

  1. What a nightmare! I would have probably crumbled into a corner and cried, too (and that would have been after having to go home to get the letter and getting lost the FIRST time)! Some days are just like this. They just stink. It’s a good thing that, indeed, you ARE enough and that we have a great God is IS enough.

  2. When my company closed in 2010, I experienced 10 months of unemployment. It was an extremely stressful and difficult time. It’s so easy to ask yourself, “Am I enough” when you send your resume out and don’t get a call; you’re self confidence definitely takes a beating. Stay in faith and God will place you into the right position. I know it’s difficult, but knowing He had a plan helped me. Good luck to you.

    • Thank you, Jill. I appreciate your encouraging words. It’s hard, isn’t it, to admit when life isn’t perfect? It’s also easy to fall into doubt. Thanks again.

  3. Been there at the unemployment office. The rats told me I had an obligation to take a job mopping floors if I could get it. So what about my education? I don’t know how anyone goes through that place and wrings a penny out of them, let alone leave feeling like a human being. Sorry for all you’re going through. On the bright side, most people make it through to a better job than they had before. I guess it’s all about opportunity. May opportunity smile on you!

  4. You are enough! And to those you care about and who care about you, you are much more than enough. Smile! Life itself is our greatest friend and bully. It’s only a child bully on the playground. It’ll get bored when you refuse to be put down. Keep standing up tall and life will be impressed enough to be a friend that won’t leave you at your worst, that you’re glad to have 🙂

    I believe in you!!

  5. I feel moved to write something that might encourage you. I recently stopped a young man from killing himself. He said his life was unbearable. He had no job, no friends and no prospects and that he wanted to die. I talked to him for over two hours, relating to him that I had once felt the same way as a young man. I understood his pain. After a circular conversation we kept ending back at the same point – his feelings of despair and uselessness. I became angry. I swore at him and told him that no-one was useless, that we all possessed something so valuable that we must fight to preserve it – life itself. I told him that if he could make this one brave choice, he could build a new life, moment to moment, day by day, year after year… until life gave up on him!

    I wasn’t selling him a line. I also told him it wouldn’t be easy. But I knew he could definitely do it, if he tried. Because I had done the same. Smashing that boulder of self-doubt, self-loathing one grain, one stone, one rock at a time.

    Thankfully, he took that step away from the ledge. He made his choice.

    This harrowing incident reminded me how important it is to to fight against anything which makes us feel ‘less than enough’. Although your case is not as extreme, at these times we can be overwhelmed by the self-doubt inherent in us.

    My advice would be laugh-off today, sleep well and rise up tomorrow, determined to fight afresh. We never know what we’re going to pull out of our lives tomorrow. You have already shown that you are brave by sharing this with the world.

    Tomorrow just got that one rock easier!

    I’ll leave you with a bit of Russian. (Tough buggers and some of my favourites)

    “A battle is won by those who firmly resolve to win it.” Tolstoy (War and Peace)

    • Thank you for that quote! I love it! I’ll have to print it and place it by my computer.

      I’m so glad you were there for that young man, and that he had the courage to continue. You are so right. Thanks for being there for me too. You have encouraged me, and I deeply appreciate it.

  6. Here’s a big cyber hug for you. You have a lot of courage to put these words out there. It’s part of what separates good writers from great ones. You are willing to be vulnerable. That is power.

    May this season of life pass quickly. The sunshine is just over the horizon. xo

    • Well, Andra, I appreciate the fact that even when you’re vulnerable, your posts still make me laugh (and cry, like when you posted about your grandmother). So, thank you for your encouragement. I really needed that this week.

  7. {{{LINDA}}} <— me hugging you.
    Linda, you are *more* than just enough. You are smart, kind, well-educated, loyal, hard-working and funny. And you are a fantastic writer who can spin an entire world out of thin air. I know, I know, you're asking: And how is all that going to get me a job? I wish I had an easy answer. But I hope that all of the beautiful comments before this one will at least reassure you that you ARE enough and you are valued and loved. Though it's hard to believe: This too shall pass.

    • Thanks, Laura, for yuor words and the cyber hug! Will try to remember that there are some seasons in life (even though right now, I’m feeling like a steak pounded and seasoned).

  8. Hi L. Marie. This post really resonated with me as I’ve had plenty of low times in my life. Even now I can have days when I feel a bit worthless. Thankfully I’m at a happy time in my life – I have a great husband, a lovely dog and a nice house & car. But sometimes it’s still not enough. Due to illness I’ve done years of voluntary work and I sometimes feel like I couldn’t do paid work because I’m not good enough.

    I think it’s very brave of you to share this with us all. You are worth something, you’re worth so much and you’ve just got to keep your chin up and remember that everyone feels that way sometimes. I know it’s hard but with friends and family (and other bloggers/writers) supporting you, you will get through this. 🙂

    • Thanks, Elaine, for your encouragement. Seems like everyone’s going through a tough time. What type of volunteer work do you do?

      What kind of dog do you have?

      • I volunteer for a charity called Sustrans which promotes healthy forms of transport, particularly cycling. We have a mad golden retriever called Dug – named him after the dog in the wonderful Disney Pixar film ‘Up’. If you haven’t seen it I’d highly recommend it. 🙂

      • Man, Shelby, that was the perfect song! Thanks for posting!!! And um, I hope I can find anything, ’cause you know I have a tendency to get lost. But thanks, friend!! Miss you! 🙂

    • I’ve done a lot of volunteer work as well, and it can be quite fulfilling. My co-host of the radio show (Latin American and Iberian music, poetry, and history) has Asperger’s like me, but is more severely affected in that he can’t get a paid job and refuses to apply for disability. I was a fan of his show before becoming the assistant host and now the co-host, and even though we don’t get paid for doing what we do, I know there are some people out there who get a lot of pleasure out of listening to us.

      • That’s hard, Lyn. And he has the right to get the disability payments. But I understand the hassle of applying. Perhaps someone could help with the process.

  9. You are more than enough! Hear me??? I’m hear for you if you need anything. I’ll be a virtual shoulder to cry on, or we can just chat over a virtual cup of sweet tea. *hugs*

  10. A big cyber hug from me as well, Marie. So sorry to hear about your experiences with the unemployment office and I hope things turn around there.

    Those types of days are rough, but I hope you feel some glimmer of hope knowing that we all have them. I, for one, think writing about them is cathartic and hope you never feel like you have to be someone else here, because we’re only interested in the real you. 🙂

    • Thanks, Phillip. This has been quite an up and down week. Well, an up and down six months actually. But I appreciate your encouragement and cyber hug. And I’m sure you meant to offer cookies as well. I accept those too.

      • How thoughtless of me! I totally meant to offer cookies, so I’m glad you’ve already accepted them. Don’t worry, those are chocolate chips, not raisin impostors.

  11. Thank you for this honest post, Linda! I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching as well, which is not something I can write on a public blog but know is something we can talk about when I see you next week. But in the meantime, please know that you have friends whose lives are better because you are a part of them.

  12. ‘I am beginning to measure myself in strength, not pounds. Sometimes in smiles.’ – Laurie Halse Anderson, Winter Girls.
    Don’t know how helpful this is, taken out of context, but your measure is great.
    You have been a constant support since my first days on here, and the smiles you measure should count not only your own but the ones you create in others.
    “Chin up!” barks Corporal Jackdaw, “better days ahead!”

    • Once again, you’re giving the jackdaws a good reputation. 😉 Thank you, Andy. You know I enjoy your blog and hearing about your family. And please get your son a balloon if not for his sake, for the sake of my nerves. Because I can’t stand the thought that he went without a balloon!!!

      • Rest assured. A friend who read my shared post on FB provided an ’emergency balloon bag’ for those leaner, difficult times. The moral is there are always bigger and brighter balloons around the corner. 🙂

    • Thanks, Ionia. I enjoy the Ted talks, but I find myself feeling a bit inadequate afterward. Like when Brene spoke, I kept thinking that if I had to give the same talk, I would seriously need notes. And my voice would shake! Maybe that’s why they never asked me to do one of these talks.

    • Thank you. I can’t help thinking of one of your posts (“Help Her, No More”). My experience is nowhere near as difficult as yours. But thank you.

  13. Thanks Marie for writing this post and turning me on to that TED talk. I also at times have a hard time being vulnerable on my blog, but try and remember that I like reading these kinds of posts (like the one you just wrote) the most. Because in writing that you are enough you helped remind me today that I am also enough – and that even though struggle can feel isolating it doesn’t have to be.

    • Thanks, Alison. It’s kinda like crying in public. I hate doing that, which is why I’ve avoided seeing Les Miserables. I’m glad, though, that the reminder was helpful for you.

      I have a draft of my guest post. But I’m trying to make it actually make sense. ‘Cause, y’know, I’d hate to embarrass you and have your readers run away screaming from your blog while you’re away.

  14. Oh, man 😦 What an awful day! But your difficulty with vulnerability and need to be enough so resonates with me. I often play that game of “if only I had this or that I’d be amazing and everyone would love/see me.” It’s a dangerous game. But you ARE enough, and I’m so glad you’re my friend 🙂

    • Thank you, Shawna. I’m glad we’re friends. And when your book series generates a fortune, I will mooch off you. ‘Cause that’s what friends are for.

      P.S. You don’t have to wonder, “If only I had . . . ’cause I’d be amazing.” You already are.

  15. Oh wow! And You are totally right! I’m in a wheelchair, so i know it’s not easy for me to get a job in my situation, so I go through a certain company who help people who have disabilities get a job…. but yet I have been with them since I was 14, and I am 21 years old now AND NOT ONE JOB INTERVIEW!!!! NOT impressed at all…. It looked promising last year but they told me i had to wait a month for someone to get back from their ‘holiday’… Soo I wait…. it’s nearly been a year! HA Some holiday!

    • I’m really sorry to hear that. And I hate that you’ve been jerked around. Will continue to think of you and your job search. But mostly, I need you to get that dream house built. Because it is awesome!!! Such lovely space.

  16. Once again, I am in awe of your humaneness. Your courage and honesty and ability to live out what you believe–even in the face of grueling, draining demands–in the face of people so busy with their own duties they don’t see the incredible, beautiful person you are. So, here’s to the balance of life. Because, now the Universe owes you one marvelous, singing, amazing day! Keeping my fingers crossed that it comes soon. Today would be good.

  17. Thank you for sharing the talk and for being vulnerable as well – your last paragraph moved me deeply. I’m going through a bit a rough patch in my personal life, but during the better stretches I remind myself I am learning from my experiences to live a more whole-hearted life. Because life really goes by quick, and I have to make the best of it.

    • Well, Isaac, your post inspired it. So, thanks for posting that video and talking about one of my favorites–Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Hope life gets better for you soon.

  18. Pingback: “Well, I’m back” | El Space–The Blog of L. Marie

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