I suppose there’s an irony to the fact this is first on my list of “rules to live by,” as it’s something I’ve struggled with for much of my life.
We could blame parental trauma. We could blame late-stage capitalism. We could blame debilitating insecurity, creative resistance, the desire to compete, unfaithful lovers, shitty friends–you name it. There are any number of places I could point to that feed my struggle to believe I am enough.
I’ve wrestled with an innate sense of worthlessness for much of my life, the fear that any love given to me is inherently conditional. Love has always felt like something that must be worked for, earned, won.
None of that is true.
In fiction writing, I’ve heard this referred to as a character’s “core misbelief.” It’s the wound that points to the lesson they must learn. The simple truth that I am enough is a lesson I’ve been learning again and again throughout my life. Perhaps this is why it takes the top slot on the list.
When I wrote the original list of rules, I was taking an acting class at the theater company where I worked. The first session, the teacher stormed in, plopped down in his chair, and spouted platitudes about how pretending to be a character wasn’t interesting.
“You are interesting,” he said. “Not your idea of the character or who you’re supposed to be. You are enough, all on your own.”
While my relationship with this teacher proved complicated (and often counter to his own lessons), his lesson that day continues to stick with me.
You are enough.
These words aren’t an excuse for complacency, but a call to arms. No one who ever did anything remarkable was any more of a person than you are now.
You–with your all experience and scars and baggage and the little molecules that make you you–are enough.