Her dream is always the same. In it, she’s lush, pregnant and ready to give birth to the child she’s been carrying and nurturing for nine long months.
When the moment arrives, she pushes the large healthy child from her body out into the world. The attendant takes the child, examines her and declares…
“Not good enough”.
The woman meekly accepts the judgment, wraps the child in a warm flannel blanket and quietly puts the baby in the dresser.
She becomes pregnant again. The baby is not as large this time. The judgment remains the same. Not good enough.
So once again, she carefully wraps the child up and puts it in the drawer. She keeps trying, even though the babies become smaller and smaller. The judgment never changes.
Eventually, the drawer becomes full and there is no more room for babies.
Her heart is broken.
* * * * *
Anyone who’s ever brought something creative out into the world (which means all of us!) has probably had a moment or two of self-doubt. But what happens when the self-doubt runs so deep you don’t even recognize the impact it’s having on you?
Perhaps it’s that book of poetry you never seem to finish or publish. Or paintings you won’t show any one and hide away almost before the paint dries. Maybe you have a real passion for the kind of work you want to do in the world. But you compare yourself to what others are doing and think “not good enough” and into the drawer go your hopes and dreams.
Until one day, with what feels like a broken heart, you just give up.
The thing is, we don’t put our “babies” in the drawer because we don’t love them. We put them there because it feels safer than the alternative, which is to risk doing something that would require us to stand in our power, use our voice and express our authenticity.
To do THAT feels so unsafe because at some point in our life, we DID those things and we got shot down for it. So we made a vow…
Don’t go there, don’t stick out, don’t be heard and don’t be seen. Don’t play big, stay small and “safe” and tucked into your “comfort zone” which actually isn’t all that comfortable, just familiar.
But that’s not how you heal the story.
You heal the story, first by recognizing that you HAVE a story and that it’s getting in your way.
So often, people say “well, that’s just the way it is” or “I’ve always done it that way.”
It’s not that you didn’t come by the story honestly. Maybe the story grew out of a difficult decision in childhood. Or, something your parents passed down from their parents, who got it from their parents all the way back through the seven generations. Maybe you learned it from the culture.
It really doesn't matter where you got the story from. What matters is that you begin to recognize all the tricky ways it sabotages you.
If you can recognize that “not good enough” isn’t YOU, that it’s just a STORY, then you have a choice about what to do next.
You can choose to keep asking yourself “why am I not good enough?”
You can choose to ask a different question, such as “where did this stupid hurtful story come from and what resources do I need in order to change it?”
Once that’s clear, take 100% responsibility for obtaining those resources, whether it’s therapy, coaching, spiritual guidance, or any other path that grounds you in the value of who you are, lets you reclaim your power and own your authentic voice.
Next, be willing to deeply love yourself enough to say “enough!” Commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to create a new, more resourceful story that supports, rather than sabotages you.
And then finally, open the drawer and reclaim your creative "babies". Then stuff that “not good enough” story in the drawer and put it away… forever!