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Do you ever feel like you are not enough?

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

"Needing and lack is a state of ego. We go around and around trying to improve ourselves through struggle, until we realize that the ambition to improve ourselves is the problem."

-Chogyam Trungpa

If you are like most people, you have a deep belief that you are just not enough? You are constantly striving to fix yourself, and you believe you will be happy and peaceful as soon as you are better than where you are. You have become a project for yourself that you keep trying to complete and equate project success with happiness. Constant striving to learn, develop your abilities, achieve, trying to fix every situation around you, gain recognition - all these have become the norm. You have made yourself into a problem, and your life goes into a spiral of finding a solution and fixing yourself. A vicious cycle indeed.

Do you ever feel like you are not enough? Sunitha Sandeep, Executive Coach
Do you ever feel like you are not enough?

Suppose you step back for a moment and observe your mind. In that case, everything the mind is doing is searching for something better – a better home, a better validation from others, a better mate, a better job, a better bank balance, a better meditation practice, a better spiritual experience, a better recognition, a better health, a better feeling, and so on. Your mind is not at fault because it thinks by doing those above, it can make you feel good, and maybe you do feel good for a while, but you know that the feel-good experience evaporates within a short time, and soon your mind attempts to make you happy again. On the other side of it, your mind is also resisting and suppressing things you don’t like, to shield you from feeling bad. Poor mind is overworked; it is doing anything in its ability to make sure you get what you want.

So who is it that’s not happy and thinks and feels you are not enough? I call it the storyteller or the ego; others might call it the narrative-self or the voice inside your head or little me or separate-self. That’s the one that voices an opinion about everyone, judging yourself and others, orders what you should and should not do, what and whom it likes and does not like. It manipulates, expects, wants, rages, resists, tries, and generates emotions of sadness, despair, anger, rage, doubt, confusion, fear. The storyteller is not just all of these negative emotions; it also generates emotions like love, kindness, pride, confidence, service, but only when it gets what it wants. If you are the spiritual path, it can also judge the experiences you are having to make sure you are on conforming to the "correct" spiritual practices or behavior. It can hold on to all kinds of beliefs (both good and bad). It operates from a place of lack and exists by constantly chasing happiness, believing it will be happy when it does life right and gets everything together, and then again struggling throughout life to hold on to it. It wants more of somethings and resists other things - that's the ego/storyteller in a nutshell.

All that we explored till now is in the outer layer. Let's move our attention to the inner surface, one step at a time. Now, think of something that you desperately want (from your mind or even your heart). Now, what happens if you don’t get that (it can be anything)? Catch yourself when you get all sorts of logical answers from your mind and even things like, this is what my heart desires, etc., to validate that desire/want. How do you feel, what does your mind say, what sensations go through your body? Become adept at experiencing these sensations.

Ultimately if you dig deeper, at its core level, the answer is FEAR. Other than the situation of existential fear, 95% of our fears stem from the lack of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-image (the imbalance in the lower chakras). You might have to learn a bit of self-acceptance and awareness even to recognize that this is happening. This inner layer will finally tell you that you are not enough and need to look for ways to fulfill this. And you are back to the vicious cycle, trying to get validated and recognized both from others and from yourself, struggling to achieve, struggling to be noticed, struggling to prove. In fact, you try to prove to yourself, more than others. There is a constant inner chatter, sometimes two selves are involved in the conversations and sometimes even multiple.

So the FEAR. Your storyteller/separate-self, even the healthiest ego, is built to protect you against experiencing this fear. Fears can show up as thoughts (racing mind), emotions (feeling of sadness, despair or hate/anger/jealousy), or body sensations (uneasiness in the stomach, trembling legs, racing heartbeat, or a general bad feeling, body pains with no particular pattern). The me that you think you are is just a collection of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs based on fear (no matter how good and right those beliefs are, they are still beliefs). FEAR comes in all shapes and sizes – starting from will my hair look good, will my dress fit, will I look good, all the way to self-image, social acceptance and recognition, self-esteem, loneliness, trauma, purpose/calling in life (yes, these too), illness, and death. We are deeply conditioned to fear life (Years ago, fear was necessary to save ourselves from predators, but the fear now is totally about ourselves, we fear ourselves).

Fear blocks the innate virtues we have as humans - curiosity, rational thinking, compassion, intuition (gut feeling), and eventually snatching us from our core being of peace, well-being, and contentment.

The core issue to deal with is this FEAR within, the one we always resist to experience and build shields to suppress. I apply and teach a technique called I-RESET to reset ourselves from the fear. Both eastern and western methodologies inspire this technique. This is a holistic approach to remove fear at its core (that is what people I work with tell me after they have gone through few transformative sessions). It uses a combination of meditation, contemplative inquiries, trauma healing, inner child and shadow work, embodiment, surrender, awareness, self-acceptance, and transformation through positive psychology. All of these are blended into a valuable recipe that you can apply to any spawning fear. If fear is in your way for awakening, we will use it as a pathway for awakening.

I have worked with various methodologies like positive affirmations, the law of attraction, law of manifestation, thought reversal, positive beliefs, NLP, CBT, etc. Although each one addresses a specific part and helps to go a step further, they don't fully address the core issue of fear. Most of these techniques work within the mind, good for some time, but you again slip back. In some situations, it is not even advisable to use positive affirmations unless you clear these fears. The within-the-mind techniques will help you clear a smaller set of beliefs, but it is not tackling the root. Some of the fears are even pre-cognitive and pre-emotional (meaning you can't address them from your mind or your heart, you have to go beyond). The methods have to work from beyond the mind, emotions, and sensations. When you start removing fear at the root level, all the stems, branches, and leaves of fear will fall off. But to be honest, this level of healing fear is not easy; it does take a kind of an internal diligence, it is not a quick relief, and it can go through ups and downs, sometimes roller coasters as it can bring up a lot of suppressed fears. Especially if you had gone through trauma, this could not be easy. Your mind, body, and heart will resist this initially; however, once they learn and start to trust this process, there is nothing else needed for your inner freedom.

Finally, through healing and from a place of fearlessness, you are free to transform your human life and express yourself as you are meant to be - authentically and effortlessly. You don't have to hold on to any concepts of trying to portray a particular virtue (no matter how good everyone thinks of those virtues). You can finally be genuinely yourself without any pretense.

This is not to say you won't have any fears in the future, but you understand how to handle them if and when they arise - with curiosity, compassion, and trust. The fear that was in our way will become our way to freedom and awakening. Because, after all, you are neither acting out of fear nor resisting it. Ultimately, we realize that, what we have always feared, is actually the death of the ego, annihilation and stripping away of everything that we are NOT. And finally, one day, we realize we are enough just as we are, and from this place, can there be true alignment and connection with life!

Much love to you!

-Sunitha Sandeep, Executive Coach

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