By Ali Ludovici
As you are, in this moment, you are enough.
It’s easy to forget. It’s easy to succumb to self-doubt, to the nagging voices in your mind. It is easy to fall to the comparison trap. To forget that you are beautiful in your individuality; incredible as you are. You are needed, wanted and loved.
I have struggled for much of my life with feeling inadequate. There was always someone better, more talented, more skilled. There was always someone more intelligent, more beautiful, seemingly more deserving. I sought out external validation. Without their validation I couldn’t trust, couldn’t believe that I was enough. Without approval, I worked harder, tried to be more perfect, more of what they were looking for. I would lose myself to this need to please. I would lose myself to the persona I took on. I would lose myself, thinking who I was wasn’t enough and that I should become someone more, someone better.
- I approached the teacher’s desk after class, shame overwhelming me. I wanted to know why I hadn’t received a higher grade. My grade 5 teacher seemed floored. She told me I should be proud of myself; I had received 85% as my final grade. I started to cry. Proud? Proud of what? I had set my standards to 90% and until then, I hadn’t ever not reached that standard. People now expected remarkable grades from me. I had let them down. I was a disappointment.
- When I saw her skate, flawlessly, landing jumps I still struggled with, spinning in tight little circles and with such grace and speed. She was mesmerizing where I was graceless. She was talented where I struggled. I would never compare.
- We lay in bed, naked, watching an old television series about something I can no longer remember. He rolled over and pulled a Costco bag of M&M’s from his nightstand drawer and proceeded to devour handful after handful. Enviously, I asked him how he managed to eat like shit, yet look like “that”. His body was pure perfection, on par with the fitness models in magazines. I always felt simultaneously lucky to be with him and completely inadequate and undeserving. He smiled at me and replied “once you get to your goal weight, maintenance is so much easier”. I have been grinding away for 8 years now, still in search of my own perfect body. Still trying to feel beautiful. Still trying to feel adequate. Still trying to feel deserving.
- There was the time you refused to eat dinner, leaving the dinner table and making a scene about how you had enough of my “weird” food. My mother , visiting from out of town, sat awkwardly as your tantrum unfolded. I had made turkey burgers and salad. Or the time, having thrust your jacket in my arms, my friend confronted you about being more polite. You simply said I should know my role. When you stopped wanting to have sex with me, I worried about what I did wrong, or if you didn’t find me attractive anymore. When you became increasingly distant, ever more absorbed in your work, I wondered if I were a better partner, kept the house cleaner, made only your favourite foods, if maybe then things would go back to how (I imagined) they were in the beginning.In 4 years,I don’t think a week went by that I didn’t question my worth, or feel ashamed. I wasn’t in love, I was obsessed with trying to make you love me, with trying to earn your approval.
- When I look at her – working my dream job, body to die for, wonderful life with the perfect partner and cute dog in their beautiful home in the perfect location, travelling around the world, having impact and making a legacy. How am I to even try and compare?
- When I look at me – a little extra fat here, here and here, another zit popped up here, still figuring out my career, how to have an impact and create my legacy, hardly travelling and feeling a little trapped. (Ok I have a pretty awesome husband and our puppy is the best.) There’s so much wasted potential; so much opportunity to improve.
- All I have ever wanted is to write. I would write short stories as a child, dreaming of one day being a renowned author. At age 8, my friend S. showed me a story she had written about vampires. It was, I felt, better than anything I had ever written. I stopped writing for awhile. Later, in high school, I got into writing poetry and wondered if one day, should I get the nerve, perhaps my friend, who played the guitar, could help me put some lyrics to music. Then my friend T. – the guitar player – played me some of the songs she had written and her lyrics were, in my opinion, better than anything I could ever write. I stopped writing poetry for awhile. I have a lot of notes for writing ideas. When I walk into a book store, I feel at home, but wonder what would make me so special to be honoured with a spot on the shelf?
- I wanted to apply to Graduate school. Partly because I was in love with literature. Partly because I liked the idea of having a doctorate and the prestige and importance I thought it would bestow me. I liked the idea of being part of an elite group. I liked that people would automatically assume I was intelligent. But, I was afraid of rejection. I figured there were many applicants far more qualified. My chances of admittance were slim. I never applied. I played it off as a logical monetary decision.
- I always try to stay at the top of my professional game – reading the latest research, studying the techniques and theories of renowned coaches. I am nothing compared to their genius. How am I ever meant to know everything? I feel like I am failing my clients. I feel as though the best service I could offer them would be to refer them to a coach who has more experience and education. It doesn’t matter that my clients love training with me, or that they see results. All I can see is where I stand to improve, how much more I need to know.
Improving ourselves has become ingrained in our culture. The problem with looking to always become something more, is that it’s easy to feel that you are never enough. The opposite isn’t to become stagnant. Evolution is part of who we are. The key is learning to be completely happy with who you are and your life as it is right now, while challenging yourself to grow in a positive way. Say it to yourself, “Who I am, right now, in this moment, is more than enough”. Repeat this to yourself until you believe its truth. Who I am right now, in this moment, is more than enough.
Ali Ludovici is a blogger at “Charm and Grit” where she writes about living each day exceedingly well so as to cultivate a life you love. She loves to write about fitness and health, pursuing curiosity, lifestyle creation, body image and self-love, mindfulness and getting outside your comfort zone. She is an aspiring author and magazine contributor. In addition to writing, Ali is a fitness and lifestyle coach where she teaches her clients to create healthy habits, find balance and develop self-love, all while providing great workouts and sound nutrition advice. Ali is an NPAA elite pro fitness model and loves competing as a way of challenging herself, but also in the hopes of inspiring other women. She is a loving wife and fur-mom living in Vancouver, Canada. In her spare time, Ali loves to explore, be outdoors, read, do yoga, meditate, get crafty, spend time at cafe’s and take photos.