You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
by Gail Brenner of A Flourishing Life
It is so easy to slip into feeling that we are not good enough. This is the world of “if only.” If only people liked me more, if only I had a partner, if only I weighed 10 pounds less. This sense of lack that many of us experience breaks my heart. I see exquisite beings all around me who somehow have tricked themselves into believing they are deficient or broken. How can this be?
Lack is a state of mind, not the nature of our true essence. No one is born insufficient. As infants, we all arrived into this world brimming over with potential for fulfillment and open-heartedness. Take a look at this photo. Is anything missing or incomplete? This purity was you, is you, and remains as you.
The Origin of Lack
Through trying circumstances and inner struggles, we somehow conclude that we are inadequate. This is the birth of “if only” thinking. If only I were more or better or different, then I would receive the love I so desperately crave.
And, oh, the havoc this pain wreaks on our lives. By trying to ignore it, we end up addicted, depressed, purposeless, confused, and stressed beyond belief.
Wanting to get rid of this feeling of lack, of not being enough, simply doesn’t work. In fact, wishing it would disappear has the paradoxical result of making it stay. And trying to fill up the hole we feel – with relationships, food, busyness – is rarely successful for too long.
The Healing Practice
How about a different approach? Lack is actually love disguised. We realize this truth by turning our attention directly into the feeling of lack. What does lack need? Love and attention.
- Are you capable of love?
- Can you choose where you focus your attention?
Then you hold the key to your healing. Try this contemplation and see what happens.
- Rather than getting caught in the feelings or telling yourself the same defeatist story, just for a moment, peak directly into the lack itself. Like a curious explorer, see what you notice. Maybe painful emotions or the sense of a sad and scared child. Maybe heaviness or constriction in different parts of your body.
- Now, open up your heart to bathe each of these experiences in love. Each feeling, each distressing thought, each tension – flood them all to overflowing.
- Repeat 1 and 2 whenever you feel like you aren’t good enough.
Inadequate No More
If you feel inadequate or incomplete, don’t wait for what you think you need from other people or the outside world. Don’t let yourself be a victim for one more second. The moments of your precious life are ticking away. Every time lack appears, give it what it needs – love and attention.
You may have noticed that this is a no-lose, no-fail strategy. You get to feel loving and loved at the same time. You give yourself exactly what you long for in unlimited supply. You no longer need to avoid your painful feelings, so you can make conscious choices that support your well being. You return to a state of wholeness and ease. Lack simply cannot hold up in the spotlight of love.
Eckhart Tolle says, “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world.” Allow all the painful places to come out of the shadows and embrace them in love. Your light will shine brightly for all the world to see.
How has inadequacy affected your life? What has been helpful in dealing with it? I’d love to hear…
Gail Brenner writes at her blog, A Flourishing Life, where she delights in offering practical wisdom for untangling self-defeating habits and realizing happiness.