Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, a physician and author, describes how the master psychologist, Carl Rogers would approach a therapy session with a patient. Rogers said:
“There is something I do before I start a session. I let myself know that I am enough. Not perfect. Perfect wouldn’t be enough. But that I am human, and that is enough. There is nothing this man can say or do or feel that I can’t feel in myself. I can be with him. I am enough.”
Dr. Remen adds that when she heard this,
“I was stunned…It felt as if some old wound in me, some fear of not being good enough, had come to an end. I knew inside myself that what he said was absolutely true. I am not perfect but I am enough. Knowing that…allows healing to happen.”
Occasionally, I suffer from asthma. My chest tightens, it’s hard to breathe. For those moments, I keep my inhaler handy: two puffs, and I can breathe freely again.
Perfectionism, or the fear of not being good enough, the fear that we are somehow disqualified, is a little like asthma. It restricts us. We can’t quite breathe freely.
That’s when we may find it helpful to keep those three words handy—“I am enough”—and “inhale” them quietly for a few moments.
Yes, I have strengths and limitations, but I am enough…yes, I have gifts and wounds, but I am enough…I may not be as smart as some or as lucky as some, but I am enough…I am enough to face anything I have to face…I am enough for the important relationships in my life…I am enough to follow my dreams…I am human, I am unique, I am enough.
And then, in the words of Don Quixote:
“Take a deep breath of life and consider how it should be lived.”