I Am Enough
As the New Year quickly approaches, I just wanted to take a moment to share something I am focused on for 2018.
'I am enough' is a mantra that I have purposefully placed everywhere I regularly look. I know there is a popular group that made these three words famous but it's meaning is a little different for me.
We see so many things that are deliberately placed in front of us to make us feel the rush of connection and acceptance. It's in every commercial, tv show and movie. Engineered to trigger Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin... right before the product placement OR to get you totally connected to the story. It's the difference between a good show and a great one... you know, the one you never miss.
The problem is, we are getting big doses of these 'happiness' chemicals on a regular basis, connecting to things that produce Dopamine on the scale of what you might get from a small dose of cocaine. And we have been so bombarded with it that regular life doesn't seem to measure up any more. You create new expectations of what daily life should be comprised of. The marriage doesn't have that 'thing' like it used to. Or, you feel the need to fall in love with someone new. Or you just saturate yourself with vices that create those feelings.
Another problem is all these big doses of Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin make the body adjust the 'normal' line and day to day life starts to feel dull and lifeless. People then have to find places to manufacture this 'happiness cocktail' on a daily basis (just to be a little happy) - we're not focused on what's going on in our brain... we just know X, Y and Z will make us feel that 'thing'. And that is where our focus goes.
It desensitizes us to the the smaller, natural releases of these chemicals and makes it harder and harder to get true joy out of 'the journey'.
For me, it was lots of food consumption and always being involved with something new. New projects, new stuff and most importantly, new relationships. That feeling of being 'in love' and 'totally accepted' was the trigger my body had built during a rough childhood. It led to wrong partners and failed relationships. I always felt like I needed to complete 'this goal' or 'that goal' and I would find the partner that would 'complete me'. God... how stupid does that sound?
But that's what I did for 20+ years. I felt like I had to 'master' every endeavor I tried. Music, bodybuilding, money making, faster cars, better clothes, lots of NEW STUFF, this goal completed, that goal completed... I was driven to get there and I rarely enjoyed the journey.
I felt like I was never enough. Always seeking 'excellence' in my life, I was my biggest critic. Never good enough for that special person to find attractive enough to love. Too ugly, too fat, not ripped enough, not big enough, too many tattoos, not enough tattoos, straighter teeth, whiter teeth, not enough money, not enough power... you get the picture. It was exhausting.
When all along, I had the ability to experience every one of those FEELINGS. And yes, I did need to grow up, I did need to work hard and goal completion was very important to my personal growth. But I didn't need it to FEEL the FEELINGS of acceptance and love.
No one ever told me that.
I didn't realize those feelings were simply a trick manufactured by sophisticated chemical reactions in our own brain. It's Dopamine, Serotonin and Oxytocin that create the 'rush' of being in love or being deeply accepted. That make you feel connected to that special someone. It's the rush of endorphins that helps you look past that person's flaws in the beginning. The Oxytocin helps create the deep connection, builds trust and has you telling your friends about how 'this one' is different than the others. So special.
It's all chemicals. And while acceptance, deep connection and mutual trust are basic human needs, you already have the ability to create the FEELINGS of happiness that go along with these triggers. And it's not just about being in love... we all depend on the feelings that come with 'total acceptance' for just about every public endeavor in our lives. No one wants to feel rejected or judged. There's no endorphin rush with that gig. It's fight or flight at that point.
A fantastic way to start becoming more sensitive to these daily endorphin triggers is to develop an attitude of gratitude. Look for things in your life to be grateful for and acknowledge them. The more you do it, the more sensitive you will become to the little things that trigger our happiness center.
Once you realize this truth, it becomes a reality for you. And you gain a new power you have never possessed. You become sensitive to the natural daily endorphin triggers. You become aware of all the 'shit' engineered into the 'entertainment' we consume.
More importantly, you become more aware of the 'little' things that should be making us happy. A great scent in the air. A little joke that you only get. Seeing someone attractive walk by. A 'moment' of bliss. A great song on the radio. They are there... and we miss them because we aren't focused on those tiny endorphin triggers.
Most importantly, you will become deeply aware of the endorphin triggers that come with healthy relationships (new and old) - you will start to feel a renewed happiness. Like the old saying goes... it's the little things in life.
It all starts with the *realization* that YOU are indeed enough. Not just repeating it to yourself until you kind of believe it. You have to realize it and then it becomes truth.
What worked (and still works) for me is seeing "I am enough" everywhere I regularly look. I literately felt a change happen in me. More confidence for just about everything.
You think, no matter what happens... I am enough. It's powerful.
Here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!