Summary: General life update after my month+ detox from screens and biz, on worthiness and being “enough.”
I chose to detox from social media and online hustles for over a month, both to adjust to my new job in telemedicine and because I was feeling exhausted and even resentful of all the passion work I was doing without recognition.
I made an important discovery in these months of relative rest and quiet – I realized I still struggle with feeling like I am ENOUGH. I’ve been chasing one goal after another, creating a new one whenever I reached a milestone.
No matter how much I accomplished, such as reaching my ideal weight, overcoming disordered eating and body image issues, becoming a board-certified doctor, running a half-marathon, cultivating loving relationships, living out my nomad dreams… it never felt like “enough.”
I just tend to create and move onto the next goal and the next, without acknowledging or celebrating what I’ve done because it feels “arrogant,” and end up absolutely exhausting myself with all that pressure. Always running, trying to prove myself that I am a worthwhile human being, worthy of being here on this planet.
That childhood wound still hasn’t fully healed, of needing to prove that I’m a “good girl” in order to be worthy of love. That was the system I lived in for so many years, so it’s no wonder it’s taking me a while to truly adopt a new system, not just in theory but in practice.
I’ve mostly shaken off needing to prove myself to others, but I still struggle with proving myself to ME, the harshest critic of them all. All my years of achievement-oriented living from my Asian upbringing created this massively discouraging, doubtful, snippy, and sarcastic voice in my head.
The one who says things like “Who do you think you are? You’re not good enough to be a coach. You’re a fraud. Who would want to listen to or learn from you? You don’t know what you’re doing. You haven’t gotten enough practice or training.” So I kept doing more, more, more.
But I never felt ready; I never felt I was finally good enough to confidently help people. Even though I had clients, I still couldn’t shake my Imposter Syndrome. I know I couldn’t GUARANTEE outcomes for my clients, but my self-worth felt so tied to their results. I automatically assumed I didn’t do enough or do it “right” for them if they didn’t get to where they wanted to be at the end of our time together.
But I was falling into an old pattern of being too hard on myself and over-assuming responsibility. I forgot that coaching is a process of co-creation and the clients need to do the work and they are ultimately responsible for their own lives. I’m here to support, not to parent.
My life’s work and my own transformations are qualification ENOUGH that I can help someone who struggled with similar issues that I did. In fact, I am one of the BEST people to help them, having gone through and thus truly be able to understand them.
Sometimes I’m able to ignore my Inner Critic, but other times I just fall under its crushing weight, paralyzed and exhausted and unable to do the things I want to do.
One technique I’ve found that helps uses principles of NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) – which is to imagine that voice as an actual little person shouting in my ear with a megaphone, and to just push that megaphone in the other direction, or move that person farther away from me. It does take away some of its power, and reminds me that that voice isn’t ME. I am not my thoughts. I am so much more than that.
There is a part of me that is deeply wise and understanding, this superconscious that is calm, collected, and connected to things far bigger than I can consciously understand, that reassures me that it’s all going to be ok. “You are on the right track, every step you take is progress, there’s no rush, you’re not competing with anyone else. Do whatever you want; there are no right or wrong answers/actions.”
I loved this quote: “Being jealous of someone else’s life is like a soccer player being jealous of a basketball player.” Though we may be similar to others, we are each honing completely different skills, the skill of being US/ourselves. There is only ever going to be ONE of us who can serve the world the way we uniquely can.
So why was I in such a rush? I had so badly wanted to reach a certain savings level (to hit FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early) or a certain income goal, so that I could confidently fully walk away from my previous life and focus solely on my passion work, and also to prove to and reassure my family that I would be ok, that I won’t be a bum breaking their hearts by starving on the streets.
But why? So what if I don’t? Is it worth killing myself on this journey to get there? Does that mean I’m not good enough now, right where I am?
I am always enough. No matter where I am, that’s exactly the right place for me. So what if I haven’t broken free from all of my limiting beliefs or created my ultimate dream life yet?
My life right now is pretty fantastic. I am traveling again, taking precautions due to the Covid-19 Pandemic but not letting it completely dictate my life.
I am taking risks, exploring new places, scenery, foods, cultures, activities. I have explored so many beautiful national parks – Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Zion, Bryce, Red Rock. I have done skiing, snowboarding, and indoor and outdoor skydiving.
I am playing my favorite sports, tennis, badminton, and dancing and moving my body joyfully in a way that nourishes my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. I am learning new things every day and living my life to the fullest. I am learning about myself in relationships, about my triggers and wounds that still need healing.
I am creating when I feel like creating, not pushing or forcing myself on a certain schedule for social media posts, content, etc like many entrepreneurs advocate for. Yes, consistency is important, but being my happiest, healthiest, and most authentic self is far more important.
When I realized I am worthy, that there’s a reason I am alive and breathing and that I am here, I don’t have to DO anything specific to prove it, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off from me.
This guided meditation helped as well – envisioning my inner child, crying, tousled hair in pigtails, covered in dirt, dusty, tattered clothes from running and stumbling, and giving her a huge embrace, stroking her hair and letting her know she doesn’t need to keep exhausting herself anymore. She can sit down, relax, go at her own pace, and don’t forget to marvel at her surroundings during her journey.
She was always told you need to get good grades, achieve, do this or that to be lovable, deserving of love, support, or the good things in life. When I grew up with conditional love, it ingrained in me this doubt, disbelief, and insecurity about how my loved ones would react.
I realized it was a similar pattern with my money mindset – “money is hard to come by, it doesn’t grow on trees, you have to sacrifice and bleed for it” were passed down in my family by generations.
It was also conditional, a reward for performing “well.” Even my first time away from home at sleepaway camp, when I got my first menstrual period and was all alone without any education or anticipation since it was younger than expected, I was “bribed” into sticking it out for the rest of the summer by the promise of a video game.
Love and money were not reliable, but used rewards or punishment. My power always felt outside of me. No wonder I struggled with entrepreneurship and charging what I’m worth, because it always feel up to the boss, the customer, or the client to decide.
I was so used to doing things I didn’t want to do in order to be compensated with money and didn’t really believe that I could create it by doing work I love. Even if I see other people successfully doing it, it doesn’t mean it can happen for ME. This skeptical voice is the last major limiting belief I am working on changing.
Passion money still feels out of my reach and unreliable, but I am slowly trusting that the value I give out will come back to me, though not in the ways I expect, and it is ok to say no to protect my time and energy and value myself more.
Because I am valuable. We all are. We are, as someone wise put it, “stardust walking.” We are miracles. We are the creation from 1 in 40-116 million odds (sperm). We’ve beaten the odds. We’ve survived 100% of our worst days, to be where we are today.
We are worthy NO MATTER WHAT. What we do, think, say or anything else does not call into question whether we are deserving of love, respect, and kindness.
I have already spent 32 years of my life working hard, delaying gratification for that “one day.” It is time to finally acknowledge myself and not just create yet another goal to keep running towards, since that can become an endless loop and before I know it, life will have passed me by.
It’s ok for me to return to the basics of self-care and joy and add more things in as my energy allows, rather than try to do it all or reach those lofty goals I had set for myself, like helping 500 people this year. Quality matters over quantity. If I just help one person deeply, why isn’t that “good enough”?
Someone recently told me that I’m the first person in the medical field to truly understand what he’s going through. That touched me so much and was so gratifying. What I would’ve given to have someone who truly understood what I was going through at my darkest time in medical residency training. It would have saved me so much pain feeling alone and figuring out my next steps.
Not everyone can love us unconditionally because of what they’re going through, but there are certainly people out there who can, and we can always choose to love ourselves unconditionally. Just because you haven’t received unconditional love before doesn’t mean it’s not possible or your present or future, or that you “don’t deserve it.”
Intentionally slowing down when your body or mind says it needs rest is not “lazy.” There is no judgment or shame to focus on you and your self-care. Even if all you’re doing is taking care of yourself and keeping yourself alive, that benefits the world, even if you can’t see how right now. You never know who is, has, or will be inspired by hearing your story and experiences.
So keep hanging in there. Share as you feel comfortable. There is no pressure or expectation, other than you honoring yourself and being YOU, whatever that looks like for you. You are SO ENOUGH.