Enough Is Enough

Enough Is Enough

By Kate Kole

Maybe it’s because summer is coming. Or maybe it’s because I’m a sensitive person, or because I work in the fitness industry, or because I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m not really sure what the main culprit is. All I know is that I’m increasingly getting the sense and feeling the message that the toned body comes first and the confidence comes second. That sculpted arms and tight tummies are the ticket to self-love. That acceptance comes with a smaller pants size and prettier face. That embracing who we are is only really possible once we’ve achieved our goals and proven our worth. And that feeling like we are enough is and always will be contingent on something external.

I’m only speaking for myself, and to be honest, I hope this feeling isn’t a popular opinion. I pray that other women haven’t experienced the same sense of necessity that I have to be different than what I am. To transform myself. To look outside myself for something to complete me, to make me better, more beautiful, more desirable, somehow more deserving.

I can’t even remember when the unsettling feelings and flooding insecurities first started.

In 5th grade when I needed to wear a swimsuit for a class pool party?

In 9th grade when I wanted to be asked to homecoming dance?

In college when I thought that only tan was considered attractive and spent every other day paying to damage my skin?

Or when I obsessed over calories in and calories out. When I allowed for days, probably months, maybe even years, to be dictated by how I felt about the appearance of my physical body?

It’s exhausting. It’s depressing. It’s never ending. It makes me want to cry out of sadness and scream out of frustration at once. And beyond how tiring and disappointing it is – it’s also just flat out bananas. It’s all sorts of messed up that I could get so deep in thinking that my exterior shell could ever determine my value as a human being. It sounds silly to even type that out. And yet, it’s happened. Again, and again and again.

The thing is, I do think we should take care of our bodies. That there should be an emphasis on eating nourishing foods, and drinking water, and moving in ways that feel good. I think we should be mindful of our family history, and our blood pressure, and our cholesterol levels. We should do things that make us feel strong, empowered, capable, and alive in the best kinds of ways.

I just think that we’ve set up some twisted ways of going about that. At least, I have. I’ve skipped meals and avoided dressing rooms for the sake of skinny. I’ve focused a lot, too much, of my mental energy scrutinizing my shape. I’ve set goals for my body that had nothing to do with health and everything to do with appearance. And I’ve played into the belief that beautiful is something I must work to become, rather than something that always has and always will exist within me.

I wish I had the answer, the solution, the magic fix to forever end the struggle of loving myself without exception. To experience waking up in the morning and knowing, deep within me, that I am enough before my feet even meet the earth. To appreciate my body without expecting or desiring anything else of it. To feel less defined by my outward appearance and to instead marvel in the joy, laughter, and love that exist deep within my soul. I don’t.

But what I do know, is this: it’s worth the try and the fight to get there. Because I don’t want to spend the next 30 years – and the 30 after that – competing against myself and searching for validation in sources other than myself. I’m burnt out on the idea that anything I can put on or take off will ever make me a worthier human being. It’s time, past time in fact, to transcend the BS belief that perfection comes first and self-acceptance comes second.

Since we have to start somewhere, let’s just start here. Let’s stop pointing to our flaws and start celebrating the traits we like instead. Let’s stop beating ourselves up for the mistakes we made today, and yesterday, and 10 years ago, and start acknowledging all the things we’re doing well. Let’s stop taking stock of all the ways in which we’re lacking and start seeing all the ways in which we’re knocking it out of the park. Let’s stop buying the marketing myth that the meaning of our lives or purpose of our existence is something that we must earn and start seeing how meaningful and purposeful we already are. Let’s be kind to ourselves and see how that feels.

Straighten your hair today, or don’t. Wear makeup, or don’t. Go to the gym, or don’t. Eat a salad, or don’t. And know that you’re enough, either way.

“i want to apologize to all the women i have called beautiful
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re beautiful
but because i need you to know
you are more than that”
― Rupi Kaur


{featured image via unsplash}

3 thoughts on “Enough Is Enough

  1. thesubtleartofpostgrad says:

    Great post! I think women especially are conditioned to believe once we have x,y and z they will be more happy but in reality that just teaches us to always want more rather than being confident in who we are in the moment.

    Like

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