gProvence Village.jpgChristian Siriano is a clothes designer who has made it his purpose in life to dress all sizes of ladies, all shapes, and all proportions.  He firmly believes that each woman is enough simply because she exists.  She needs nothing more than people who will believe in her, such as designers who will take each women into consideration, believing that each woman is beautiful in herself.

How do we begin to believe that each of us is enough as we are, not just regarding fashion, but career, relationships, self-image, intelligence?  Can we get to that place where no one can tell us that we are not enough?  It takes practice for many of us.  It takes courage.  And it takes action.

Here are the Five Steps to Courageous Action that you may need to take to restore your belief that you are enough for any challenge that you face.

First acknowledge how you are feeling whenever you sense you are “not enough.”  Don’t bury your anger, disappointment, fear, or anxiety under a blanket of denial.  What are you sensing when that “you are not enough” button gets pushed?  Name these feeling and allow them to occupy space in your life for the moment.  We take away their power when we acknowledge them as only words that we can replace.

Second, speak up, don’t remain silent.  Tell a good friend or therapist about your tendency not to feel “enough.”  You may be surprised at how common this feeling is in our hyped-up world.  With this support express where you think the feeling of not being enough comes from: upbringing, peers, unhealthy relationships, inappropriate jobs.  Give free range to your emotions so that tears (yes guys, you too), anger, or loud expressions of grief can release these feelings from your body.

Third, ask yourself, “What is actually happening here?”  Once the heat of the moment is dissipated, look at the incident rationally and calmly.  Name it for what it is, resist the temptation to be a victim, to catastrophize or universalize it or take it personally (even though it feels very personal).

Fourth, determine what next good step to take.  Ask yourself what you need to do to protect yourself, your legal rights, finances, a valued relationship, or a fulfilling job.  What are the core values you wish to preserve in this situation?  Listen to your intuition.  What does your heart tell you about the next appropriate move?  Try to resist the temptation to control the outcome…let it go, surrender it to the universe.

Fifth, after deliberation put your decision into action.  Don’t second-guess yourself.  You may feel as if you’re taking a plunge into the unknown or can predict the outcome.  Be ready for the surprise, the unexpected, or even a complication that seems to make the situation worse temporarily.  If necessary go back to the first step and work through this process once again, as dispassionately as possible and with as much patience as you can muster.

Using these steps will build up your self-confidence and give you a sense of well-being, of completing a process each time that works for you.  This will add value to your “I am enough!” affirmation, which you will offer yourself out loud every day after you rise and before you go to bed.  It’s a gift you give yourself that you deserve.

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Text and artwork copyrighted by Michael Parise