It occurs to me that one of the greatest challenges for a man is to believe that he is enough. The simple truth is, you are. But believing that and imbibing that is a whole other story.
Gyms are full of guys trying to be enough. Board rooms are filled with men pretending to be enough. Sports teams include great players who want to be enough. Relationships suffer when a man does not feel he is enough. Being a great Dad requires you to know you are enough. Being a great husband requires you to show up as enough.
But it all starts in your head, with a mind shift, that then drops down into your heart, and flows out through your whole being. It starts with a core belief that yes, I am enough. And you don’t just have to know it. You MUST live it.
To paraphrase a friend and men’s coach Ankush Jain: “When you realise you are enough, you’ll show up more powerfully in the world, play full out, love more deeply, speak more truthfully, hold the space more steadily, and get sh*t done”.
This is probably just as relevant to women, but I believe the challenge of being ‘enough’, is more in a man’s face. It’s wired more into the masculine stereotypes of being strong, robust, and powerful, that many of us have grown up with.
Whether it’s on the sports field, on the job, amongst mates, or the way you go about your day, men feel the pressure to be constantly strong. From unscrewing the jam jar to being emotionally stoic, men know that they have to be strong. And yes, it’s partly true. But what does it look like?
From my observations, strength gets confused with aggression. A man can still be kind, patient, understanding, and incredibly strong. But on the football field, or in the boardroom, or at the pub, how do you think being kind, patient, and understanding goes down?
As boys, we grow up with heroes. Whether it was Superman, our favourite football player, a rock singer, or even our own Dad, there were certain things we were led to believe about grown-up men. They were strong, invincible, all-powerful and all-conquering. They had all of their shit together right. They always looked strong.
And so, we grew up with these myths, these beliefs, stereotypes, and ideas about what it meant to be a man. The only thing is, when we got to be men, we didn’t feel strong, we didn’t feel invincible, we didn’t feel all-powerful and we certainly didn’t feel all-conquering. What was wrong?
Is it any wonder that most of us, unless we have done the work to correct the misguided ship, believe that we are just not ‘enough’, and that’s the way it is.
And so, we look to external sources to remedy our flailing self-esteem and lack of confidence. Our buckets are empty and/or leaking. We look to others to fill them, we look to our careers, we look to our money-making abilities, we look to our wives to confirm we’re ok, our sexual prowess, even our own physical bodies. And guess what, none of it is ever enough.
To be enough starts with a realisation – I am not enough. Yes, that’s right, I said “I am not enough” … until I know that I am. But how?
You gotta start with the basics. “Everything I learned till now, is wrong”. You gotta relearn and reinvent your own self-belief. Being enough is not about achievements or skills.
Men are strong when they know who they are, not when they hit a home run. Men are strong when they can listen to their wives and not react like a 10-year-old boy. Men are strong when they can talk amongst themselves and be vulnerable, not when they can out drink their mates. Men are strong when they can communicate honestly, and not rage angrily.
This is not an easy task. It takes time. You’ve got to go inward and you’ve got to get honest with yourself. It’s ok to not know all the answers, but to stay ignorant, without trying to seek the answers, because your ‘not enough’ mindset says so, is where a large part of the problem lies.
The answers will come when you start asking the questions. Who am I? What do I want from life? What type of man do I want to be?
So are you enough?
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