Recently while chatting with some fellow dads, I delved into a concept that's often pushed to the back of our minds - the feeling of being 'adequate' or rather, being 'enough'. It's a concept that can inadvertently govern many aspects of our lives – from our jobs to our roles as a dad.
The Struggle of Being Enough
I've personally grappled with this notion. This concept is not limited to fatherhood but seeps into various facets of life, raising questions like, "Am I enough to land a good job?" or "Am I capable of being the provider in my house?"
The latter led me to shed the dated stereotype of the 'man' needing to be the sole provider. It was a insight sparked by a connection with my incredible partner. We've nurtured a balanced, 50/50 approach from the onset that has worked wonders for us.
Confronting The Past
The question remains, however, when and why do we start feeling inadequate? Was it a singular significant moment that set the ground for this low self-esteem? Holding onto the belief system that "I am not enough" because of an incident that occurred when I was 12 seems irrational as a 42-year-old man. Or does it? Despite its absurdity when said aloud, this is a trap we continually fall into.
So how can we overcome this feeling of inadequacy?
Overcoming the Feeling of Inadequacy
I have not fully figured out the magic formula for shedding the feeling of inadequacy, but here are a few approaches I am taking.
Appreciate Yourself: Initiate a daily gratitude practice by writing down a few things that you're grateful for about yourself. List three to five things, on the lines of "I am grateful that I am a patient dad," or "I am grateful for my emotional intelligence." This is the first step - recognizing and appreciating our own value. Also writing in the active voice of "now that I am," is an empowering technique.
Get Physical: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. When we physically achieve goals, we begin to believe more in ourselves and gain confidence in our abilities. Meet these challenges, however small, and the surge of endorphins and hormones will leave you feeling better overall. Start with a shorty walk or if you are feeling your inner Rock calling do a few sets of push-ups.
Treat Others How You Want to be Treated: Show those around you the kind of respect you seek. If it's confidence you're after, boost others' confidence. If it's self-worth, then affirm the self-worth you see in others. It opens a channel for you to explore and express the aspects that you love about yourself.
In essence, it's time to let go of the past. As my dad once told me "rip off that rearview mirror, it does no good." Looking backwards and judging yourself only creates emotional barriers. Instead, focus on moving forward while being careful not to look too far ahead to avoid anxiety.
Today is the day, dadhood, to take an additional step forward. Not just for your sake, but because your family will benefit from it too. So, gear up and take the leap.
You are enough my friend.