By Humberto Braga

Self-love is difficult in a world that's been constantly telling you since childhood that you're not enough. I struggle with this constantly. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, even though I can have the utmost patience, compassion, and empathy for others. Giving myself the care and compassion I need hasn't been easy with the high standards I set for myself.

I’ve struggled with the concept of "being enough" for a long time. At a healing seminar, they had us practice saying, “I AM ENOUGH” over and over. Anger came up, and my gut reflex was to say “GO FUCK YOURSELVES!”… It all seemed like self-soothing, half-baked, New Age bullshit. After all, if I was "enough", then why would I bother to improve? Why would I read, work out, go to therapy, or do anything to "better myself"? Why would anyone need to engage in “self work” if they were “enough”?

But the problem wasn't that “I’m not enough". The problem was that I was framing it in terms of absolutes, as if “being enough” in the moment meant that there’s no need for improvement ever. I was overlooking the fact that all life is a process, and the process- even if not fully brought to fruition- is “good enough FOR NOW”. I AM “enough” precisely because I was constantly pushing beyond my comfort zone to improve.

In this realization, I started crying because I realized my self-imposed intensity comes not from self-belittling criticism, but an IMMENSE self-love that wants what’s best for me, so I can give my best to others, so they can be their best. In my own way, distorted by frustration and anger from childhood, I was simply giving to myself what others had neglected to give me- care and encouragement.

We are all works in progress and will never be perfect. But as long as you are aspiring to consciously improve the best you can, then “you are enough”. And even if you find yourself unable to do this some days, have patience and compassion for yourself. Sometimes life has its own rhythm that must be honored beyond our control. You are not broken, in need of fixing; you are deeply hurt, in need of care. Remember that life goes on, and each day is a new chance to re-create life in new ways. And because you’re consciously choosing to make life better, you are enough.

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