Guest Posts, Self Image

Enough. By Josh Becker.

June 4, 2013

Enough.

When I was 14 -years old I had the worst case of acne and I was about as skinny as a bean pole. To top it off I had bucked teeth which just added to the whole package. At 14-years old, boys my age had one, and only one, mission and that was to attract girls. This was the start of High School and aside from figuring out how you were going to hide your bad grades from your parents, who you would date was the only thing more pressing.

I was the kind of kid who just wanted a girlfriend. I was happy being in a long-term (as long-term as a 14 year old could have) relationship. Fortunately, I managed to attract enough of the girls that I did have some of those relationships. Whether or not I was in a relationship though didn’t matter much. Every day I was self conscious about my looks. I grew up on the east coast where it wasn’t unusual to have sweltering 95 degree days with 95% humidity. Those days where you wish you could walk around with a fan attached to your forehead. However on those days I’d be the kid, and the only kid, wearing pants. I was so self-conscious about my “chicken legs” that I couldn’t stand the thought of someone seeing them.

Being called, “skeleton” and “bones” wasn’t uncommon and it wasn’t unusual for an attractive girl to walk up to me and ask why I don’t eat. Oh I ate…I could eat pretty much anyone under the table but my metabolism was so high none of it would settle. I remember laying awake at night in bed wishing I was fat. I remember putting my hands over my stomach and then working my way down to my protruding hip bones in disgust. I wished I was fat because I was convinced I could just run or lose the excess weight somehow. Gaining weight for me was just not an option and I was reminded how horrible that was every day.

The acne was bad too because that wasn’t something I could cover up with pants. Shame would wash over me when I walked down the halls thinking about what “they” thought. There were times when I felt like I was wearing an ugly mask that I just couldn’t take off. I would go out of my way to avoid people and cut conversations short just to avoid others looking to closely. I was barely even listening when they were talking as I was too busy wondering what they were thinking of my zit covered face.

Smiling sucked at 14 because I was the one in the front of the class cracking the jokes. Can you imagine what it’s like to try and make others laugh and laugh yourself all while not smiling? I did a lot of those “lips closed” smiles. There wasn’t one single time I smiled that I wasn’t conscious of it. Not one smile.

I loved being the center of attention but hated actually receiving it.

The irony of this doesn’t go lost on me. I was a young boy covered in shame and left with false beliefs of not being good looking enough, not being tough enough, not being loved enough, and just not being enough. I longed for the love I wasn’t giving myself and that love took shape in the form of attention. I sought that attention but when I received it my shame came right back and spit in my face. It reminded me how “not enough” I really am and wouldn’t allow any of that attention and ultimately love in. The shame did a great job of keeping me in my darkness.

As I got older the pimples went away, the teeth straightened (did the braces thing twice!), and I gained the weight. The problem was the false beliefs were still there. Every morning I woke up and put on my glasses of “I’m not good enough”. This is how I saw the world and anything that happened meant I’m not good enough. I would get cut off on the highway and it meant I’m not important. Someone would say, “No” to me and it would mean I wasn’t good enough. I would say,” No” to acting on my own dreams because I knew thought I wasn’t good enough.

I learned that the shame I carried my whole life didn’t have anything to do with how I looked. I knew it had to do with the false beliefs I started to live my life by. It didn’t matter what I looked like. It didn’t matter what clothes I wore. It didn’t matter what girlfriend I had, what car I drove, how much money I made, or how popular I was. None of that mattered.

The greatest determination of my own self-love had nothing to do with the things “out there” and had everything to do with the things inside of me! Unfortunately those “things” were all covered up with my own shame and false beliefs that I carried from early childhood. One day (okay, this took years and is still a work in progress) I decided I wasn’t going to carry this shame anymore. I learned that the shame I carried was the shame of others. I gave back that shame and gave back all those false beliefs. I would tell myself daily that…

I am enough

I am good

I am beautiful

I am precious

I am intelligent

I am powerful

I am strong

The lies that fueled my false beliefs were being replaced by truths that were fueling my authentic self. The self I was born as. The one that had all those qualities I longed for. Today, I’m about 25 lbs over weight, my dark hair is turning more salt-n-pepper, and my eyebrow hair is growing faster than the hair on my head. Yet, I walk with my head high seeking only healthy attention. When the attention comes I accept it and receive it with love. I no longer worry about what others think of me and know that it’s literally none of my business what they do. People say, “No” to me and I celebrate the Yes they gave themselves. I listen when other speak to me as my attention no longer needs to be consumed on my self-worth. Life is so different and it’s filled with love, lots of love.

It’s a daily practice and I know it’s about progress and not perfection. I still do have my days when I forget that I’m not those lies I used to tell myself. Though, today I’m quicker to catch it and remind myself of the truth. If there’s one thing I know it’s this…

You are ENOUGH as you are and there’s nothing you can do to make yourself more or less enough, you just are! I know this to be true about you because I know it to be true about me.

With Gratitude and Appreciation, Josh

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Josh Becker is an Author, Speaker and Mentor dedicated to helping you take off those glasses of false belief in exchange for your glasses of inherent nature. Josh is bridging the gap between the needed healing of our past and the tools necessary to live authentically now and in the future. You can find him at www.isimply.am, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

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14 Comments

  • Reply barbarapotter June 4, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    What a great, honest and endearing post Josh. It’s great to hear a man speak such truth and honestly. l did find many of your things vaguely familiar to me. Did not have acne but almost all of the rest was spot on including the stick arms and legs and the feelings you describe. Thanks for sharing (Jen’s mom).

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm

      Hi “Jen’s Mom” –

      I thought I recognized your name from Facebook 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post. I’ve found, and I believe that Men and Women are much more alike than we are different. In fact, I believe there’s very few minor differences which is why I’m not surprised to hear others had similar experiences. Shame is like Cancer in that it doesn’t care if you’re male, female, gay, straight, black, or white. Lovely to hear from you Barbara. You’re an amazing Mother and you couldn’t have been that without first being an amazing woman.

  • Reply Colleen June 4, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Josh,
    I love this! Been there with the acne, the self loathing, the judgement and the “what do they think about me.” I’m working on my self-love currently. I am enough! Love this! Thank you for being awesome! Keep being awesome <3

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Colleen,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and for your beautiful comment. Yes, “Self-Love” never comes in the form of a trophy and you never cross a finish line. Self-Love is a choice we make in every moment and it’s about progress not perfection. I promise to keep being awesome and you promise to keep being enough. Together we can be awesomely enough! 🙂

  • Reply Dorothy June 5, 2013 at 5:29 am

    I just pinned this so when self doubt creeps in, I can read your beautiful post and be reminded……I am enough…..

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Dorothy,

      What a loving thing to do for yourself and I’m so glad I was able to play a small role in that. Celebrating how enough you are Dorothy!

  • Reply Todd Lohenry June 5, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Reblogged this on Wholeheartedness.

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Thanks for sharing Todd!

  • Reply whatuful June 5, 2013 at 8:30 am

    I do like this post!

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      I’m so glad it resonated with you!

  • Reply Lindsey June 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

    LOVE this! Thanks for your beautiful honesty and authenticity Josh, and for realizing the depths of your own true worth and sharing that gift with the rest of us. Nama.

    • Reply joshbecker246538350 June 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Lindsey,

      I’m so glad this resonated with you and I’m just soaking in the lovely thoughts you’re sending my way. I have a deep responsibility to share what I know because I know what life was like before I came to love myself and others. Thinking well of you and hope to connect again! 🙂

  • Reply thelindseyoneill June 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

    LOVE this! Thank you for your beautiful authenticity and honesty, Josh. And for sharing the gift of realizing the depth of your own true worth with the rest of us. Nama.

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