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When are You Enough?

comparison high-achievers perfectionism self-acceptance self-compassion Feb 04, 2023
Soap bubbles by Sash Sriganesh on Unplash

Many people talk about an important shift in perspective that comes with age. If our 20s and 30s are typically about hustling for worthiness and acceptance, many people tell you that in their 40s they are less wrapped up in what others think.

Another way to say this is that we can start to accept our enoughness.

I can’t say that this happens universally, or easily or naturally, but having arrived, solidly in my 40s, and having done the work of starting to believe in my enoughness (or sufficiency as some would call it), I can say that the work is worth it.

It isn’t anything innate to being 40 itself, which of course, is a chronologic number. We have built it into a cultural construct in the US, but really, it’s simply a marker of time. What we may find though, is that once we have lived our lives for a period of time, and experienced how we feel when we look outwardly for approval and validation, vs turning inwards and believing in our sufficiency, it FEELS much better once we can trust in our worthiness.

Don’t believe me? Think back to a time, whether as a child, or an adult, where you enjoyed dancing uninhibitedly or sang along to a favorite song at the top of your lungs. What was it like to be fully yourself in that moment, not caring what others thought? And if you haven’t done this since childhood, why not? Were you caught up in looking cool, and weren’t willing to be seen doing something silly? Were you afraid of feeling vulnerable to the judgments of others thinking that your dancing looked possessed or you were terribly off-key?

What is the difference in your human emotions here? Did you feel joyful and happy dancing? Did you feel the same holding yourself back from this? Or did you feel fear, embarrassment or shame at even wanting to dance?

As Physicians, most of us have accepted that we aren’t too cool. Cool is not usually what we have been going for. But “in control,” “flawless,” and “driven” come to mind. And usually hiding behind these words is a sense of inadequacy, a need to present ourselves in a certain way, to be seen as being without fault, to be seen on an upper trajectory. Instead of as imperfect human beings, as we all are.

But when we learn that long-term happiness doesn’t come packaged up alongside our accomplishments and promotions, we can also start to see that a joyful life, lived as our authentic, imperfect selves is much more satisfying. That we can still strive for achievements and excellence, but also embrace that we are enough without them. 

No matter your age, or where you are in this journey, if you are struggling with self-worth, feeling that it will come once you have received a threshold amount of external validation, I invite you to put down this belief. Enoughness, belief in your own worthiness, is an inside job. It comes with self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-awareness. 

And maybe you won’t look cool. But you will have a lot more moments of joy. And maybe even some fun.

Hi There!

I'm Megan. I'm a Physician and a Life Coach and a Mom. I created this blog to help other Physicians and Physician-Moms learn more about why they feel exhausted, burned-out and overwhelmed, and how to start to make changes. I hope that you enjoy what you read, and that it helps you along your journey. And hey, if you want to talk about coaching with me, I'm here for that too! I offer a free 1:1 call to see if we are a good fit. Click the button below to register today.

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