Childhood · Nostalgia · Stories

Week 13: You Are Enough | Everyday Nostalgia

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“Mommy, we say the word ‘love’ a lot, don’t we?”

My daughter Zoey is sitting on her bed, swinging her little legs back and forth, watching me as I unpack our suitcase from our trip to visit my parents.

I smile as I start to divide our clothes into two piles. “Yes. You and I, we love a lot of things,” I say.

“Can we talk while you do that?” she asks.

“Sure, what do you want to talk about?”

Zoey’s eyes light up, happy I’m willing to play as I tackle the overflowing suitcase. “Let’s talk about all the things we love.”

“I think that is the best idea I’ve heard,” I say, nodding my head emphatically. “Like, ever.”

“Okay, I’ll go first,” Zoey says. She smiles and points to me. “I love YOU!”

“And I love YOU!” I respond, pointing my own finger in her direction.

Zoey curls her pointed finger back and then places both hands against her chest, right in the space over her heart. She then opens her arms wide. “And I love ME!” she squeals.

I drop the socks I’m holding and gather her in close. “Oh peanut,” I whisper softly into her head. “I love that you love you.”

“Wait a second,” Zoey exclaims, pulling herself out of my embrace. “You’re supposed to say that you love yourself!”

My mouth opens to tell her she’s right, that I’m silly for not knowing the rules of this game, but the words get caught somewhere. I start trying to conjure up something—anything—that I love about myself, but familiar thoughts of doubt creep up instead. Our conversation hangs, suspended for a moment, as Zoey’s eyes and the silence that surrounds us wait patiently for my response.

* * *

Like Zoey, as I child, I loved myself. I loved how good of a student I was. I loved my strong, gymnast legs. I loved that I could do more pull-ups than the boys in our Presidential Physical Fitness Tests. I loved that my green eyes didn’t look like everyone else’s.

But for some reason, as I grew older, it always seemed easier to question the things I saw in myself, to notice all of the things I started to view as flaws.

I see them in my character: I could work harder. I worry too much. I’m too much of a perfectionist…

I see them in my physical appearance: There’s the 3-inch scar from my ACL surgery that runs the length of my kneecap. There’s the subtle crookedness of my walk and my hips, a side effect of my scoliosis. There’s a tiny web of faded stretch marks that dance across my hips and thighs, created from years of weight fluctuations and growing my sweet baby girl…

I even have the tendency to conjure up flaws and doubts about myself as a parent: Am I patient enough? Do I listen enough? Am I doing it right? Am I doing enough?

And then, no matter what it is I’m analyzing, I ask myself the worst question of all:
Am I enough?

* * *

Feeling like I’m not enough has really been the root of my problems. And I know I’m not the only one that feels this way. We are surrounded by media and imagery and advertising that make millions by telling people all the ways they need to fix themselves. It’s a universal problem, and it needs to stop.

We all deserve love, not only from others, but from ourselves as well. I suppose I’m nostalgic for the way I thought about myself as a child, when the answers came so quickly because the questions weren’t so hard.

What it really comes down to is that we need a shift in our perspective. We need to look for and see the beauty in all of the perfect, little “flaws” that make us who we are. 

When I really think about it, I work hard because I want to do my best for myself and others. I worry because I’m caring. Being a perfectionist means I’m extremely driven and I accomplish most of what I put my mind to.

And my scar isn’t ugly; it’s simply a line on my leg that shows that I’m able to bounce back from something, a battle scar of resilience. My semi-crooked back and hips and walk give me character and make me unique. My stretch marks make me appreciative of the journey my body has been on in this wonderful, amazing life of mine. And, most importantly, I have an incredible daughter, one that I’ve spent my days nurturing and loving since the moment she was born.

* * *

I finally break the silence as my words find their way out. I don’t provide an answer, but I ask a question instead, knowing the answers that Zoey gives will serve as the inspiration I need to find my own.

“What do you love about yourself, Zoey?”

Her response is instantaneous. “I love that I’m kind and funny and brave. I love my blue eyes and soft brown hair and this tiny freckle on my face.” She stops talking and points to the freckle, and then asks me the question back, something I knew she would do.

As a parent, I want to model the behaviors that I want her to have. I don’t want her to lose all this love she has for herself. I want her to feel like she’s always enough. I will play a big role in ensuring these things happen, so this time, I make sure I have some answers.

“Well,” I say, pulling her back in my lap as I think out loud. “I love that I’m a hard worker and that I’m caring and determined. I love my scar and my silly, crooked spine.”

I hug her hard as I tell her my final example for the night, one that I feel is the perfect answer to end this perfect little game she created. “I love the fact that I made you.”

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So this is what I will work toward every single day on my nostalgic journey to celebrate the past to create better days today:

I will work toward becoming the girl that I was once was.

I will work toward becoming the girl that loves, accepts, and believes in herself—no matter what.

I will work toward becoming the girl that asks herself, “Am I enough?” and answers—without pause and with arms outstretched like Zoey’s—“YES.”

Share with us in the comments what you love best about yourself, and always remember: You are enough. 

GRAB OUR WEEK 13 FREEBIE! Click here to download an 8×10 printable of the “You Are Enough” image above.

Week 13 Suggested Reading for You

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are | Brené Brown

In The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown, a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging, shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living—a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.

Through these ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough,” and to go to bed at night thinking, “Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.” – Pulled from Amazon.com description


Week 13 Suggested Reading for the Little Ones in Your Life

I Like Me! | Nancy Carlson

Nancy Carlson’s peppy pig is full of good feelings about herself. Her story will leave little ones feeling good about themselves, too! (This is one of my daughter’s favorite books!)

* This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com. If you purchase a product after clicking an affiliate link (and it doesn’t even need to be the product I’ve linked to), I receive a small percentage of the sale for referring you, at no extra cost to you.*

Just joining me on my journey? Catch up on the Everyday Nostalgia series here.

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At the Nostalgia Diaries, our goal is to help you simplify, enhance, and engage your lives by focusing on the most important things: remembering, appreciating, believing, and becoming. It’s all about celebrating the past to create better days today.

We’d love for you to join us in this journey.

P.S. Don’t forget to follow our colorful, creative spaces on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. We’re fun and happy and whimsical and nostalgic over there, too. Pinky swear.

50 thoughts on “Week 13: You Are Enough | Everyday Nostalgia

  1. This is a really important topic and I’m so happy to see you addressing it. I teach middle school and I see over and over again how girls become more self-conscious and doubtful of themselves as they get older. I also hear moms constantly putting themselves down. Its hard for me to always be mindful of what I say about myself in front of my own 9 year old daughter. We should all work on shifting toward positivity. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your posts always touch my heart and soul….I love my genuine desire to be kind (especially when others are not–in the moment)….Increasingly, I am succeeding, but I’m mindful that there is work to do 🙂 Thanks for sharing, my friend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you….the same is true of you…I think that’s why we vibe so well–we’re both determined to grow/heal…to be seen even as we struggle with insecurities….we don’t just fight for our own peace: our process necessitates connecting with and helping others–even as we are helped….you really encourage and help me…thank you 🙂

        Like

  3. All of the feels! I feel this so much, and ask myself this on a very regular basis. I love the way you turned it around. It’s amazing how our kids can make us hit a reset button and think. What do I love about myself? It’s a very hard question to answer… but I guess I love that I’m striking out to find ways to help my family cope with my son’s rare disease and to help others in similar situations. I just hope I’m up for it!
    Thank you for your beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You get mad props for what you’re doing for your family and others. That’s a wonderful thing to love about yourself, and I’m positive you’re not only up to it, but that you’ll succeed at it, too!

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  4. I love this post. I wish we could remember all the things that we loved when life seemed easier. We need to go back there – I know I do. Thanks for the beautiful reminder. I’m sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This brought tears to my eyes… It is SO important and you are such a role model for Zoey. It is crazy to remember how fiercely I loved myself all the way up until my early high school years, but some where between college, and jobs, and creating a family, I’ve lost that fierce love of myself. It’s so sad to admit, but SO important to realize. And that’s what your post just did for me. So I’m going to work on loving myself a little more, all thanks to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My favorite: “My scar isn’t ugly; it’s simply a line on my leg that shows that I’m able to bounce back from something.” Great post! You ask a challenging question. I would have to say I love my love of creating. In some small way, it gives me insight into The Great Creator’s perspective.

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  7. I love this! Sometimes it can be so hard to just focus on the positive and not the negative. I am glad you are teaching your little one this while she is young! It can be a hard pattern to break the older we get.

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  8. This is a great post! It’s so easy to nit pick and find the flaws about ourselves and when we do, it’s easy for our kids to pick up on it, too. Thank you for sharing this great reminder full of perspective!

    Like

  9. Our little ones are sponges and take in everything we present to them, whether positive or negative. You must be doing something so incredibly right with your daughter. If my child (or future children) were to ever tell me that they wanted to talk about all the things we loved and the second thing they named was themselves I would call that one of the biggest wins I could have as a parent. This was a really great read. Thank you for sharing.

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  10. Aw, this is beautiful. That is so fantastic that your daughter already loves herself. It is amazing how often our kids can make us really think about how we talk and think about ourselves.

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  11. This is a very thought-provoking post. My children can tell me in a second all the reasons that they are wonderful, and I always think that it must not be an inherited trait, because I am horrible at it. At least I’m apparently showing them how to appreciate themselves, in spite of that. If I had to pick something that I love about me, it would be that I am always just that – me. I don’t change that for anybody, and am very comfortable in that.

    Like

  12. OMG. Your post touched my heart and brought a smile to my face. This post is absolutely beautiful! It’s so funny that I was talking to a friend just the other day and told them that as I child I grew up in a loving home in which I was taught to love myself. It wasn’t until I stepped out in the world (school) that it was pointed out to me that things were “wrong” with me. It’s a shame because I think most of what we consider our imperfections come from what others have told us about ourselves and unfortunately we listened and believed those messages. I think you have to recite positive messages to yourself to combat the noise that may be in our heads or around us. Thank you for the great message and promoting positivity!

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  13. Man, did I need to hear this. I’m not a mom, but I often say that I don’t feel like enough – I’m not doing enough, or the right things, or working hard enough, etc etc. It’s nice to have a reminder to slow down and focus on the positive and work on loving myself first.

    Like

  14. This is such a beautiful post! I love how kids are so open about what they love and speak so freely about it. You’re setting a great example for your daughter by loving the big changes that have happened in your body.

    Like

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