How to Change the Mindset of Not Enough to More Than Enough!
On this journey of life after weight loss surgery, there can be a lot of questions, doubts, and beliefs about who you are, who you aren’t anymore, who you should be, and who you want to become. The road to becoming the ‘new’ you can be littered with various thoughts both positive and negative. The biggest one that I see many individuals struggle with is “enoughness.” This is a condition that lingers in the day-to-day. If you have the ongoing thought of "not enough," it is time to change the mindset!
Am I enough?
What does it take to be enough?
The thought that losing weight will finally give someone their value that leads to “enoughness.”
The truth is, one’s value is not equal to their weight or the number on the scale. Enoughness, however, deals with the deep-seated feelings that one’s value is fully based on how they look. In our society, where cultural thinness is worshipped and additional weight or “fatness” is deemed unacceptable, it’s easy to see the perceived link between body weight and feeling or being enough.
Being “enough” is an inside job. The inner workings of your “enoughness” come from your own determination of your worthiness.
Within the bariatric community, there is a lot of comparisons, self-judgment, perfectionistic ideals, and self-hatred. Even following the surgery, there are many that still struggle with defining who they are, what they like about themselves, and identifying with “enoughness.” It’s through a process of change from which this “enoughness” can be developed.
FIVE Steps to Change Your Mindset
TRANSFORM SELF-DOUBT INTO SELF ACCEPTANCE
Self-acceptance is developed over time. It is a process that comes with releasing self-doubt, accepting one’s imperfections, believing in oneself, confronting fears, learning to forgive ourselves for the past and practicing self-compassion. Within the bariatric community, there is a lot of comparisons, self-judgment, blame, shame, and guilt. It can take a toll on one’s emotional state which can lead to depression, anxiety, and/or emotional eating. After coming so far on our respective journeys, it’s important to give up the fear-based self-hatred in favor of accepting ourselves as we are, and as we are stepping into who we desire to become.
In order to develop self-acceptance, there needs to be greater self-compassion toward oneself. This begins with slowing down enough to practice mindfulness so you can catch yourself in a negative spin cycle. It may be uncomfortable to sit with negative thoughts and feelings, yet this is where things can change. Once you recognize that you might be engaged in a negative cycle, you can then make the choice to shift and practice self-kindness, talking to yourself like you would a friend. Additionally, accepting imperfections, being encouraging and loving to oneself is the cornerstone of self-acceptance. No one is perfect, and acknowledging how far you’ve come rather than where you are “not yet” is a shift.
WORKING THROUGH TRAUMA WORTH
Individuals who have experienced trauma often see themselves as broken. There can be a sense of fear and helplessness that carries over into adulthood creating emotional imbalance. There are a variety of emotional and physical symptoms that individuals with a traumatic past may struggle with on a daily basis. This is why those who may have had an adverse childhood experience (ACE), or other types of trauma either in childhood or adulthood seek trauma therapy to help them heal. Unresolved trauma can create the thinking that you’re not good enough, that there is something wrong with you, or that you won’t get better. Trauma therapy is essential to healing from unresolved trauma to move forward in your life and to move from not-enough to more than enough.
EMPOWERMENT OVER VICTIMHOOD
Often times I’ll see people say “you don’t understand my situation” or “that’s not possible for me”. That line of thinking is straight out of victim mentality. Everyone has the ability to create and change their situation. It’s not a matter of when or how, it’s a matter of thinking differently and taking action on it. Albert Einstein once said, “you cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it”. This is the same for victim mentality. Regardless of one’s conditions, there is possibility for change once a person decides to change. Additionally, they must employ thinking differently to activate the change in situation.
Instead of “why is this happening to me,” someone could say “what can I learn from this?” Instead of saying “bad things always happen to me,” another shift might be, “what can I do to see things differently?” or a shift to “what can I do to change this situation?”
Often, empowerment is about choices, while the victim mindset is about feeling trapped. In order to start becoming empowered, it is vital to start owning our own choices. Additionally, believing you don’t have a choice, is also a choice. Shifting this begins with putting yourself as a priority and recognizing you deserve better. Then, seeking out new possibilities rather than the ones that are consistently presented can be another way to empower oneself.
CHECK YOUR OWN SELF-JUDGEMENT
Self-judgment results from consistent negative cyclical self-talk, thoughts that individuals have about themselves, and the meaning they give those thoughts. If someone is constantly focused on what is wrong with them, rather than what their strengths or benefits are, they will be solely focused on the judgmental and biased thinking. The judgmental lens only sees things through the eyes of disgust, disdain, hate, and disappointment.
It’s essential that individuals focus on their character strengths, the positives they bring to the world, and the skills, gifts, and assets they bring in to the world. Solely focusing on one’s physical appearance can limit how you think of yourself. Furthermore, checking in with judgment and flipping that ‘judgy voice’ to a more encouraging or positive one can also help guide someone to see their “enoughness”.
CHANGE THE MINDSET, DEVELOPING SELF-WORTH
Self-worth is identified as an internal state of being that comes from self-understanding, self-acceptance, and self-love. Using the above recommendations will help to develop one’s self-worth. Additionally, it is important that you also learn to accept compliments, and actually listen, believe, and receive the compliments that are given. Another guidance to developing self-worth is identifying competencies and developing them so that self-belief grows as well. It’s also integral to one’s enoughness because our beliefs are inherent to how we determine our value, worth, and how deserving we believe we are when it comes to happiness, success, love, and all the good things in life. In developing strong self-esteem, or self-worth, working on one’s self-belief is critical.
Self-belief builds confidence in one’s own abilities. It’s not only knowing or practicing what you are good at but developing oneself to a point where you feel proud of who you are, period. Meaning you’re not comparing yourself to anyone else. This place of “enoughness” is achieved when you recognize that you are amazing, wonderful, and you are happy with who you are. It’s honoring who you are at the very core.
All in all, these 5 steps will help you move from “not enough” to “more than enough” when you consistently practice shifting your mindset to focus on your strengths, attributes, and assets all while celebrating your successes and honoring your truth and the core of the amazing person that you are!
Re-printed with permission from the author Kristin Lloyd-Moussa