You are now, and always have been, enough.
I almost always say certain things to my clients during their time with me. One of them is the statement above. When people come to see me they usually want to change. However, change can be tricky, because some folks believe that changing means repudiating the person they have been.
That’s not the way it is. Therapy is not about becoming a new person, it is about learning to be successfully the person you have always been. Many behaviors may need to be altered, as well as thoughts and emotions. But change who you really are? No. You’re already a worthwhile person. Sure, you have your flaws, but your basic make-up is a wonder to behold, right now.
In The Spirituality of Imperfection, a delightful book about spiritual growth, Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham quote a wise Jewish teacher in one of their very human illustrations:
Rabbi Zuysa said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me: ‘Why were you not Zuysa?”
The rabbi had it right. Our responsibility is to be ourselves. Or, as Cheri Huber, a teacher from a very different tradition, says:
Here is the secret to the whole thing, I think. If I see myself as worthy and lovable, and if I act in the world from that place, people will see and respond accordingly.
Becoming a new person is not our goal. Our purpose is to learn who it is we’ve actually been all these years and do a good job at being that person.
The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning, Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, Bantam, 1993.
There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate, Cheri Huber, Keep It Simple Books, 2001.