Am I ambitious or never good enough?

Recently, the above uncertainty stirred things up in the therapy room a few times. As usual, I didn’t have the answer.

How do I endure and balance the restlessness for more with a sense of innate worthiness and abundance?

How do I know I’m doing enough? How do I know I am enough?

Everything is good in the relationship, why do I focus on the negative and want to run?

I can’t seem to get anywhere.

Is my ambition unrealistic?

This inner churning while experienced as the same restlessness with the present, arises out of a diversity of motivations and experiences. And so, soothing this tide forward and away requires personalized and unique experiments of what ifs….suggestions like…

  • What if…you imagined you were already good enough? What does it feel like to feel accomplished, admired, complete? [Manifesting positive emotions]
  • What if … you allowed these restless feelings to rest in your heart without trying to push them away? Can you be both satisfied and dissatisfied? [ DBT, tolerating conflicting feelings]
  • What if … you had an internal dialogue between your heart, mind and gut to negotiate what level of effort is appropriate without diminishing your intellectual, emotional or instinctive needs? [Non-violent communication and community]

This week, I tried, a technique from Sensorimotor psychotherapy by Pat Ogden: reframing a survival resource. The premise of this technique is that sometimes we negatively qualify a strength. For example, “I saw how hard my mom worked and I wanted her approval so worked hard too. This way I would attract her positive attention but I also never felt good enough.” In this case, a survival resource became laden with feelings of guilty laziness. Recognizing that the productive drive was felt to be necessary at the time to connect with mom but now is no longer needed in the same form. We can reframe: “I’m not good enough” to “I value/ enjoy effort (regardless of outcome).” How does your body feel when you repeat these statements to yourself? Does one feel softer than the other? Which gives you space to allow the emotional current without feeling compelled to move, to act? Can you feel the different between acting out of love of effort instead of fear of judgement?

What works for you when you feel both exhausted and self-propelled to do more? Maybe try one of the above and let me know what worked for you.

Reference: Ogden, P. (2015). Sensorimotor psychotherapy: Interventions for trauma and attachment.

Photography by Nate Dale, New Adventure Productions.

Thoughts? Questions? Comments?

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