"I am not enough..."
This has been the root of all of my singular ambition in my life which has been ingrained in me both collectively and personally.
Collectively, women have been told that in order to be more lovable, desirable and acceptable we must fit within a murky standard. We are told we must have perfect skin, perky breasts and give, give, give to those around us. This dawns from the post-agricultural age when women's value in society transformed into their sexual desirability and ability to bear children. If those two values were not deemed present then, well, you had no worth. You were the hag, the crone, the spinster and rejected from society.
Roughly 4 and half thousand years later this idea still rings true within our collective consciousness.
Personally, this has been ingrained in me by my upbringing. No, I am not blaming my parents for shitty parenting (I have lovely parents). However, just by way of parenting or lack of parenting we construct, in childhood, certain aspects of ourselves that were not accepted or safe to express. I was rewarded for behaviours or traits that were "good" in the eyes of my parents or society. Those traits that were seen as not good were squished down deep into the darkness of my subconscious self.
We all carry a shadow self around. The unexpressed little girl who feared showing her vulnerabilities, her true colours, resulting in no love. No admiration. No adoration. Frozen in time and unable to grow from our childhood.
Our shadows bubble up to the surface every now and then when we don't pay attention to them: Explosive anger, unexplained moodiness, blaming others, self-criticism, addiction, perfectionism are some of the effects of the shadow self lashing out.
Shadow of The Mother Archetype
According to my new favourite book, The Way of the Mysterial Woman, the largest shadow archetype most women carry is The Mother shadow. We either over-identify or under-identify with this shadow of "I am not enough." It is expressed either as The Devourer: smothering, over-protective, needy, desperate or The Neglector: difficulty to receive, disembodied rigidity, tendency to neglect yourself (and others).
I know I swing between these two extremes and it is NOT a nice feeling. It is NOT who I am at my core. Typically I like to avoid this darkness by distracting myself with exercise, the next thrill, food, Netflix or unloading these dark emotions onto someone else. Basically searching for something or someone to fill the void this dark shadow brings!
Moving towards the Shadow
In a world that wants light, positivity and 'good vibes only,' it can be hard to express our shadow selves. But not expressing it only makes the shadow stronger. In the Mysterial Woman, the liberating belief to this shadow is: "I am enough just as I am."