Pause … to Know You Are Enough

Not feeling "enough"

You see it reflected everywhere: Doubt. Lack of belief in the self. Not being confident in oneself. A feeling of “not good enough.” Perhaps you even see it reflected at yourself in the mirror.

At the core of so many emotional reactions is a lack of self-worth or feeling hurt by something someone else has done. Oftentimes, it is our biggest gift we question the most. This may be because it feels most vulnerable to put the thing we value most out there for everyone to see. What if they don’t like it? What if it doesn’t mean anything to them? What if, we think, I don’t matter? Yet in putting ourselves out there, we are able to share with others and let them know they are not alone. We are not alone. We are all connected. Isn’t it about time we all pull ourselves together and start acting like it?

I was first drawn to Emotional Intelligence because it was an opportunity to get to know myself better, and because it was something that I saw as so lacking in businesses and individuals everywhere. In working with clients before obtaining my certification in EQ, I would see emotional reactions happen in offices all the time. I noticed that in the moment, people didn’t realize what was happening to them, and many times their reactions were driven by a deeper sense of pain. People will often blame others in fear of their own weaknesses being exposed.

Having confidence in your skills and abilities stems from being emotionally comfortable in your own skin. It comes from believing in yourself and in what you do. It springs forth when you understand that your most profound strength can become your biggest weakness if you constantly question it.

Unless we are willing to look at ourselves at a deeper level, the feeling of being “not enough” will perpetuate.

So What Can I Do About It?

When I was merely 14 years old, I experienced the biggest heartbreak of my life. My dad died suddenly and accidentally, and I came home from basketball practice and found him. Unfortunately, even after medical attention, it was too late to save him. As I think about this, it understandably still feels emotional for me… the familiar tension in the neck hits, my shoulder blades start to tighten, and my eyes get a little teary. This is hardwired into my body; into my brain. There are bioenergetics at play constantly that result from our thoughts, and our bodies respond in so many unhealthy ways to thoughts we perpetuate. But this is me, putting it all out there for you in this moment, so that we all may learn.

In that 14-year old instant, I was “not enough” to save him. Thanks to a wonderful support network of family and friends, I went on to become a happy, well-adjusted teen and adult. Yet there has always been that sense of loss that has clouded things at times. I suppose it has given me a much broader sense of empathy, which of course is a huge EQ component when it comes to Social Awareness. Yet as a speaker with a training background, I too have struggled with that “not enough” feeling, wondering what I had to say that was worth hearing.

Know Your Story

I didn’t realize that the most obvious thing that completely shaped my life WAS my story, and that I was so close to it that I couldn’t see it. Everything in life is here to teach us lessons, especially those most painful things. I remember hearing a quote that went something like this: The very thing that breaks you open sets you free. If you are willing to be an explorer and dive deep, you can go on a journey where you truly discover yourself. Each “wrong” or disappointment – every hurt, breakup, insult or injury – can send you down the pathway of exploration. It can lead you to your gift and your purpose.

I have learned to find gratitude in pain rather than fight it, even if I don’t like what brought that pain to me. The pain drives me deeper. That’s where I read, and I learn, and I go on a journey of self-discovery. And I get better. This is simply because I become more myself, accepting those things that change my life and, eventually, letting go. And in those moments, when I come to acceptance, I know that all is well and I am enough. And I carry that forth…

YOU are enough. What is YOUR story? What is the pain that you’re holding onto? What offenses are you continually feeling over and over again? What are you scared of? Why? What do you not believe in about yourself? It’s time to figure it out, so you can be more productive with your time, your energy and your feelings. What are you not letting go of? Is it serving you? Each experience is a puzzle piece that creates who you are, who you’ll become, and how you’ll live. Do you know your story? I think it’s time for a new chapter! Let’s go!

Valerie M. Sargent is a dynamic speaker, trainer, consultant and executive coach. A natural and engaging motivator, Valerie is a Level I and Level II TalentSmart Emotional Intelligence Certified Trainer and President of Yvette Poole & Associates. She helps individuals and organizations increase their EQ, managing emotions and relationships better on the job for maximum performance. Her signature message, “It’s in the Pause”® focuses on the need for Self-Management skills to preserve positive relationships in the workplace and beyond – follow her blog: For more information:  or

2 thoughts on “Pause … to Know You Are Enough

  1. So poignant and powerful Valerie. Thank you for your vulnerability, and your willingness to “put it out there” and let us learn from your valuable experience. This came at just the right time, and while the hurt here is still new, your words, “The very thing that breaks you open sets you free” has liberated my heart and soul (at least for tonight!). Keep sharing…thank you again!


    • I had the same reaction to that thought, Steve. It was profound, and provided a moment of clarity for me when I heard it. There is also a quote by Leonard Cohen that says, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” It may be hard to see now, but the light is there when you are ready, and it will illuminate you and make you whole. Hang in there.


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