The 3 Magic Words You Should Say Today

Posted by on February 12, 2018 in Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments
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By Jennifer Santos Madriaga | Purpose Fairy

The 3 Magic Words…

For years my life was defined by deep feelings of inadequacy as well as concurrent actions of striving to keep those feelings at bay. Even as a young child, I felt nothing I did was good enough.

I can still recall feelings of intense anxiety, sometimes terror, at simply waking up and knowing I had to go to school.


While my parents meant well, I was inculcated with the belief that to be loved meant having to prove your worth each and every day, which meant doing things in a certain way—staying quiet, doing what you were told, getting good grades, taking certain subjects.  In other words, I was given a supposed checklist of success, which would supposedly lead to this elusive state called “happiness.”

I was taught to be competitive, to believe that my self-worth was directly tied to accomplishment.  I could not be of value unless I achieved something. This is a belief system embraced by many, and for me, it only served to deepen the feelings of emptiness and downright devastation that I experienced, especially if I failed at something.

When one lives in a constant state of competition, there is no such thing as ever being good enough.  One lives in a constant fear that you NEVER will be good enough. Even as I continually achieved and collected accolades, I suffered from constant panic attacks, chronic anxiety, and depression.  Therapy and anti-depressants would provide short-lived respite.

However, even as I spent most of waking time dedicated to “doing,” part of me was suspicious of what the point exactly was to all this “doing.”  A secret voice was always asking, “Is this all there is?”  Part of me was deeply ashamed that this voice even existed. After all, society was reinforcing that I was doing things the “right way.”

I dutifully checked off the items on my checklist of success, completely believing that once I completed each task, I would be closer and closer to that state called “happiness.”  However, with each accomplishment, I only seemed to be further and further away from where I wanted to be. A part of me resigned myself to believe that perhaps what I really wanted could never be attained, that it was elusive and outside myself.  But even as I tried to give into resignation, that voice and its question “Is this all there is?” continued to plague me.  I had become an adult and done everything that was expected of me.  And I was completely miserable.

“Is this all there is?” became an accusation.  But I busied myself with tasks to which I attached great importance.  I cooked gourmet meals.  I traveled to faraway places.  I did yoga.  I went through the motions of what a good life was supposed to be, never realizing in all those years that what I had longed for resided within myself.

My self-worth still resided in the external— from accomplishments and material possessions, in the need for validation from others.  It never occurred to me that I could give myself validation because I had never been taught that.

I remember back in 2001 discovering a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, in which he spoke about suffering.  It struck a chord with me, but I could not understand it.  For he said to lessen suffering in the world, you had to reduce suffering within yourself.  That concept seemed completely foreign to me. I did not understand how lessening MY suffering could possibly lessen the suffering of others. So even when we are well-meaning in focusing on the suffering of others, it only serves to distract from addressing what needs to change within ourselves.

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