Mother's Day: How to apply Marisa Peer's 'I am enough' movement to everyday parenting challenges

Renowned therapist and founder of rapid transformational therapy talks about why self-belief can lead to positive change when it comes to nurturing — yourself as well as your little one

By Delna Mistry Anand

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 12:42 AM

Marisa Peer was one of the most recognised figures among the list of celebrated speakers who took Dubai by storm at Mindvalley Live Dubai, one of the grandest personal development seminars. With over 30 years of experience in treating clients, including A-list celebrities, business magnates, Olympic athletes, and even royalty, Marisa is a globally acclaimed therapist, author, speaker, and founder of Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT), an award-winning technique that combines natural language processing, cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy and hypnotherapy for deeply powerful results. Her ‘I Am Enough’ movement was born from the understanding that the root of many problems stems from the need to fill an inner emptiness of not feeling ‘enough’.

‘I am enough’ isn’t about perfection, it’s about accepting who you are, flaws and all. It’s about giving yourself the safe space you need to grow. The best version of you is the person who can look at your body and think, “I am enough,” and nourish it how it needs to be nourished.

On being enough

In a world where eight out of 10 people (adults and adolescents) have a low sense of self-worth, where would you think the problem lies? “People come to me and say ‘I can’t find love’, ‘I can’t be successful’, ‘I can’t talk to people’. We know straightaway that you aren’t born with these feelings, they are all acquired over time. Babies aren’t born feeling like this. I ask, ‘Why can’t you find success?’, ‘Why do you self-sabotage?’, ‘Why do you procrastinate?’. And it all comes down to one thing — ‘I’m not enough’,” says Marisa Peer. Not good enough, not smart enough, not being attractive enough are all variations of not being enough.

When you feel you’re not enough, you have an emptiness, which you fill up with other things. (For example, gambling, drinking, shopping additions or even overworking). Marisa says that most people, when asked about their levels of addiction or imbalance, say that it is because they felt a lack in something. But this, too, is just a belief. A belief created by their own thoughts. “You see, we make our beliefs and then our beliefs make us. We are what we believe,” she adds.

And that is why we need to keep upgrading our beliefs, discard what no longer serves us and acquire fresh empowering ones that lead us to growth.

On being the boss of your mind

It starts with how you speak to yourself, being gentle and encouraging, which is a hard learning curve for many of us today.

“When you understand the mind, you understand that whatever you label yourself as you become,” she said. “If you walk around saying, ‘I’ve got a terrible memory’, that will happen. If you say, ‘I've got a phenomenal memory’, that will happen too.”

According to Marisa, the strongest force in every human is you must act in a way that aligns with how you identify. “Our mind’s job is to make our words real, and our job is to think better thoughts. We have a brilliant brain, and so we have a choice every day: to talk ourselves into it, or out of it.”

Praise is another powerful method for transforming how we think about ourselves and our life, says Marisa. But to many of us, praise is still unfamiliar. “Make the unfamiliar familiar”, and praise yourself often. Speak encouraging words to yourself, ‘I am smart, I am good at business, I am a great orator, I’m good at numbers, good at cooking’, and see how your life changes.

The best way to grow self-esteem is to praise yourself often and say something you can make real. Praise “nourishes you, but criticism withers you”.

On parenting

In today’s world of advanced technology, so many are grappling to find the best parenting strategies. “All that your children really want is for you to be present. I myself didn’t learn this till much later on. More than presents, what they really want is your presence,” said Marisa.

Whenever she asks mothers to think back to their childhood and remember the memories that stand out, most of them bring up fun moments of picking berries, making jams or cooking, or making sand castles. She urges them to create those fun moments for their own children too, she says, as that is what they will remember.

When people don’t know how to balance their careers or aspirations while being a mother, Marisa says, “Just be a parent when you’re being a parent. When you’re with your child, don’t look at your phone or check emails or be mentally in the office. Be with them wholly. Be fully in mummy mode. And when you’re working, just be fully there. It actually makes your life very easy.”

“I’ve seen some great mothers who handle very public responsibilities, like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, or Princess Kate. They are hands-on mothers but have a life and aspirations of their own too. We can all be like that. It takes a lot of planning and a belief that you can do it. If you believe that you can have it all, and are worth having it all, then you certainly can”.

“We have to remember what a joy parenting is, and it goes so quickly. In no time at all, your squidgy baby is all grown up and leaves home”. So be present for them in each phase.

On separation anxiety

For mothers whose children are leaving the nest, “you’ve done a great job and they have done a great job getting into a good university.” Quoting Khalil Gibran, she says that children come through us, we raise them and then they leave. That is the job of a parent. The human mind loves what is familiar, but parents must model the belief that change is good and exciting, and it is for the better so that the child feels positive about it.

Marisa’s message on Mother’s Day

“Your first job is to know that you are enough. And raise your children with high self-esteem, that is the greatest gift you can give them. Nothing else matters more. Help them identify what they are good at, and remind them often”.

Adding to that, she mentions, “No relationship is perfect, no person is perfect and you’re never going to get it right”. Marisa calls it being “flaw-some”. “My unhappiest clients are the ones who try to be perfect, and they’re also the loneliest” she adds.

Being enough is never about being perfect, it is about accepting and embracing your flaws, working on them, having fun with them and slowly building your ‘I am worthy’ muscle which in turn will positively influence your choices, decisions and quality of life.

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