The Jigsaw Puzzle



For the past 3 months, I’ve been a witness to myself. Like so many of us, I hold a belief that “I am not enough”.

That belief formed in my early childhood, where I observed that no matter how much I strived to be perfect in the eyes of my parents, I just never quite made it there.  

They would offer me constructive criticism or feedback on how I could do it even better. And when this young child is yearning for praise and a “job well done” hug, this type of constructive feedback often feels like the unexpected sting of a scorpion’s tail.

There are many ways that our developing personality adapts to this type of feedback or criticism. I love Scott Washington’s insights in this arena:

Firstly, take a look at what that world looked like for the little child that was you, and how you chose to adapt in order to survive and/or seek love in this world.

For me, it seemed like a world that noticed everything I did. My parents had great attention to detail, so I decided that I needed to have equally as strong attention to detail in order to notice and correct (or hide) my “mistakes” before they did.


As often happens, it’s these decisions that shape our life.  

My exceptional attention to detail has served me in so many arenas in my adult life, helping me notice missing pieces in legal documents as easily as I pick up spelling and grammatical mistakes in text that others have proofed many times before me. 

But the world around me also seemed very harsh and judgmental. It seemed to hold such high standards that I felt that I needed to strive, and strive and strive and strive to meet them. 

I became such an over-achiever that if I wasn’t top of the class, I felt that I’d failed. So I was indeed Dux of the school, and went on to become a University Medalist in the field of Science (that means I topped the whole University for my year, in the field of Science). 

Yep, it was quite an achievement, and I still have my medal.

But it wasn’t only Science I excelled in. I wrote some children’s books in my teenage years. I was an exceptional artist (and went on to do commissioned art pieces in my late 20’s and early 30’s). And I’m a great communicator, able to articulate complex topics into something that’s real and raw and life changing. 

That’s why I love writing these Raw Divinity blogs.

So hopefully you can see how our wounds also lead to our gifts. But it’s not always the case. Our wounds, or rather how we choose to respond to those wounds, also leads to the limiting aspects of our personality.  

In my case, I learnt to carefully observe the people around me, and to gravitate towards those who gave me approval. I’d watch for signs that someone liked me before reaching out to them. I learned to people-please in order to be a “good” daughter, to always say the right things, to never swear or do anything inappropriate that would displease my parents. 

I chose to prioritise my projects and goals so much that I could at times be robotic around my “to do” lists, and forget to pause and take a moment for human kindness or kindness to myself.   

Fortunately, I’ve had many years of unravelling these patterns, to find more authentic ways of being in this world.

But a lot of people are unconscious of their patterns, and simply tell themselves “This is who I am” without raising their habits up to the light, to see if these habits are serving or harming them.  


But there’s one thing that is even more important than the behavioural habit we created, and that’s our view of ourself in the world.

Who am I?

It’s not enough to simply observe the decisions we made about the world around us, and our subsequent choices in how to behave within this world in order to be safe and (hopefully) loved.  

It’s even more important to identify the decisions we made about ourself in the world. Who am I, given this world that I’m seeing?  

I’d love to say that “Who am I?” would lead to recognitions of our Greatness, our Strength, our Kind-Heartedness, our Resilience, our Attitude. But that’s not what we’re looking for. That’s the healed perspective of ourselves.  

We can only reach that healed perspective by walking through the Dark Night of the Soul, to identify the unhealed or wounded perspective that we formed as a child.  

In my case, it was simple. When no matter how much I strived I still couldn’t truly please my parents, I concluded that I’m not good enough….and more important than that, “I’m not enough”.  

You might think those two statements are almost identical….and they are….but as I ponder them, thinking that “I’m not good enough” leads me to strive to be even better. But thinking that “I’m not enough” is such a soul-destroying statement that it comes with it own bundle of hopelessness.

If I’m not enough, how can I ever be enough? 

Three months ago, I noticed how I was comparing myself to others around me, and feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. It came up in my business, where I looked to other people doing a whole lot more classes and activities than I’m doing. And whilst I could acknowledge that I have my own strengths and weaknesses just as they do, the simple fact was that I saw myself as lacking.  

I was in a business mastermind group, and the woman leading the mastermind asked some very revealing questions for me…..questions that led me to one simple conclusion. The “I’m not enough” script from my childhood is still operating in my life today, both in relationships and in business. 

Around the same time, I received some very honest and rather challenging feedback from someone I deeply respect and care about. She was triggered in our interaction this particular day, and told me several things she didn’t like about me.

In doing this, she articulated all my deepest fears about myself.


As I listened to her feedback, I sunk into my own triggers.

The feedback was so horrible that I wanted to bury myself into the ground. I caught myself thinking, “I won’t have ANY friends anymore. I don’t want anyone to get to know me, or see this ugliness within me.” 

That was definitely a knee-jerk reaction, but also a very authentic one. I was facing my own Dweller on the edge of the Threshold, and it wasn’t pretty.

That reaction went for about 3 weeks. During that time, I sat with my own feelings about the feedback I’d been given. The things that were said were true in one way, yet they were also coloured by this friend’s values and perspective and other things going on in her life. 

After one week of exploring what her feedback meant to me, my perspective had started to shift. Instead of seeing myself as undeserving of taking up space on the planet (which was the voice of my wounded self), I started to see that I am “different” to other people. My gifts are a two-edged sword with a sharp edge.  

It would be near impossible to walk my life with these gifts, without also having these particular personality traits.

Over the coming weeks, as I deepened into that experience, something happened and I had a beautiful and simple revelation. Anytime I notice myself slipping into any hint of feeling “not enough”, I remind myself of this:

I am a beautiful piece in a magnificent jigsaw puzzle. I am not here to be the whole jigsaw puzzle. I am here to “be” my piece in the best way I possibly can.

In other words, none of us need to be everything to everyone. We are here to do “us” really well. So stay in your own lane, and discover the gifts and talents that you bring to the world. Allow others to have their own complementary and contrasting gifts and talents.  

When we do “us” really well, that’s the source of deep satisfaction and self-love. It’s only when we are trying to be all things to all people that we set ourselves up to fail miserably. We can’t keep everyone happy. We can’t all be the same.  

We just need to live as ourself, magnificently well, and allow others to do the same.