Book review: ‘Enough As You Are: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Appreciating the Gift of You’
“Enough As You Are: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Appreciating the Gift of You.” By Peggy Weber. Chicago: Loyola Press, 2019. 118 pages. Paperback: $13.95; Kindle: $9.59; Nook: $10.49.
“Be who you are, and be that perfectly well.”
— St. Francis de Sales
One of the things that I particularly liked about Peggy Weber’s most recent book, “Enough As You Are: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Appreciating the Gift of You,” is the frequency with which she quotes one of my favorite saints, Francis de Sales. Each of the 11 chapters in this book begins with an excerpt from his writings dealing with such things as maintaining calm, being patient with yourself and finding peace in God and in your life. (For further reading, pick up a copy of his book, “Introduction to the Devout Life.”) Ultimately, that is also what Weber’s book is meant to do, and she covers many of our nagging spiritual issues very well.
One of the contrasts she draws right from the beginning is the difference between the world’s expectation of us and God’s. We often see ourselves as “not enough,” she says, because we are busy comparing ourselves to what others do and what others have, and such judgments generally leave us feeling as if we are coming up short.
In God’s eyes, however, what we perceive as inadequacies don’t even enter into His equation. For instance, in her chapter “Smart Enough,” in which she talks about how we may or may not have dealt well with school, she says, “…so many of us continue to measure ourselves by our accomplishments in school or lack of them. Many do not recognize that, no matter their test scores, they are, as the Scriptures say, ‘made in the image and likeness of God.’”
Such feelings are not limited to our school days, although, as she points out in chapter two, entitled “Friends Enough,” a lot of what we struggle with in adulthood began around seventh grade. We can and often do carry these less-than-flattering thoughts about ourselves into other life situations much further down the road – into work, family, parenthood and even how we deal with aging and the inevitability of death. Life will always challenge us, she says, and who we turn to and how we respond at each crossroads will determine how much peace and truth we will ultimately have in our lives.
“Addressing those feelings of insecurity is necessary if you want to embrace the truth that you are good enough,” Weber writes. “You have to figure out who you are and then love who you are.”
Later in the book she says, “It’s good to know that you don’t have to impress anyone to be loved. Your business card just has to read ‘Child of God.’ That is enough.”
Weber’s book resonates so well because the examples she uses come directly from her own life – indeed, it seems at times as if we are looking in a mirror or rereading our own journals. However, for every insecurity she discusses, she also introduces its remedy – an example from the life of a saint who has faced a similar situation, a comforting quote from Pope Francis and, at the end of each chapter, some practical ideas for putting our faith into practice to uplift not only ourselves but those around us as well.
She also concludes each chapter with an Ignatian Examen for the topic she has discussed. This five-step meditation allows you to give thanks to God for all His blessings, seek the Holy Spirit’s discernment about whatever issue you are facing, look at your life through God’s eyes in order to ask for forgiveness and/or healing where either are necessary and then leave yourself in God’s hands as you prepare to begin your life again the next day.
Weber then comes full circle, ending her book as she began, with the words of Francis de Sales: “Be at peace…and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.” You are enough as you are.
Peggy Weber is an award-winning writer who has been working at her craft for almost 40 years, primarily with the Catholic press. The author of the popular “Spun from the Web” column, she loves her faith, family, baseball and chocolate. She loves to laugh a lot, which helps her to truly feel “enough.” She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, John, and relishes frequent visits from her seven grandchildren.