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How The Greatest Showman’s Song “Never Enough” Liberated and Healed Me.
I want to share a powerful experience I had when first hearing the song never enough from the movie The Greatest Showman. What made this experience so curious was that this was not the feeling of something being healed such that a wound goes away. It was a relief of pain through the acceptance that the wound would never heal.
It was the realization that my deepest emotional wound has become an integral part of who I am.
Ever since first hearing the song, a painful longing I have felt all my life has lifted. Even though your deepest wound may differ from mine, I hope that by sharing this experience you will see enough parallels to apply what I have learnt to your relationship with your own emotional wounding.
My deepest wound exists as a hole within me. A space that feels empty. The result of this emotional hole is that I have always craved something I felt was missing. This comes from feeling incomplete (to feel not whole). In a nutshell, the wound is not feeling loved as a child. I was not mistreated. I just never felt wanted. This left me looking for the love and approval of a parental figure (with a subconscious notion that their love would fill, and thereby heal, this hole / need within me).
A note about forgiveness: people often talk about forgiveness with this topic. I no longer have negative feelings towards my parents, but have been happier since cutting contact several years ago. I don’t personally use the word “forgive” about other people because I believe the only person we can truly forgive is ourselves (because, in my belief-system, we each create our own reality and thereby ultimately choose our own suffering). For example, in terms of how the word is generally used, you would say I have forgiven my parents, but the point is I don’t believe they need my forgiveness because I don’t think they wronged me. They treated me how I wanted to be treated in order to turn me inwards such that I became an explorer of consciousness. I take responsibility for that choice that was made at the level of my wider consciousness / spirit.
Last year I had a painful experience that arose from the effect of this empty space within me. An experience that culminated in hearing the song never enough. It was a heart-breaking experience because the pattern always begins with me, after initial resistance, opening myself to love. My issue isn’t opening myself to love others; it is allowing myself to feel loved by others in any kind of parental way, because I associate that with pain. I therefore always end up ending relationships where I am mothered because that mothering is never enough (and is therefore felt as a pain rather than a pleasure).
When I allow myself to open to being loved then the force of the void within me comes into play and applies an unwelcome pressure on whatever relationship is forming. Then things falls apart. Then I shut down. Then I wish I had never opened myself up. The same old chain of dominoes again and again—my repeating cycle.
I do not usually use the term abandonment issues as I am often mis-understood. It is not that I am frightened of being abandoned. It is that I abandon relationships because I find them too painful. When you feel you have no choice but to leave you still feel abandoned, even though you are the one leaving. Only my husband and a handful of friends have endured.
Looking at that cycle, what has become clear is that my opportunity to break the cycle is where this powerful need within me adds its unwelcome flavor to my relationships. I am the only one that has the power to recognize when it is happening and only I can make a different choice.
It was at about this final stage in my process of seeing the effect of my wound on my life that I saw the movie The Greatest Showman and heard the song never enough. The song is sung by a character called Jenny Lind (played by Rebecca Ferguson). Jenny sings with force from her own pain of always feeling an outsider because of how she grew up under the shadow of being born out of wedlock. She expresses later how “that leaves a hole that no ovation can ever fill.”
The most pertinent lyrics are:
“All the shine of a thousand spotlights,
All the stars we steal from the night sky,
will never be enough, never be enough.
Towers of gold are still too little,
These hands could hold the world but it’ll never be enough,
never be enough, for me.”
- Songwriters: Justin Paul / Benj Pasek.
If you have seen the movie you will have heard the incredible power with which this song is delivered (both by the actress and the recording artist Loren Allred). As the words rang through me and I remembered my most recent experience of this hole leaving me feeling abandoned, I felt a deep truth in the words.
nothing this world can ever offer me will fill this void in me. Nothing. Ever. never. But instead of feeling horror, I felt freed.
I felt free because it meant I was now seeing and understanding the wound within me so clearly that never again would its unwelcome force unbalance me. In seeing the futility of my efforts to heal something that was unhealable, I was free of its negative effect on me. Positively buzzing during the performance, I saw the possibility of living with the void still inside of me, but now I would no longer fall into its emptiness.
When listening to never enough, I saw the hole with such clarity. It was as if I had placed sign-posts around it that would alert me whenever I was in danger of acting from an unbalanced place. So it was not that this experience took away the hole, but my wound’s potential to affect my life is now contained because I recognize when my emotions are coming from my pain.
I imagine there may be some of you reading this that want to believe I can heal this hole within me (as that is how I would have responded to this article five years ago). But… I have learnt since then as having undiagnosed food intolerances for five years teaches you a lot about our choice of experience. Even though we do not like to hear it, we each choose to give ourselves hardships (such as illnesses or emotional wounds) because of how they direct and evolve our experience of self and reality. I am the one that asked for this hole within me to be bottomless. Who I have had to become in order to learn to live with my wounds is who I want to be.
If you want to apply this to your life, I invite you to consider loving yourself as you are—your deepest wound included. This does not mean you will not experience healing, instead it offers the possibility of a different kind of healing. The kind that arises when you let go of seeing your deepest wound as a problem, but instead see it as a choice you made because, along with the pain of it, you have received many gifts.
focus on the gifts your deepest wound has given you such that you can see the beauty of your choice to be wounded in this life. Be conscious of the good things that surround you.