There are meals “big enough to feed the entire family”, books titled “Not Different Enough” and “Good Enough to Be Great”, and songs like “Can’t Get Enough” and “The World Is Not Enough”.
We say things like:
“I don’t have enough time.”
“I’m not rich (powerful, successful, popular, important) enough.”
“We didn’t do well enough.”
“Enough! I’ve heard it all before.”
“Do I look pretty (thin, glamorous) enough?”
What the heck is enough anyway?
For the children I met in Honduras, enough was a safe place to lay their heads at night and a tortilla for dinner. For others, enough is achieved only with multiple houses, elaborate vacations and extravagant wardrobes. Most of us fall in the middle of those extremes—we aren’t living in environments where famine and war are day-to-day realities, but we’re also not the “62 richest billionaires who own as much wealth as the poorer half of the world’s population.”
Did you ever feel like you simply weren’t enough,
or think, “I’m doing the best I can, and it’s still not enough”,
or have someone say to you, “you will never be enough”,
or behave in a way that caused others to feel as if they weren’t enough?
I’ve questioned my “enoughness” plenty of times. In spite of caring a lot, loving a lot and trying to do my best, I’ve felt that “I’m simply not enough” from time to time. Then, I need to have the talk with myself that goes something like this: “ya know, Kay, you’re only human. You can’t be perfect. You can’t always fix everything. You can’t always be what someone else needs.” In spite of that self-talk, I sometimes still feel like I let people down. Then—in a moment of clarity—I realize that what’s most important is that I don’t let my spirit down; that I don’t let God down.
When you spend your life trying to live up to everyone else’s opinion of what’s enough, you don’t see yourself anymore. You become a robot only responding to the demands and needs of others—the robot that needs to get plugged back in, recharged and maybe even reprogrammed to recognize the needs of self; the automaton that needs to be human again. A risk of skating on the slippery slope of “not enough”, is that we can bottom out and end up in the world of self-sacrifice. Then, we create self-perpetuating habits that feed, rather than extinguish, our pain.
Often, we fill the holes left by not feeling as if we’re enough with stuff, but that doesn’t help, does it? More objects and clutter in our lives just adds to the feeling of overwhelmed because when we’re wading through physical stuff—used as “placeholders” for what we long for, it’s even harder to move through the feelings that are sapping us. We need to clear our space not only emotionally and mentally, but often physically too. Then, once we step back and identify what our personal enough looks like, we’re able to cut away the extraneous gobbledygook that’s keeping us from getting to our “enoughness”.
The children in my district go back to school today. Some of them will hit the ground running knowing that they’ll be reunited with friends and excel as they always have. Some of them will be frightened. Some of them will be worried that they aren’t going to fit in anywhere—be smart enough, cool enough, pretty enough, funny enough, outgoing enough. We’re just like them, aren’t we? Some of us “fit in” and have it easy. Some of us walk alone, and have real and significant challenges.
Food For Thought…
If you’re continually seeking enough, ask yourself this question:
“When will it—whatever that is for you—be enough?”
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours alone with my grandson. Ethan got in the hot tub (which was cooled down, of course) and I set a hose up over the top of it as a “sprinkling system”. I timed him as he held his breath under water, and watched his aquatic maneuvers. We talked about important things (school, family, changes) and we talked about everyday things (Aunt Erin’s tacos, video games, soccer). I took a photo of him “chilling out” and sent it to his Mom. The afternoon was simple, easy and real, and the connection between a wonderful nine-year-old boy and a grandmother who continually reaffirms, “you are my favorite little man who ever lived” was priceless. It is in these moments that I experience this ineffable peace and I know this is where I was meant to be, and it was more than enough.
Please remember that
just as you are,
you are amazing,
you are uniquely special
you have specific gifts and are talented—in many ways
you are at your core—the essence of who you are—joy-filled and peace-full
you are smart
you are creative
you are beautiful too
you are enough—you always have been, and you always will be.
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