We’re never enough — never balanced enough, rich enough, thin enough, healthy enough, successful enough, even happy enough…or so our culture would lead us to believe. It’s a perpetual state of lack and “less than” that motivates many of us to work harder, strive further, and dream bigger. Perhaps we need to reevaluate our definition of success altogether. Do we strive for success or fulfillment, and are they mutually exclusive or is there a balance to be struck between the two?
“Enoughness,” the state of being content with who you are and where you are, is the foundation on which we experience joy and true fulfillment. Enoughness allows us to honor who we are, the people we’ve become, the achievements we’ve obtained, the impact we’ve created – to be content in this very moment. Without enoughness, it’s difficult to experience fulfilling success because not-enoughness tells you that you always need more and that the status quo simply isn’t sufficient.
Our culture throws around phrases such as good enough is never enough, perpetuating these themes. This leads many of us to perpetually spin our wheels, seeking out the extraordinary in order to experience joy, always going after bigger, better, and more, never allowing ourselves to be satisfied in the here and now. Where is this insatiable desire leading us?
Research suggests that joy doesn’t live in the extraordinary or at some destination on the distant horizon. It exists in the present moment, the now.
It thrives on a foundation of gratitude. Big dreams may in fact equate to big distractions if not balanced with our intuitive selves. Are we missing the mark?
Not-enoughness keeps us striving for more than what we already have and to become more than what we currently are. It is within these moments that we discredit ourselves, which is the opposite of gratitude and self-acceptance. And where there is no gratitude or self-acceptance, there is often very little joy.
Further still, feelings of not-enoughness are usually coupled with self-defeating thoughts such as I should be doing better than I am now, I should be further along on my career path, or I should have more money in the bank. This so-called ideology could be paired with ideas that we need to get ahead, be perfect, win people over, have fame and success like so-and-so, and be the best in order to be enough. Not only are these unrealistic and unattainable ideals, they also wreak havoc on the soul, surpressing the authentic voice from within that simply wants to be sufficient as it is, right where it is.
The journey toward enoughness is learning how to take care of your soul.
It’s learning to lean into the fear and scarcity that you’re not enough and offer compassion instead. It’s having the courage to embrace your imperfections and allowing yourself to be enough in light of them. Enoughness fills in the holes that carry some of our deepest wounds.
Learning to cultivate enoughness means going inward to heal, to flip old messages and life experiences that once made you feel you had to change yourself in order to be loved and to belong. Enoughness requires you to be extremely vulnerable with your insecurities to uncover these raw emotions. Instead of trying to stuff them away like so many of us do, it’s about figuring out how to hold space for them so they can receive the love they so desperately need and to uncover the gifts they hold for us.
It is a process of courage combined with a willingness to examine the way you see the world and cultivate deeper authenticity. It often means pulling away from what mainstream culture and media messages suggest about success, happiness, and fulfillment. It most definitely requires you to follow your own path, heed your own desires, and decide for yourself what contentedness, success, and fulfillment mean for you.
There’s extraordinary pressure in our society to be successful, but there’s no race to the finish line to attain great happiness. We live in a world that’s money driven, power driven, fear driven, and appearance driven. So many of us try to live up to the standards of what we think the world wants us to become rather than settling in and embracing who we already are.
Enoughness will always be just out of reach if we allow outside ideals to dictate our worth.
It cannot survive among other people’s expectations. It can only thrive from a place of inner validation.
It takes courage to self-examine. It takes courage to reroute and reinvent the conventions of mainstream ideology. It takes courage to be compassionate with one’s self. But it is on this path where your soul will soar free, free to be all it was intended to be. No, it may not feel like the path of least resistance at first; however, it will be worth it. Freedom always is.