I ask this critical question because it is one that I have been processing as I try to heal my inner conflicts. Am I enough? It is a challenging question that I believe is at the core of many of our insecurities. We live in a very materialistic world today that drives us to want more.
There are a lot of areas in our world where we need more. We need more solutions to climate change, more renovated schools, and education systems, more quality food, and, most importantly, more happiness.
It’s a long list, and I am confident you get the idea. The reference to more I am making is that antagonizing voice in the back of your mind and in your gut that says who you are and what you have accomplished is not enough.
There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth, success, and fame. These are great goals to have and enjoy. But, in my experience and many people I observe, wanting more comes from an empty place inside that cannot be filled no matter how much money or success you accumulate. I think about some people who have amassed an incredible amount of money, but it is never enough. Getting more leads them to unhealthy levels of work and isolation. People fall into enormous debt, trying to achieve more. Another example is someone who must be the best at everything, and there aren’t enough trophies to fill that deep void. Their competitiveness can be overwhelming.
Sometimes we are driven to do more or get more to fill others’ expectations of us. It is easy to let their opinions shape how we feel about ourselves.
It starts early in life, and too often, we seed this false truth that follows us like our shadow on a hot summer’s sidewalk. As I take an in-depth look at my life, I realize that I too often have fallen victim to my shadow’s whisper that I am not enough.
Am I enough as a mother, as a daughter, as a wife, as a sister, or as a friend? Am I enough as a writer, as a teacher, or as a healer? After I completed my first novel, I felt a great sense of accomplishment for a little while. My friends and family enjoyed the story and were frankly amazed they knew someone who could do this. It took me three years to finish this novel, while I was taking care of a home and two young children and volunteering at church and school. Many times, I worked until two in the morning with a baby who would be up a few hours later. What an accomplishment! My high lasted a few good weeks, maybe a month, but then I began to feel doubt creep back about my achievement because it was just a manuscript and needed to be published. It wasn’t enough!
What a shame that I didn’t appreciate such a huge accomplishment! In a rush to be more, I self-published this first novel and did well locally selling them at my local bookstores. At my first book signing, I sold 114 copies. The thrill of this experience lasted a little while until that nagging feeling came back in again. Was it enough for me to be a small-town writer? What if that was all that would happen for me? Would people see me as a failure, because I did not make the best seller’s list?
Sure, we need the thirst for more to drive us forward, but, many times, I chose to overlook my accomplishments feeling they were never enough. With some, I didn’t make enough money. With others, I didn’t get enough accolades or credit for how hard I worked. Too often, I let the judgment of others cast a shadow on my accomplishments. I felt pulled in every direction and lost so many opportunities to savor life. Oh, what a loss of joyfulness! All because I thought I was not enough.
I finally discovered a precious gem of enlightenment, when life threw me enough curveballs to force me to pay attention. I stepped back and became the observer of my experiences.
Here’s the precious nugget of truth that I learned: The only person’s opinion that matters of whether you are enough is you!
There are many examples of people who have always lived a satisfying life, and now it is time for me to join them.
I AM ENOUGH! I can say that proudly now. After shedding years of tears and overlooking the best parts of me, I feel fulfilled. I am enough for me! It is enough for me to be the mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend, author, teacher, and healer that I am now and have been before. It is enough for me that I have tried my best every day to be the person I want to be and to have the life that I have. It is enough for me to be a budding author, even at 61. It is enough for me to make all the mistakes that I need to make to learn to be a better person. What I have today is enough. What I gain or lose tomorrow will be enough too. This revelation set me free.
For the first time in my life, I get it, and this changes everything. If I had a magic wand, I would go back and change the message that my shadow tells me and make sure it played like a broken record! This new message would be: “It doesn’t matter what your family or anybody else tells you. You are enough! Savor every moment, and don’t let anybody convince you otherwise!”
Here are some of the ways that life changes, once we embrace being enough:
- We learn to savor our experiences more.
- We have more patience to let things evolve naturally.
- We appreciate our challenges as much as our accomplishments.
- We discern better and trust our inner guidance more.
- We become more aware of when we are judging others.
- We laugh and celebrate life more.
- We love ourselves like we never have before.
If you have struggled with not being enough, I want you to know that I believe that you’re enough. Now is the time to fill that empty place with a new wise message of just how special you are. Are you ready to get on with a life where more isn’t needed to justify your existence, but to bring in the next experience of enough?
I invite you to join the I AM ENOUGH CLUB with me and discover you’ve always been more than enough!