I have a tattoo that you don’t know about.
It is on the bottom of my foot, so you only see it if I am barefooted and have my feet up with the soles facing you.
But I sit barefooted with my legs crossed often, so it’s often visible to me, an important reminder:
Simple word. Weird spelling. We use it in mostly negative or neutral ways. It’s hardly ever a positive thing when we breath it.
“I wasn’t driving slow enough.”
“I didn’t realize soon enough.”
“I didn’t tell her I loved her enough.”
“I’m not thin enough.”
“I’m not healthy enough.”
“I don’t have enough money.”
Often we use it in ways that connote that there could be more, but we’ll settle for this.
“I guess that’s good enough,” When we just want to be done.
“No, that’s fine, that’s enough,” when we’re conceding half-heartedly, like a bartering salesman over some agreement.
Or maybe you heard it a lot as a child when your mother/babysitter/teacher was so annoyed she couldn’t take another minute of your playing/fighting/arguing/crying: “Enough!” they would yell.
But the word, it’s real meaning, lends itself to the idea of being content. Which is not a thing we’re taught to want or seek. To just have enough sounds like settling, like you’re too lazy to go for more. Too apathetic to get the things ambition could earn you.
And it causes this “not enough” complex in us. Come time for New Year’s resolutions, they take that tone, too. I’m not skinny enough – so I will work out more. I’m not healthy enough, so I’ll eat better. I don’t read enough – I’ll read more. I don’t have enough money — I will save more. My life isn’t exciting enough – I will travel more.
But too often at the root of all of those thoughts and great goals is an ugly belief that I think the majority of us have learned to hold close to the chest, like a security blanket that chokes out the light of possible contentment — I am not enough.
Not good enough, thin enough, pretty enough, fast enough, strong enough, rich enough, powerful enough, friendly enough, sexy enough, funny enough, spiritual enough, important enough.
We have the gluttonous mentality that always wants “more.” There’s always some way we could and should have more or be more. Which in all honesty, is true. There’s a world out there, and it could be your oyster. But what I’m finding is that the people I know who are happy are content. The people that I know who are successful are ambitious.
But the people who are both successful and happy — those people have learned something that doesn’t seem to come naturally: How to be content with what you have, yet still imagine that more might be attainable. It’s not the same relentless, never-ending drive that compels them. It’s curiosity, determination, true drive, not need.
The desire to better themselves is not based in a need to do so to feel valuable. It’s not because they’re not “enough” already. It’s the ambition that says “I could do even more,” not, “I have to do more.”
So if no one has ever told you let me do so now: You are enough.
The very fact that you’re alive and being, that means you’re enough. If you have goals to be more ______, by all means go for them! The problem is, many of us chase those goals out of a desire to feel more valuable as a human being at the end of the day, and that will always leave us dissatisfied.
When you start to finally forgive yourself for the ways you’ve claimed you’ve fallen short, and you start to believe that you are enough just as you are, you can begin to find contentment. It’s one of the most elusive currencies in our society. Contentment can drive you to want to better yourself without feeling like you’re not enough as you are.
Being content starts with accepting yourself, and being more than OK with what you have. I’m on a journey to strip the stigma from the word in my life.
It sits there on the arch of my foot as a reminder: I am enough. You are enough. You are valuable, beautiful, loved. It says we’re valuable, just because we are.
Jo O’Hanlon is an adventurer and storyteller. She tries to be honest about the ugly and hard parts of life, and the beautiful parts too. This blog is one of the places she shares her thoughts and stories.
Other places are
instagram: @jrolicious twitter: @jrohanlon