The lie of 'enough'

I’ve found myself noticing that I tend to insert the word “enough” into a wide range of thoughts & spoken sentences, often in a critical way. So I started to ask myself… what does “enough” even mean? I know the technical definition - but what does it mean when I use it?

Through some reflection I’ve come to realize that “enough” thinking is perhaps more dangerous than I previously thought. It’s a limiting word… one used to justify unfounded thoughts or prevent vulnerability.

“My problems aren’t bad enough for therapy.”

“I’m not in-shape enough to wear that.”

“I’m not smart enough to apply for that.”

“I’m not really struggling enough to ask for help.”

But what is enough? How big would the problems we’re wrestling with need to be for us to go to therapy? How much would we need to be struggling to ask for help?  What is the standard we’re trying to reach? Look at the examples I just listed. These are all thoughts I’ve held at one point or another, and I’m sure you’ve had thoughts like these too. The strange thing is that I can’t actually think of what “enough” would be for any of these. That’s because “enough” is incalculable, yet it finds a way to creep into our desires.

It tiptoes into the realm of comparison. If my problems or beauty or intelligence aren’t enough, then someone else’s must be. But what does that matter? I am just right. I am where I need to be. You are too. And if you have a hunch that therapy might be a good idea, or you have a wish to wear a particular item of clothing, it probably means it’s worth going for!

So I’m choosing to stop measuring the immeasurable parts of my life.  I’m not eliminating the word from my vocabulary, but I’ll use “enough” with a little more discretion… I think it’s probably a good resolution for all of us.

Laura Cross