Being enough

One of the most universal theme I see is the sense of needing to achieve something in order to be worthy.  It’s the sense of needing to get somewhere, receive some special award or have someone else’s approval before it’s possible for life to be okay.  It’s different for everyone, but the refrain goes like this: I need to…lose 10 pounds (or 20, or 40, or 100) and then I’ll be enough.  Get the book published, make partner, get whatever ranking on Klout, have a certain number of Facebook followers, get enough clients, get that shiny car I’ve dreamed of…and then I’ll be enough.

And we all know there’s a positive part of having a dream, goals, and passion for doing good work.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  It’s about when our worth as a human being is defined in terms of our ability to produce.

I can’t remember a time of my life I didn’t have some sort of target I had to reach in order to reach that elusive place where I could relax and enjoy.  Winning certain races, getting good grades, getting awards, recognition, whatever.  Each season of my life has had its own version of it.  When I finally can walk well, it’ll be enough.  I’ll be enough, and then I can relax and life will be wonderful.   When I reach my financial goals, it’s proof that I’m doing enough.

The biggest problem with that is that it’s not true.

Think about the last time you grabbed the shiny ring and you reached your “enough”.  Did you finally feel enough and stop wishing for more?  Maybe for a few days or a week, but it doesn’t seem to stick.

As I find myself grasping for my own “enoughs” , I’m again reminded of my desire to be enough.  Today.  Of giving myself permission to appreciate myself now, without qualifications.  Because when we keep running, we can’t embrace the present.

About 3 years ago, I thought I had leukemia and a few weeks to live.  I think that was one of the only times of my life I wasn’t running.  It was one time I was able to really let go of the sense of needing to accomplish something.  Death has a funny way of teaching us how to live. My only goal was to find a way to love and accept myself completely.  And of course, when that turned out to be a false alarm, I went back to forgetting what really matters.  (and to be fair, I was really overwhelmed and ill at the time, so no big judgments there)

Or, put more elegantly:

“You wander from room to room,

Hunting for the diamond necklace,

 That is already around your neck!”

 — Rumi

Because when we relax back, we’re usually where we need to be.

I don’t think it’s about banishing “not enough”, but moderating how much real estate it takes up in my mind and my life.  I know when I have a pervasive sense of not “enough” , it’s time to slow down and refocus on what I care about and what really matters.  The more I see it for what it is, the easier it is to shift it to the background.

What are your “enoughs?”  And what has helped you have the courage to set them aside and be beautiful just as you are?

And I do realize the irony of posting right before the Oscars, which is the epitome of people needing to be perfect to be enough…

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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4 Responses to Being enough

  1. I struggle with competitiveness and perfectionism daily (hourly?), but since having children I have learned to be a little more forgiving of myself… mostly for the benefit of young ears/eyes but also as a reminder to myself that I AM good enough!
    It is hard in our culture to just “be” and not constantly strive for more, better, thinner, prettier but learning about and incorporating the spiritual concept of “margin” (finding space between yourself and your limits) in my life has been extremely helpful when I hear the siren call of society!

  2. Jana,
    I love that your children inspire you to be a great role model!

  3. Vincent says:


    Thank you for writing this. This was so powerful for me today, in this very moment. And to think, I got here following links from a recipe for kale pesto 🙂

    I’ve struggled with my weight for years. I’ve gained 50 lbs in the last 5 years, and 20 of that was gained last year alone. I’m obsessed with getting rid of the spare tire around my middle. That’s my “enough” at the moment.

    Funny thing is I’m in the middle of recovering from a bout with pneumonia. Today as I walked to the farmer’s market to buy produce and nourish myself properly, I was ismply overcome. The beauty of the sun, the fresh ingredients I’d purchased (and started to nibble), the joy of being able to inhale deeply. It reminded me that God already loves me for who I am, despite my weight.

    Your musings served as confirmation of that fact. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  4. Hi Vincent,
    Perfect! Come for the pesto, stay for the commentary. Love it! And how beautiful that you were able to get such joy out of your farmer’s market bounty and the gift of breath.

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