He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough.
There are two ways in which we can use the word „enough“.
In one way, we use it when we are fed up with or tired of something or somebody. That is the kind of “enough” that I think of in connection with Trumpism, Corona or after having stuffed myself with too many mince pies at Christmas.
This is not the kind of „enough“ that I want to write about.
I want to focus on the other side of the coin, where „enough“ refers to sufficiency and fulfilment.
We live in a culture that incessantly strives for improvement and perfection. For example, this is particularly evident in the smart phone market, where gadgets are updated on an annual level, with an increase in performance, speed, storage volume and so on.
My phone is not the most advanced or expensive one on the market, but it lives up to its purpose and allows me to do everything I want. In other words, it is enough for me.
This kind of enough serves, in the words of Paul Jarvis, as “an antithesis of unchecked growth”. I too am a victim of consumerism and excess culture. But the first Corona lockdown during spring made me reconsider. Some time during April I noticed that I did not miss shopping for clothes, cosmetics or other comfort purchases - at all. I realized that more of these things were not important - because I had already enough to live a comfortable life, well clothed and well fed. During lockdown, my true values became apparent. What I really needed was being able to breathe fresh air, go out for walks and connect with nature, keep in touch with loved ones as best as I could, and being able to learn and teach myself about a variety of things in relation to my business.
In short, I was able to reach out and stretch in certain areas because I was blessed to have enough of the basics: everything necessary to satisfy my physical needs, a nice home and a great partner at my side. Enough was enough in a positive sense - and that awareness turned into an overall feeling of content and being ok with my current situation, despite worries around work and the pandemic and the little everyday hassles that form part of everybody’s day.
With the realization that I have enough to satisfy my needs came another revelation: I can experience this feeling of “having enough” because deep down inside me, I know that I am enough.
If I am enough, then I don’t have to strive for being somebody else, or another version of myself. I can concentrate my energy and efforts on other important matters. If I am at ease with myself, respect myself and possess a decent amount of self confidence, that means that I am good as I am, without the glamour and excess and added credentials.
Wonderful - that means that I do not need to be a perfectionist any more. I am enough and I am ok, with all my faults and my flaws.
But wait a minute - does that mean that I can now lean back and become a couch potatoe?
I don’t think that this is what “being enough” is about. It’s not about inner withdrawal or laziness. It’s rather about knowing that there is no need to pursue money, fame or status in order to prove my worthiness to the world. Rather, I am free to pursue any of these things in order to reach goals on a larger scale: support others, help communities thrive, contribute to environmental causes. The list goes on.
With having and being enough, I do not need to worry about gaining more and I can relax. This sentiment takes away a lot of stress. As a consequence, I can experience joy and gratitude more deeply and feel it boosting my happiness.
Knowing all of that, with the Corona experience as a catalyst, what is the consequence of this insight of being and having enough? It would be easy to go back to the old ways when Corona is over and just return to my old consumer habits, and slip back into the familiar hamster wheel.
Alternatively, I can choose the state of “enough” as a way of life and a mindset. Taking this decision consciously, I become more aware of all the excess baggage I carry around in life and work. All the useless things and tchotchkes, pointless relationships and damaging (self-) beliefs. I can start to declutter in order to reach that wonderful state of enough, liberated of excess and harmful weight. I can use my time, money and energy on the truly important things in my life: spending precious time with friends, reaching out to new acquaintances, continue learning and developing, and bring my business to the next level.
What does “enough is enough” mean to you?
Photo: Anke Berning