The Joy of Enough

Photo by Robert Collins on Unsplash

Enough. I love that word.  Growing up I lived in a constant state of lack. I didn't feel different, though. Most of the people around me were of average or below means.  I fit in with my social group. Didn't most people have one pair of shoes and get one present at Christmas? Didn't most families have holidays where they camped or visited relatives?

I viewed my life as normal which was a good thing.  However, underneath a seed was planted and nourished.  It was the seed of scarcity and lack.  It was wrapped in the ideas that my life would be like my parent's life, money would always be an issue, and success wasn't in the cards. As it grew, this invasive plant was adorned with a new platitude.  It was selfish to want to have a lot of money. Good people didn't have great financial success. The best people spent their life in service, of course served with a side of lack. 

After leaving home at a fairly young age, I worked in low paying jobs. They felt right.  No one had ignited a fire for me or showed me how to fan the flames of hope. There was no passion building or dream calling me.  I never imagined myself travelling the world or owning a beautiful home.  I had no idea how to budget or to help money grow.  Financial security was a pipe dream.

I was very lucky to find a partner who had more understanding of the financial world.  We certainly had little for many years, but there was always an end goal in our sights. I remember looking around at all the couples we knew who were way ahead of us. Their houses were nicer, renovations were done regularly, holidays were fancier, and the whole family skied in the winter. I was jealous and yearned for money to be less challenging, but we stuck to our game plan.

The day finally came where our financial goals began to be realized.  Our house was paid off. The kids moved ou, so we had less expenses. We no longer had to balance the checkbook every day.  Nirvana.  Maybe we still weren't quite living the lifestyle of our peers, but we could relax. It was over the next few years that I came to fall in love with the word enough

It started with a book titled I Am Enough. The journey continued as the universe regularly dropped the idea in my lap again and again. It was like a pebble dropped in a pond creating ripples. Each time it appeared I reacted physically, and I found the word strangely comforting. What I didn't do was pick it up and try to figure out why it kept appearing in my life - until the day I did. I don't remember what the final trigger was that opened my eyes, I simply remember it was a life changing moment. 

There is a line in a Brene Brown book I read the other day that again triggered my thoughts on the concept of enough again. It resonates with how I have come to feel about the the idea of being content.  "The opposite of never enough isn't abundance...The opposite of scarcity is enough." Take a breath and read that again. Then let it sink in deep.  Inhale and repeat the word enough as you exhale.  

The concept we usually hold out as a goal is abundance. It's a great word to embrace. The best definition I read for it abundance is, "to have more than you need."  Experiencing abundance means your cup is not only full, but overflowing with extra you can pass on to others.  The definition of enough I love is ”...sufficient, in a quantity or degree that answers a purpose or satisfies a need or desire.” What a gift. Having enough means all my needs and desires. Enough walks hand in hand with contentment and satisfaction

If you're feeling a weird discontent as you read this, you are not alone. We are taught in our culture being content is a negative emotion. Feeling we have enough will keep us stagnant, never moving from this place. We will stop reaching for the stars.  Not true. I am not limited by having enough, I am comforted by being in this space. 

Even while embracing the truth of being in this place of contentment, I still have dreams and goals I am reaching for. My wings are spread wide ready help me soar. The difference is my dreams are not driven by a state of need - more money, more fame, more achievement - or the pressure of survival.  I am lead forward simply by my passion and my desire to fulfill it. 

My greatest hope for all I know is that they find their life filled with all they need. I hope having enough comforts them, and that they allow themselves to sink into it fully. I hope they experience gratitude for the life they live. And while enjoying this place of enough, I hope they are also filled a deep passion to reach for the future and all it offers.