Archive for August 2012

E is for Enough

August 26, 2012

E is for Enough

I had been working on this material for a number months and could not seem to get it quite right.  Then I was introduced to the Brene Brown giving two Ted Talks on Vulnerability and Shame – which I highly recommend – and I realized that I was being held hostage by some notion of “perfect”.  And if I couldn’t do this perfectly then I wasn’t going to expose myself.  Even now as I write I feel self-conscious and exposed and narcissistic.  In other words, vulnerable.

What are our experiences of enough?  What’s your first response if someone asks you, “Did you get enough? Do you have enough?”  One thought is that enough implies a limit, a settling, a compromise.  Do you have enough time, energy, sleep, money, sex?   Haven’t we all been taught to want, expect, and demand “more”?

Then there’s the always fun question: Am I enough? That one can easily activate my internal Greek Chorus of, “No, not really.”  And the list of areas and characteristics and action and in-actions that have been tried and found wanting is instantly available for reference.  My internal critic makes the Internet Cloud look like an amateur.

And, enough by what standards?  By whose criterion? Parents? Teachers? Priests, Preachers, and Rabbis?  God? The right group in school?  I’ve observed over the years that there is a stated or implied guideline/rule for every human action and inaction.  A deeply imbedded – notice I didn’t say inherent – sense of what is right or correct.  In other words there’s always a standard that I’m failing to meet or live up to.  Basically we’re up against endless variations and permutations of perfect.  As far as I can tell it goes like this in one form or another: “If you/I could only do/not-do X, Y, Z then… we’d be OK/perfect.”  I’m pretty sure the game is rigged and not in our favor.  So, why do we keep playing?  My theory on this is that we have a secret belief that maybe we can actually pull it off and beat the system.  If we just worked a little harder, were a little more courageous and creative we could pull it off.

So let’s separate perfect from enough and see what happens. When is the last time you had an experience of enough?   It comes up around any of our rituals of giving and receiving as on birthdays or Christmas. The overwhelming obligation to figure out what to get people.  The anticipation as people open the gift we have given them hoping that their faces will tell us we did it right.  What is it we’re hoping to experience on either side of these rituals of giving and receiving?  What “click” are we hoping to hear or see that makes the world ok – for the moment at least.  Is it enough? Or, was more wanted, expected, demanded?  In the face of all this the idea of enough just doesn’t seem to cut it.  Enough seems like settling.  We often end up pretending we really were dying for the socks and underwear when deep down we wanted…What?  And the real killer is that even when we do get “the thing” we wanted we soon want more.

Here are some things I know about enough:

Enough is not settling, it is completion.

Enough is affirmative rather than defensive.

Enough is often not fancy.

The war of perfection is over – we won.

Enough is what is.

There’s a relatedness/balance/click to the “enough” that knows.

Enough brings a smile, a release of tension, a harmony.

Enough, unlike perfection, is available.

This post isn’t perfect, but it will have to be enough.