Enough happiness. Enough friends. Enough love. Enough Instagram followers. Enough money. Enough roast potatoes. Enough bedrooms in a house. Enough late night purchases from ASOS. And is our pursuit for, ‘enough’ a never ending one?
It’s something I’ve been mulling over for a long time, the concept of ‘enough’.
Ever since I read Sophie Cliff’s brilliant blog post (that you must read and then absorb all of her brilliant content) where she shared this quote:
“It’s about recognising what enough is for you, in your truest state, and then just choosing not to take more than that.”Nicole Antoinette on her podcast, Real Talk Radio
I’ve been thinking about what ‘enough’ is, and why I’ve always pursued taking more than that.
Like Sophie, I’ve grown up with a total scarcity mindset.
My parents were not wealthy. Sure we had a roof over our heads, enough Birds Eye products to fill an ASDA food aisle and clothes on our backs, but both of our parents came from scarcity.
My father never had enough love. Therefore he could never give ‘enough’.
My mother grew up in a poor, South West London, working class, Catholic family that rarely had ‘enough’ money to feed themselves.
Growing up, my Dad pursued more validation through work, status and image and my Mum pursued wealth.
She played bingo a few times a week because one win was never enough.
And that’s what has been bred in me. My parent’s relationship was not one that was filled with love. They didn’t have enough of it to share between them, although my Mum had plenty of it to give to us.
So I have no models of ‘enough’. I only have the mindset of, ‘settling’.
And because of that, I’ve always lived in a dream world.
Where school friends wanted a good job, a nice house and friends to go out with every weekend – I spent my time in my bedroom practising my Oscar’s acceptance speech or the reaction I’d have when I’d won the lottery.
I spent most of my twenties, falling asleep by forcing myself to dream of a lottery win to bring more money, a knight in shining armour to take me away from my shitty relationship and bring me more love, a new job to pop up to give me more satisfaction or a post to go viral to send me more followers.
It’s weird, and something I’ve spoken about with my therapist, but before meeting Ben, I couldn’t ever imagine a happy future. Probably because I’ve never had a good model of one. I genuinely thought getting married, having a nice house, a lovely family and enough money to live on was ‘settling’ and that I’d rather die lonely, homeless and poor if it meant that I could spend my life striving, grinding and dreaming.
Except what I was striving and grinding for was an untameable beast. As soon as I thought I’d captured it, a bigger beast was hiding in the shadows.
I was happy(ish) teaching, but I knew I would be happier blogging full time. Now I’m blogging full time, I want to create a business, reach others, host conferences, help bloggers – and I’m sure once I’ve reached those goals, there’ll be more. I’ll want to pull an MJ and accept an Artist Of The Millennium Award even if it’s not a thing.
I’m extremely happy with Ben, in our stuffy 1 bed flat in South London where the neighbours play shit music and we’re often without hot water – but won’t I be happier out in the country, in a 5 bed mansion with an indoor gym (that I’d never bloody use) and a cinema room.
So I dream. I dream of making a better life. I dream of achieving MORE. And then comes the fatigue.
Because what happens when you’re not in that dream world anymore? When that way of coping and escapism from the shitty job, shitty love, shitty debts and shitty life doesn’t work anymore?
My Mum taught me that the world is my oyster and the sky is my limit – I suppose then, I took that to mean there are no limits.
And I confused that ‘growth mindset’ with seeing my parents unhappiness and conflating it with ‘settling’ so much so that I developed a fear of ‘enough’.
So how do you balance the fear of settling with welcoming gratitude and appreciating, ‘enough’?
Not going to lie, it terrifies me.
I never want to waste my life or have regrets. I want to get to the end of my life knowing that I achieved every dream I ever set out to dream. But what happens when you achieve a dream and a bigger one takes it’s place?
This is the world we live in.
We dream of our first big salary and then we strive for a promotion.
We spend hours on Rightmove mentally decorating the perfect 1 bedroom apartment and then we immediately desire a 5 bedroom house with swimming pool (and dedicated Diet Coke fridge).
We grind out Instagram posts and engagement until we reach the magic 10k followers and then even 30k doesn’t seem enough. Or 50, 100, 500.
We revamp our wardrobes to make us feel more together and fashionable and then we spend the next few hours browsing Other Stories trying to fill it again.
We’re constantly chasing holes to fill and when those holes fill, we create new ones. The beast is back. It isn’t sustainable. And it isn’t happiness.
Sophie nailed it on the head when she said:
Often, we push for more because we feel like we aren’t already enough. We strive towards those external symbols of success to prove that we’re worthy, to prove that we’re special. But realising you’re enough, realising that you’re already worthy and special and unique exactly as you are right now? That’s internal work. There’s no job title or postcode or Instagrammable holiday that will make you feel good enough if you don’t already believe it deep down inside. Believing that you are already enough is the first step on this path to recognising what is enough for you.
And this is definitely something I’m doing the internal work on.
When you experience cripplingly low self-esteem, you honestly believe that the next hair cut, dress, compliment, award or whatever, will be ‘enough’ to make you feel like enough. But it never is.
So how do you choose a path of ‘enough’ when your upbringing has taught you it’s a negative thing – a dream-quasher? How do you identify what ‘enough’ is, if it’s not something you feel inside?
I don’t have the answer right now. Because right now, inside, I don’t feel like I’m ‘enough’. But I’m going to work on it. I’m going to discover what my ‘enough’ is and then I’m never going to take more than it.
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