Living with ‘enough’ and recognising ‘abundance’
I knew when choosing the word ‘enough’ as a guide for 2015, it was a word that would both help and challenge me. In order to really believe that ‘I am enough, do enough, am worthy enough, have enough’ I knew I would need to overcome some of my entrenched patterns and beliefs. And sometimes it’s not until the word or idea is out there that the barriers start to emerge. It’s certainly been true for me already, in two areas in particular. But at the same time, solutions are starting to appear as well. It’s amazing how sometimes this can happen!
So here’s my report so far, one week into trying to live with ‘enough’ at the forefront of my mind.
1. The challenges
Learning to say no is hard.
I am used to agreeing, or accepting, other people’s directions in so many areas of life even it inconveniences me or is not the way I think an issue should be tackled. I hadn’t realised how much I acquiesced, until I started to notice when I was feeling resentful. Shifting mindsets is hard, particularly as sometimes it’s not until I feel resentful that I realise I’ve agreed to a path that doesn’t feel right. And I find a lot of other emotions tangled up in saying ‘no’: guilt about being self centred, discomfort in disappointing others, the ever present ‘fear of missing out’ rearing its head.
Accepting I am ‘enough’ without the validation of others is hard.
For many reasons, I have grown up seeking validation of my actions. I am not a risk taker, I am used to confirming my actions with others, following other’s leads (see above), and also seeking approval after I’ve finished. To be satisfied without this validation is hard. I keep looking for, and trying to draw out, feedback and confirmation. But it feels a bit contrived and awkward. It doesn’t really work (please like me!).
So instead I try to be happy with the knowledge that some people (thanks family and friends) read this blog, for instance, even if not many comment. I know there are reasons for that – we’re not all comfortable to do so, for one thing. Also, I’ve now realised after a few months of blogging that some improvements can be made to the appearance and ease of accessing the site (and possibly the content too – see below).
However, I still like feedback (I’m focusing on the blog, because it’s a handy example to use right now, but it applies in other areas of life too). So it’s a bit of a bind.
2. Some insights
Conveniently, I read a couple of articles while I procrastinated on finishing this post and these articles were right on point (it is amazing how often this happens – lucky I wasn’t so prompt!)
The need to find personal satisfaction
The first article, from Becoming Minimalist, talks about the dangers, including over-dependency on others, that is a side effect of our ready access to technology, and therefore, many other people.
‘For the first time in history, the potential for relationship with others exists around us at every moment of every day… whether we are at work, in our homes, in our cars, in the grocery store, at our son’s baseball game, or on vacation at the beach’. As a result of ‘the opportunity ‘to be surrounded and validated by others is constantly present … the ability to find personal satisfaction diminishes. We lose the ability to find security in our heart and soul – because the rush feels so good when we receive it from others’. (see link).
Oh. Good point. Maybe I need to step away from the computer a bit more often.
Opportunities, ideas and love are not limited, but abundant
The second article, on the Momastery website, gave me the great image at the top of this page. It’s closely tied to the first issue of validation, but particularly the risks of comparisons with others. It is easy to forget your own goals, if you see others with bigger goals that they are achieving, or if they gain more recognition that you do. It can feel like there may not be enough left over for you – there is only so much to go around. And that, in most cases, is untrue (see link).
To be honest, sometimes the reason I seek reassurance or validation is because I am comparing myself to another standard – a standard I don’t think I can meet. But while I may not have the same external attributes as those I compare myself to possess, in other ways I might be stronger. More importantly, my self worth doesn’t come through having or being ‘more’ than others – we are all ‘enough’ as we are.
‘The amazing thing about love and attention and encouragement and grace and success and joy is that these things are infinite. We get a new supply every single morning and so we can give it away all day. We never, ever have to monitor the supply of others or grab or hoard. There will be more in the morning and it will be enough’. (Momastery)
3. So what now?
I have some changes I am going to progressively implement. I will try adding an additional post each week, drawing on interesting things I have read (things that make me go ‘ahh’). That is sustainable − I tend to share a lot I read already, but this will add to the offering on this site. Once my kids are back at school and I regain some hours in the week, I’ll work out how to make this blog page more user friendly, visually more appealing, and make my identity clearer (yes, it is me, Helen, writing this!). And I will also start working on the idea of marketing it (including seeking feedback on improvements I could make).
In other areas of life, I am also working out steps to improve towards goals that I would like to reach.
Along the way, I am collecting lessons and phrases to help keep me focused. So far, these include:
- I am, have, do enough – and am worthy enough
- I will continue to choose discomfort rather than resentment
- It is important to measure success against myself, rather than rely on others to validate me
- Opportunities, ideas and love are not limited, but abundant
- Don’t forget to remain flexible – life is not a race!
Not a bad starting list, don’t you think? How about you? How has your new year started?