We Are Enough Just As We Are

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough. ~William Blake
 

Have you ever been told “you are more than that”? What exactly is that supposed to mean? Is it a compliment that means your abilities are unlimited? Or is it a criticism that you are not living up to your potential? Are you not enough just as you are?

“You are more than that.” Does it mean that you have stooped to a level lower than the person saying it considers you to be. They obviously expect more from you.

“You are more than that.” I think it’s been a long time since someone has actually said those words to me. I read them last week in a book and then ran across them again in an article I was reading. Crossing paths with those words twice within a couple of days made me ponder if I really am enough. It also made me wonder if I’ve ever spoken those words to someone else and how it made them feel if I did.

Do people use this line because we as humans set standards upon those we care about? Is it our right to define the guidelines of success for them? Other than moral issues, must they be expected to measure to any standards other than their own? I realize this set of questions will raise the ire of parents, as they think they have the right to dictate the path their grown children trod upon. As parents, we always think we know what is best. And very possibly, we do…but sometimes we have to watch people we love make mistakes. We don’t want our children to be underachievers, but we also don’t want them to live a life of unhappiness because they followed a path someone else chose for them. We don’t want to watch them squander their talents either. But are we entitled to make them pursue goals that cause them distress or that does not bring them fulfillment?

Why do people think it is our duty to nurture talent even if it is not what makes one happy? Do we owe it to others? Do we owe it to ourselves? If a simple unadorned life brings peace and happiness, isn’t that enough? Is the car we drive, the house we live in, or the clothes we wear really that important to our overall happiness? Whose right is it to define another’s success?

And better yet, how do we really know we have a talent and that it is not just an over inflated ego? Seriously, I know of people who think they excel at certain things, and I don’t think they’re that good at it. Is that just my opinion? Or is it their passion for the thing that makes them feel superior at it? And more so does it really matter whether or not we’re good at something if it brings us pleasure?

We spend large chunks of our lives trying to seek approval of others, to prove ourselves worthy. But worthy of what? Of other people’s standards of our own lives? We’re afraid of disappointing them, of becoming a failure by society’s principles.

Some of us are dream chasers. The problem is the more we get, the more we want. And some don’t desire material things or any sort of status at all. Is one right and the other wrong?

I have not cured cancer or invented some famous contraption. I have not written a best seller. I do not have a work of art hanging in any museum. You won’t find my photo or name gracing the pages of celebrity or society news. I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. I sing off tune and I look funny when I dance. ( …but boy does it feel good as long as no one else is looking!) I haven’t achieved any major goals…well, I don’t think I’ve ever really made any. Ok, I take that back – yesterday, my goal was to eat every last Hershey kiss in the house, and I was successful…so, now are you impressed?! My point is that I can look myself in the mirror (even after all that chocolate!) and feel good about most of the choices I make in life. I still second guess myself at times, but most of us do. So, the question “Am I enough?“ remains. And here is my answer: Just as I am from the inside out, deep down I think I am enough. And I think you are enough, too. I hope you think you are as well.


46 thoughts on “We Are Enough Just As We Are

  1. Susan…you are more than you think you are…and you have always been that way…that phrase can mean so many different things to as many different people…sometimes it is meant to challenge…sometimes it shows our disappointment… you have raised some good questions most of which cannot be concretely answered…and you haven’t achieved any ‘major goals’ …well what the heck constitutes ‘major’? raising children? being successfully employed? being married half your life? you my dear are more than that simply because you HAVE achieved many major goals! keep making those major achievements with your challenges to us to answer just these kinds of questions!!!

  2. another thought-provoking post from you! during times where i was in search of just who Karal was, i often heard, “you are more than that” from one particular friend, and it never bothered me. she knew me well and she knew that i was not living the kind of life that made ME happy, and she used the phrase as a sort of encouragement instead of admonishment. it helped to lead me out of the fear. i listened to other people when they told me my photos were good, that my writing was worthwhile, because i couldn’t see that for myself. slowly, i began to feel that too, and now, i follow my creative passions because they inspire me, and not because my ego leads the way. of course there are times when i am anxious to sell a print and eager to hear “I LOVE THAT!” from someone besides myself, but it is within my own quiet soul that i’ve learned to put that aside and listen to what is enough for me. i know my value, i have my values, and i put me first ~ because a happy me is the only me that can do anyone else any good. my choices and my life may seem crazy to some, but i really, at this stage, couldn’t give a rat’s ass what anyone else thinks. i’ve lived with the bad crazy long enough, trying to conform. i’m now living the good crazy, and that, is more than good enough. i say, expand the crazy!

  3. It’s a phrase I’ve heard and I think it was meant in a complimentary way. The things I’m good at, and that give me pleasure are somewhat personal. They don’t need approval from anyone but myself. My kids are grown and have been encouraged to follow their own paths. They have both done so with marvelous success. It’s not my success, it’s theirs. Nice thought provoking post, Suzicate!

  4. I think ( I know dangerous) that we all spend way to much time thinking about what others think. I know I do. When your head hits the pillow at night the only person you have to be happy with is you.

  5. This is a terrific post, Suz.

    What I heard growing up, “You are better than that.”
    Or “You don’t mean that.”

    Instead of accepting me at face value, others tried to superimpose their opinion of me over my “truth” so that I would live up to their potential for me.

    Parents do it because they want what’s “best” for their kids . . . but also because their own egos feel good when their children are “successful.”

    To me, there is only one way to be successful in life. It has nothing to do with living up to our potential, or applying our talents, or amassing wealth.

    If we are HAPPY, we are successful.
    If we are not HAPPY, then all the accolades in the world will not make us a success.

    Thanks, Suzi.

  6. It took me a long time to kow that I am exactly who I am and I am proud of that. I am who I am today because of everytime perhaps I wasn’t enough. Or at least thought so, but that wasn’t truly true.

    Am I ‘enough’? For me, yes. And if anyone else doesn’t agree…well, I’m sure they meant that in kindness (at least they better have!) but the door is right over there. Thank you very much.

    I was brought up a pleaser. So I always tried to do what others wanted of me. Enter high school I became rebellious in a way and did what I wanted. Enter college and I balked at being one in the mold. I like thinking outside the box, always have. But I am enough. As you are enough. And they are enough.

    We only have to accept that. And then life is grand…

    Exceptional post as always!

    • I’ve found that growing up as a pleaser makes it difficult as an adult to take care of yourself instead of doing what we think others want and expect from us…a learning process for me. Nancy, you are enough just as you are!

  7. I think we all grapple with that feeling of being ‘enough.’ We are taught from a young age that we are only ‘enough’ if we live up to certain social expectations instead of being honoured for the gift that we are. To the heck with those expectations…we all need to claim our ‘enoughness’ and revel in it.

  8. Here are my thoughts.
    We are who we are and that should be enough.
    Who i am happens to be about my work, it’s why creating dominates my life.
    But i understand we are all different, besides if i spent all my time encouraging (trying to control) other people talents i’d never be able to work at developing my own.
    Noone has the right to tell someone else whether they are not achieving their potential. If (for example)watching TV makes someone happy then why not.
    A lot of famous people depend on such fans anyway. lol

  9. If we are happy, with who we are, then we are enough. Of course, one would then have to define “happy”. I think as we grow older, change, evolve we are continuously reaching for something else that is a little further up the road. It’s our nature.

    Great post.

    Velva

  10. Every time I hear those words, it usually means “I’m dissapointed in you. You think too low of yourself. You did something that I disapprove of.”

    Recently, someone asked me….If 100 people were selected at random, how many do you think would be leading a more satisfying life than you? I thought about that for a long while. I hate comparison, and how could I possibly judge other peeople’s satifcation with their own lives? I never answered the question. Could you?

    • No, I couldn’t. I’ve spent too much time in my past in judgment of others, and I admit I still do it at times though it is something I dislike about myself. I usually realize after the thoughts have crossed my mind…

  11. I spent the better part of my youth seeking approval because I was different than most of the kids I knew. I never fit in to any one particular group. I wanted to blend in like everyone else. I wanted to BE like everyone else.

    It’s took me years and years to finally understand that I am exactly as I should be, and that the only approval that matters is how I approve of myself.

    I also realize that I don’t need to be searching for my life to be more than what it is….right this moment. I realize I have everything I need.

    Yes, I am enough.

    And so are YOU, dear lady!

    Thank you for sharing this post. It’s faaaaaaaaabulous!

    X

    X

    • I think we spend the first thirty years trying to fit in and be like everyone else, then we spend the remainder of our lives trying to be different and learning to embrace who we are. Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Ron.

    • And so are you, Cindy! If I could just learn what wine goes with what dish and how to whip something up at a moments notice, then I really might be an inspiration!

  12. I’ve been struggling lately with this very thing. Seems I have just enough talent at different things to be noticed, but not enough to really excel. Then…I consider…..maybe, it just comes down to self-esteem. Great post and take on it. 🙂

    • It’s exhausting to try to do everything. I’m content at piddling through life rather than excelling at one particular thing, besides I’d never be able to decide which one thing I enjoyed most!

  13. I liked what you said about talent. Sometimes talent is to be enjoyed only by the owner of that talent. I hated being pressured to play piano for company when I was a kid. Once I was an adult, I never played for another person except myself. It was a form of therapy to me.

    There are many people who believe they are super-talented and aren’t. They usually end up at the American Idol tryouts with their overly doting parents. 😉

  14. It does not matter what anyone else thinks … it is all about what you believe about yourself, what you are happy and satisfied with. You have to live with “all of you”, every day … In my opinion, if you are not satisfied, you will seek to be more .. if you are satisfied, you won’t seek more, you will seek to be the best of what you already are.
    You gave us a list of what you have not been, but I can tell from all of your words that your list of what you have done is much, much larger. Most of the time the things we think “are nothing” or “very small” are really HUGE to the people around us. Your thoughts and words make me think and process … and that is huge to me.
    thanks.

    • Ha, remember that basket you brought over? It was amost filled! It was a terrible job, but somebody had to do it to protect the rest of the household…Wylie volunteered, but chocolate is even worse for her than me!

  15. Crislynd will be 9 this next Christmas Day She is my granddaughter. She is more than that. I was a teacher for 34 years. I was more than that. There are 24 hours in a day, but there are more than that.

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