Why you need to define ‘enough!’ (and 3 ways to awaken from the trance of ‘not-enough’)

It was 3 years ago I began writing my current book. Here I am 3 years later, still plucking away trying to tidy it up and make sure all my sentences are strong, slightly playful, and everything makes perfect sense.

It feels like the narrative of my life up until now upon honest reflection. My incessant trying to make sure I have just a little more of an understanding of where I’m going, just a little better at this before I apply for what I really want. Always just a little more, before I can rest comfortably with myself.

In my talking to others on this topic, I get the sense I’m not alone in this?

With infinite scrolling, a warped perception of ‘happiness,’ advertisements selling us holes in our proverbial walls seducing us to buy gap-filler and islands being built from our consumptive remains; when do we come to realise and rest in the ever-present ‘enough?’ 

Let’s explore how this plays out in our lives and society at large, and 3 ways to begin to awaken from the trance of not-enough.

Firstly, let’s clear this up. We are exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually because the pace of this system we’re in and contributing to is for machines, not a tender, sensitive, divine human being. Our culture, until now has been built on lack. We are already enough, as we are, here. Rest up.

Oh but it’s so hard, I know. The pace of our environment, the familiarity with how it’s always been (since we entered this world), the expectations placed on us and, of course, the expectations we place on ourselves.

There, of course, are many-fold impacts of this thinking that extend well beyond our individual human lives. We just have to look at the rate of forest degradation, landfill overspill and dare I say, population inflation.

Defining and designing around ‘enough,’ seems that it would bring a much needed shift in thinking and the consciousness that is quite obviously causing havoc on many levels. 

Here are 3 ways you can start to shift from not-enough, to enough. 

Define ‘Enough’ For You

It’s not our doing, nor is it our fault – we are products of our environment – that we gauge the growth, success or fulfillment of our lives using external and extrinsic variables. So we can hold ourselves lightly for this, and also of course you’re reading this and know that you can choose a new narrative.

Usually, as Jung would shout, unless we consciously build our own network of beliefs and thinking, we will fall into subscribing to the collective unconscious – in this case, that measuring ’things’ and the external is how we gauge ‘enough.’ Furthermore, I’m not sure we’ve actually stipulated specifically how much financial growth or material possession is enough, so that would be an interesting start. Imagine if new companies had to define what enough growth looked like?

This process of defining enough for you can take many forms. Here are 2 suggestions:

  1. Define your guiding values and virtues. How do you gauge ‘enough’ and fulfillment internally, within yourself? We spend much of our energy and lives chasing and attaching to what is not here. To goals, dreams and ambitions that are inspiring and will be great, when. So bring it in, close to home, to what you can experience now.

    What are your Core Desired Feelings as Danielle LaPorte explains? There are also many online Values-Finder tests, many of them very similar, and all are just a tool to start to understand this for yourself more deeply. So have a Google. Most importantly keep this question alive in you as you navigate the next day or two, then reflect.

    This is a process of de-colonising your narrative around ’success’ and growth, and building your own inner-compass. By defining these core values, can you more precisely navigate the impulses and expectations that come your way?

  2. Literally define all the ’things’ you really need. Bring some Marie-Kondo to your life. Make a list of everything you ‘have’ in your home, office or even, life! Take inventory on one column. On another column, use a ‘+’ if it brings energy, ‘-‘ if it zaps energy, ‘=‘ if it is neutral. Then make some decisions!

Let us practice frugality, even if we may be ashamed of it. Let’s call into question that which we really need, to adjust our style and way of living not to the story we are told, but to our own, found in reflection.

Design Around ‘Enough’

Once you have some clarity on your sense of ‘enough’ internally and externally, then you need to put some structures and systems in place that make it a reality. Otherwise, we get vacuumed back into the default-mode – running around chasing un-examined and un-fulfilling desires.

Some things you might consider:
  • When will you cut-off from work-related tasks and thinking for the day? Give yourself more time and you will always find things to do. So by setting a cut-off time for your, you force yourself to focus on what matters most, and protect time to focus on other life-giving and restoring activities.

  • Decide on the activities that you might do that rejuvenate or restore you the most. Maybe it’s cycling, dancing, being in nature, reading. What are those 2-3 things for you? Where in your week can you schedule them in, and protect them with your boundaries.

  • Schedule in pockets of stillness throughout your day. This not only is great for your sanity, but will also enable you to catch yourself if you might be playing into the trance of not-enoughness. It will help you notice, reflect and re-connect to your inner-compass and values. 

  • Set a note in your email signature that you practice ‘enough’ and only check emails twice a day, or however often. Communicate your boundaries and systems so that the pressures on you are little lighter.

This brings me to the last point. A point that might just help us shift our cultural narrative and operating model.

Talk About ‘Enough’

With colleagues, family, friends. Let them know you have been reflecting on what ‘enough’ means to you. Share with them what you discovered as your inner-compass, and how you’re going to begin structuring your days. Maybe even share this article with them 😉 

Another important note is to pay attention to the content you post (and consume) online – especially Instagram (aka. the comparison engine). If you start the day with a dose of Instagram, it is likely you will fall into the trance of comparing and not-enoughness and this will bleed throughout your day. The trick is to catch yourself in this trance right at the beginning of this day – then remember it’s not true!

So check the content you are consuming. Is it selling you the story of not-enough, or is it reminder you that you are already enough, as you are? Whilst we build this internal muscle and until we can simply see the world around us through this lens, it is best to curate and moderate your intake 👍 

The more we bring this conversation to those around us, the more likely it is that the cultures we move in will start to take on at least a mild-form of enoughness. 

Let us learn to increase our self-restraint, to curb luxury, to moderate ambition, to soften anger, to quieten comparison, to soften into what is.

I’d love to hear, what spoke to you loudest, felt most useful or resonant in this piece? Is there anything you take away that feels most beneficial? Let me know as a comment, or send me an email to al@aljeffery.com.

Here’s to remembering our ‘enoughness’ and freeing ourselves from the trance.

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