If You’re Not ‘Enough’ Without It…

You’ll never be ‘enough’ with it.

The trouble is we don’t attain the carrot through our efforts of pursuit but rather through changing our relationship with the stick.

If happiness becomes pinned to ‘more’ we become doomed to a life of fruitless chasing. ‘More’, like ‘tomorrow’, is an ever extending concept which never actually arrives. For happiness to take any meaningful root there must be some definition and possibility of ‘enough’. We can always use ‘more’ as motivation to aspire beyond that but for further happiness to take root we will need another definition of ‘enough’. And the simple, difficult, truth is the only person who can form that definition for us is ourselves.

Incomplete

There is always room for growth and improvement but if we fall into the trap of making our happiness and satisfaction with ourselves contingent on something after a ‘when’ one of the first things this does is reshape our view of ourselves into being deficient, lacking, broken. Who we are, as we are, at this current moment becomes branded as incapable and unworthy.

We all want things for ourselves but do we want them for what they will add to our lives or are we viewing them as a way to make up for some perceived deficiency?

Adding relationships, resources, and opportunities to our lives can be immensely beneficial in countless ways but if we are adding them in order to ‘fill in’ a deficiency we wind up clutch at them in desperation rather than embracing them in gratitude and appreciation. We cast ourselves as powerless without some ‘extra’ component and that desperation can become irrevocably toxic to our relationships and to ourselves.

External Source

The companion to that sense of being incomplete without ‘X’ is the notion our sense of worth can only be obtained from something outside of us.

We view ourselves as incapable and insufficient on our own.

Again, we all have our weaknesses and there will always be times when we need external help to overcome obstacles but seeking help is not the same as seeking to be ‘completed’. Help is the process of assisting an existing capacity within us. The capacity is there it just isn’t strong or developed enough to defeat the challenge it is facing. Looking for something to ‘complete’ us might seem like a romantic notion but it gives us no credit, power, or worth beyond what that something else provides us with.

Singular Source

This type of thinking also has the extremely dangerous tendency to paint a scenario in which our happiness and self-worth can be determined by one single factor. Not only does this bring along with it that double-edged requirement/obligation tone but it heaps all the weight and consequences of our emotional well-being onto one single target.

The simplicity of the idea is extremely appealing but that’s just not how life works.

No one single factor is ever built or meant to support the entire weight of our self-worth, nor should it. Making something singly responsible for our psychological and emotional well-being not only explodes the associated anxieties to an exponential degree it does the same to the desperation with which we cling to it. And it sets up the false expectation that obtaining it will guarantee our happiness both instantly and permanently.

Happiness As The Metric

There is also a dangerous misconception that achieving a sense of contentment, confidence, self-acceptance, and inner worth means being happy. As a society we have a pervasive tendency to equate happiness with achievement and worse use happiness as the only way of measuring success.

Happiness is an emotional and situational reaction we experience in the moment, not a state we achieve.

At any given moment there are an infinite number of things which could inspire feelings of happiness in us, just as there are an infinite number which could inspire contradictory emotions. There is no guarantee or permanence. Achieving a difficult goal may inspire feelings of accomplishment but not necessarily happiness and the same things which inspire happiness in us once won’t always continue to spark the same responses throughout our lives.

Written by

A professional dancer, choreographer, theatre creator, and featured TEDx speaker with an honours degree in psychology, two black belts, and a lap-top.

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