"Give up defining yourself -- to yourself or to others. You won't die. You will come to life. And don't be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it's their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don't be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are."
--Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.
Enough is a mindset, not an acquisition. It is not something we get from outside of ourselves by working harder, buying more, giving much to others, achieving the best--or in receiving accolades from others.
Others cannot define us and our worthiness. We must assume that responsibility.
Living with a sense of enough begins with giving to ourselves first, the internal validation of knowing we are valuable "as is" whether we have money, credentials or any other external markings of success.
So many talented people I know have stopped short of excelling in their fields, or even in making their work visible, thinking erroneously they are not good enough because they do not have a degree or enough training, experience or certification to validate their innate talents and precious gifts.
Others live feeling "less than" because they cannot contribute financially to the degree they hoped, forgetting the emotional support and physical presence they provide others are of themselves valuable contributions.
There are singles who feel they are not attractive enough to find a mate, athletes not strong enough to win, and kids not good enough to win their parents' or others' love and approval. The lists go on and on in the ways we can be conditioned by societal standards to feel less than.
Coincidentally, I began preparing the seminar I am teaching tonight (CLAIMING YOUR VALUE) the week of Whitney Houston's tragic death. During one of her interviews with Diane Sawyer which was replayed many times, Whitney said she never felt "enough" to perform with Kevin Costner in the movie, The Body Guard. Her fame, beauty and talent could not give her the sense of greatness that she was unable to claim for herself.
At the other end of the spectrum, I recall my daughter returning from volunteering at an orphanage in Africa a few years ago, sharing with me a significant observation she had. She said the children she worked with were the happiest people she had ever known. Yet, they had no parents and were living with AIDS. Their sense of abundance exceeded what many of us experience, who have so much "more" in basic life needs met. The reason I suspect they exuded such joy was the gratitude they felt for people like my daughter who loved, nurtured and cared for them.
Taking inventory of what we have versus what is missing can cause an instant shift in any feelings of lack.
Another way we can shift into knowing we are enough is to stop immediately, pause and regroup whenever we feel compelled to give more or too much, buy more or overextend ourselves in any way to prove our worth. Overcompensating or giving-to-get does not work as the inauthenticity of such a strategy eventually backfires in either burnout or resentment, and often both.
We lose our power when we consistently try too hard or go to the plate for others at the expense of ourselves. Saying "no" and setting boundaries with others who ask too much of us often turns out to be a big "yes" to reclaiming feelings of self-love.
You are enough for being you. Take the time to appreciate and value your uniqueness--without comparing yourself to anyone or any external standards of perfection or success.
"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."--Anna Quindlen