Where Do We Get This Idea of Being Enough?

a piece of graph paper that has the words "enough is enough" written on it
Image by Erich Ferdinand / CC BY

For a very long time, I asked myself one question over and over again: Am I enough?

I’d use the question to try to predict the future. Before I’d enter contests, I’d ask myself — am I good enough to win?

And if I thought the answer was no, I wouldn’t even try.

It was the same with relationships. I’d ask myself things like: Am I cool enough to date them? Pretty enough?

Over and over. The idea of being enough followed me around. Everywhere. In every context.

And usually, a little voice in my head said, “No, you’re not enough.” If I look back, I can see a lot of times I didn’t put myself out there. That I didn’t go for something I wanted.

Because I didn’t feel like I was good enough.

And even when I finally did get good things in my life, that same little voice would creep into my head. It would tell me that I didn’t deserve the things I’d gotten.

And when I finally got into a long-term relationship, after many stops and starts, I found myself asking a different variant of this question: I asked myself if I were enough for my partner.

Again, this was my way of trying to predict the future. This time it wasn’t about the possibility of not gaining something because I wouldn’t take a risk due to my consummate not-enough-ness. Instead, it was about the possibility of losing something important to me, being left behind due to my consummate not-enough-ness.

And though I deeply feared that happening, the trouble was that I didn’t see a clear way to improve my chances of being enough.

Because I found that no matter how much I worked on myself — my interpersonal skills, my appearance, whatever — that I was plagued by not-enough-ness.

“Am I Enough?” Isn’t a Good Question

Then one day, I realized I was asking myself a bad question. I shouldn’t be asking myself “am I enough?”

There are much better questions than this one. Tons of them.

One better question would be, “What does ‘enough’ even mean?”

Or, “How can I know when I’ve found someone that I’m more than enough for?”

Because the reality is that if I’m not enough for someone, if someone finds my presence in their life unsatisfying or suboptimal, then that just means they’re not for me. It doesn’t meant that this one “not enough” won’t translate into “plenty” in someone else’s world.

Because if I can take a second and think back on my time in the other position, there are plenty of people who didn’t really gel for me that were perfect for someone else.

Enough is situational. And maybe all along a better question I could have been asking is if any given situation is something I’d like to try.

And stop asking questions that are designed to predict an unknowable future but only make me scared to take risks.

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Books by Page Turner:

Dealing with Difficult Metamours

A Geek’s Guide to Unicorn Ranching

Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory 

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