I recently connected with a dear friend who’s been struggling a lot emotionally lately. It may have been some expression of postpartum depression or oh ya know, something to do with navigating the challenges of having 3 young children during a pandemic and this crazy election year. Likely a combination.
Regardless of the circumstances, at one point in our dialogue I acknowledged she was truly doing her best, and reminded her how that was enough, despite the fact that it hasn’t made everything the way she wants it to be.
It proved to be a significant reflection to be able to consider her own enoughness, regardless of whether or not the things she’s been working on have changed sufficiently, significantly, or otherwise achieved ‘enoughness’ in her mind.
I mean, if we judge our enoughness by results and outcomes, we’ll feel insufficient every time things we’ve been working on don’t go our way. It’s a recipe for feeling defeated, powerless, and inadequate.
But what if I put my attention on my efforts. On my caring. On everything I’m doing to move the needle. If I’m giving everything I possibly can, how can that not be enough?!
It can only be ‘not enough’ if I’m measuring myself by the end of the story. But isn’t most of life taking place in the middle of the story?!
My point is that not only does this latter perspective hold a certain truth, it is also the kindest way to treat ourselves.
Because we can’t do more than our best. Our best, by definition, HAS to be enough. If we rest our self-esteem in the hands of our caring and efforts, as opposed to results and outcomes, we’ll get to feel that enoughness. We may even actually get to feel proud of ourselves.
I hope this attitude helps you find some compassion and patience toward yourself, especially in the presence of things you’re working toward that are still mid-story, where things don’t look quite like your hopes and dreams yet, despite all your best efforts. I invite you, even if or maybe especially if there’s more work to be done, to acknowledge your enoughness, here and now and then onward…