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This Is What It Means When We Say We’re ‘Enough’

Over the past year or two, I’ve noticed the increase in the term “enough.” I’m enough, you’re enough, we’re enough, etc. The term seems meaningless and overused. Enough what? It is often that I don’t have enough money to buy stuff I want. I don’t have enough patience with others. Once in a while, my son will ask me to help with an algebra problem and I don’t have enough knowledge to help him.

So, I’ve been on a campaign to stop the use of the term. When someone says that they are enough, I ask them, “Enough what?” I don’t think anyone has given a real answer. The response is usually, “I’m just enough.” That response is frustrating to me. It gives me nothing to leverage when I’m feeling insecure or when I’m feeling like an imposter, which is often.

I was talking with a friend last night and I was going on the same rant about this word. She said our conversations about this have caused a shift in how she uses the word, that she is moving in my direction. I’ve had some time to think about our conversation, and this morning I realized actually, I’m wrong. My friend and others who use this word are right.

The problem is in trying to understand what “enough” means, I’ve misunderstood the intended focus of the word as it is being used. When someone says they are enough, what they mean is they have value. Regardless of what bills they have or have not paid, regardless of how intelligent they are, regardless of the size of home they have, or even if they have no home, because they are living in this world, they have value. They are enough.

When they don’t have enough money to pay bills, they are enough to befriend and comfort in whatever way possible. When they don’t have a home, they are enough to support and love simply because they are someone trying to exist in this challenging world. When I’m losing my patience with another person, I am enough for someone to come alongside me, to love me, and to realize that I’m doing what I can to manage myself, and the love and comfort of another when I’m in this state can make all the difference, has made all the difference.

So to all of those who I’ve tried to convert to my anti-enough position, I apologize. You are right and I am wrong. My efforts to dissect this term and make it meaningless are misguided. I’m shifting my position on this. I’m seeing now the real meaning of this beautiful word. I am enough. My value does not lie in what I do or don’t do or what I have, but it is in who I am.

And to my friend, I’m sorry I fight you so much on so many things. I’m shifting in your direction. You are kind, patient, loving, beautiful, and I guess the big takeaway I want you to glean from this is that you, my friend, are enough.

I’m a married father of two currently living in IL.

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