February: Enough

02/04/2014 · 9 comments

in Enough, Monthly Theme, Noa Gavin

“That’s not good enough.”
“Enough is enough.”
“It’s never enough.”
“You’re not good enough.”

That word is a time bomb.

It can make you feel a hundred thousand different ways. For me, the most difficult lesson in ‘Enough’ was walking the line between thinking that I was enough, which I once equated with being arrogant, and thinking I would never be enough, which I equated to being humble.

Neither of those are true, but it took me years of work to learn the difference.

Saying to yourself, “I’m enough for _____,” is inherently terrifying. If you think you’re good enough, then how can you ever be the best? How can you think so highly of yourself that you think you’re ever good enough for this task? For others? For your family and friends? Your spouse? Yourself?

It’s that rabbit hole progression that leads into dark places. We can’t possibly think we’re good enough for anything lest we be thought of as conceited, and then at the end of the day you’re alone in your shower wondering how anyone can go on feeling this way. You second guess every decision because it’s not going to be good, it’s not going to be perfect and by the way neither are you so why even try?

Then one day someone said to me, “humility isn’t tearing yourself down all the time. Humility is having the confidence to put something into the world and the graciousness to say thank you to those who help and those who comment on it. Humility is having pride in your product and yourself and knowing at the same time that it’s okay if it’s not perfect, because we all have places to grow. Humility is not destructive. It is the difference between confidence and conceit.”

That slayed me and everything I understood. You could be confident and have humility at the same time? You could accept a compliment without immediately denigrating yourself and your product? You could not sob in the shower every deadline knowing that you’re a bad bad person and you’ll never be good?

Holy shit, that sounded fantastic.

I had to learn to say thank you, and then ask productive questions, when someone complimented or commented on my work–instead of saying, “Oh no, I could have done better.” That is always the truth, but sometimes trying is enough.

I had to learn to let go when it was time to let go–instead of being so paralyzed by perfection that I couldn’t even meet deadlines.

I had to learn to say to myself, “you are who you are. The things you do not love you can change, but change takes time. Believe in the idea that no matter what, you are enough because you live,”–instead of telling myself constantly that I will never be good enough.

It meant being fearless in everything I did, and it took years. Years. I still have to catch myself when I try to tear down my own work or myself.

It’s not perfect, neither am I, nothing ever will be. Getting rid of that expectation is what finally freed me.

This month’s theme of enough means different things to different people. We’ll be getting a lot of different stories from different women about what enough means to them.

What does it mean to you?

Roxie February 5, 2014 at 10:53 am

Enough to me, right now, means: Enough snow! We don’t need any more snow, we have enough, thank you!

Noa February 6, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Some got sent my way to Texas today, and I am already fucking done.

Abby February 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm

“Imperfect progression over delayed perfection.”
Abby recently posted..Under the Weather

Noa February 6, 2014 at 7:27 pm

It sounds so much easier than it looks.

Liz Rosema February 5, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I am a chronic apologizer.
It is a part of not being enough – I apologize for everything. I once apologized to my boss because a storm knocked her power out.
and she said, “That isn’t your fault,” and I said, “Oh you are right. Sorry”
I think it is a hold over from school – where perfection was possible for me. Getting all of the answers right on a test is something I can do. Never messing up at work is something I cannot do. I make mistakes and mentally abuse myself for and eternity.
Anyway this became a confession somehow but what I meant to say was that I liked this post.
Liz Rosema recently posted..Jury Duty was Unexpectedly Cool : Part 2

Noa February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Confess away, if you feel like it. It’s so hard to begin to change that language, isn’t it? You use it so often that it becomes ingrained in what you do, in what you think, in who you are. Learning to separate that is…improbably difficult.

Liz Rosema March 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm

True – My new years resolution was not to say “sorry” when things go wrong that are not under my control.
We will see how that works out….
Liz Rosema recently posted..Seize the Absurd Writes some Children’s books.

Jana February 6, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I agree that being “enough” can be scary. I always equate it with “settling” or not caring enough. But the alternative — striving for perfection all of the damn time can be EXHAUSTING! I’ve just gotten to the stage where I can say “good enough” when I’m at work. The project may not be perfect or exactly how imagined it….but it’s good enough.
Jana recently posted..“Hooked” on Fishing

Misty February 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Wow, this is powerful stuff, Noa. I struggle every day with being “enough.” A good enough mother, a good enough wife, a good enough employee, friend, blogger . . . person. And somehow, I always seem to fall short in my own opinion. It is brilliant that you’ve kicked enough in the balls and are going forth with confidence and humility. I have yet to figure out how to do that for myself. Still on the journey.
Misty recently posted..Two Wild and Crazy Guys!

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