Is Enough Really Enough for You?
When I start talking about the concept of having enough with my clients, I can almost guarantee what the response will be. This conversation is most often about money, but it sometimes is about time or energy, too. I ask them to imagine what it would feel like to have enough, and the response is almost always, “Can’t we say ‘more than enough’?”
Why is it that enough rarely feels like enough? Why do we feel that we have to store up or have excess just to feel comfortable?
I’ll never forget discussing this with an acquaintance while sitting in his million-dollar home with his German luxury vehicles out front. He affirmed that actually having enough isn’t the same as feeling that we have enough when he practically yelled this at me: “All I worry about all day long is where my next meal is coming from!” He then said that they only way he would feel like he had enough would be to have the same income, but live in a trailer home. And then, he thought a moment and said, “No, even then it wouldn’t be enough.”
Wow! Is this guy crazy, delusional, greedy, or a liar? I don’t think so. He’s just a fairly extreme illustration of the feeling that we all deal with in some way or another that there’s never enough for us, or, even if there is enough right now, some famine is coming for which we must prepare.
Now, some people are like this man. They have boundless energy, willpower, and talent to overcome that feeling, at least outwardly. Their situation seems OK, so many of us look at them and think that they must feel like they have enough. Others are overwhelmed by this feeling and feel powerless to do anything about it, and often these people are the ones scraping for money, time, or energy.
This is interesting not only on an individual level, but also on a societal level. How much of our growing income inequality in the world is driven by this feeling that there’s never enough, no matter which side of the equation someone falls?
Where does this horrible feeling of scarcity come from in the first place? On a large-scale level, I think it goes back to the fact that our world does have a limited number of resources. It’s why I’m not a big fan of the abundance consciousness movement, which doesn’t really take into account real world numbers or situations, nor does it seem to lead towards society working together to make sure that everyone has enough. While “the universe” may indeed be limitless, our little, blue planet is most definitely not that way. That’s also why I don’t encourage my clients to follow their impetus to imagine “more than enough.”
On an individual level, we absorb the feeling of “there’s never enough for me” from our parents and other early caregivers early in life. During this time from conception until the age of 2 1/2, the brain is forming the sense of self, which becomes the automatic, generating force behind every moment of our lives. How we felt back gets stored in this tank, if you will, that then generates moments—without our conscious input or control—that feel the same way. This is what leads to repeating patterns in our lives, including not feeling like we have enough of something (or actually not having enough).
When I start to address this with clients, we often have to backtrack a bit, so they can discover what they really want and what really matters to them. I have yet to hear someone say that they want to have five mansions and a luxury yacht and actually stick with that after they’ve really explored what matters to them. Once they get a handle on what they really want, we can start to explore what it would be like to truly have enough of that—always.
One of my favorite success stories in this realm comes from a client who felt tremendous scarcity around time, among other things. Time scarcity is really powerful, because it seems truly limited in a numerical way. This man had to install something for a customer over the weekend and he told me that there was no way that he and his assistant could get it all done in the time they had, based on past experience. I had him do his work around it, and then waited to see what would happen. I was actually pretty surprised when he told me they got done with the job at the level of perfection he required in less time than they had allotted, even. I asked him what it was like—did he feel that they worked faster, somehow? He said that it felt like time slowed down. Each time he looked at the clock, he couldn’t believe how much they had completed. I can’t tell you how shocked he was at this. It was truly unprecedented.
In what part of your life do you feel that there will never be enough? Can you let yourself imagine how you would feel if you always had enough of whatever it is every single day of your life? That is the beginning of leaving behind this awful scarcity feeling that we all live with in some way or another.