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There is no such thing as enough.
Perhaps our sense of scarcity is innate. Our ancestors, always seeking their next meal,certainly never had the type of food security available to most of us in modern times. Or perhaps it’s a result of living in a financial system that mandates constant growth in order to be economically healthy.
Whatever its origins, for most of us living modern lives, there is only (real and/or perceived) scarcity.
For example: a 2010 study of very wealthy people (those who have 25 million in assets or more) asked if they generally feel financially secure. “Most do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess.” (from the Atlantic Monthly)
If even the wealthiest people do not feel stable, how can the rest of us expect to ever overcome financial insecurity? This sense of financial scarcity can spill over into all aspects of our lives. This can be especially true at the axis (axises? axes?) where we fall outside the default norms of power and privilege (for me as a queer person, for instance.)
We end up feeling dissatisfied with everything, like we must always be improving ourselves, our bodies, our minds, our lives.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I would feel better if I just....
Made more money
Had a better partner
Lived in a nicer house
Lost some weight
Had a more successful career
Healed all my wounds
Was a more “evolved” person
Unless we set clear criteria for what enough is, we will never know if we’ve reached it.
All of these goals are vague, nebulous targets to aim for. And what’s worse, many of them have been predestined by our deeply oppressive culture. We have to get clarity about exactly what enough looks like for us, and here’s a hint: it’s probably not a weight on the scale or a dollar amount. It may not be anything that even vaguely resembles what we’ve been told should satisfy us.
In order to undo this deep attachment to scarcity, we have to get to know contentment. Unless we acquaint ourselves with this most unfamiliar of feelings we will never be satisfied. In yoga we call it santosha, and it’s one of the five niyamas, the guidelines for self-governance for living a yogic life.
Think about what “enough” would look like in different aspects of your life. What would need to feel satisfied in your work? In your family? In your self? Where have you internalized a culturally dictated norm about what you should have in order to feel satisfied? When you get to “enough,” can you let yourself enjoy it before setting the bar higher?
Can you let yourself attain enough?
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