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What is Enough?

I recently heard 2 different women say the same thing and I have to say, both times it blew my mind. The first comes courtesy of the actress Anne Hathaway. She talked about walking into the room and meeting her co-stars for the movie Ocean’s 8 for the first time. She was very nervous and found herself telling herself, “Maybe it will all be okay. Maybe I can be enough today.”

Maybe SHE can be enough today? The thin, rich, Oscar-winner with the gorgeous hair, the great teeth, and a daily life envied by us mere mortals who are not supremely famous and adored by the masses.

Shortly after hearing that I heard that Maria Shriver had similar feelings, and that finally, at age 63, while sitting on a mountaintop during a self-imposed solitary retreat vacation, she felt like she was actually enough.

SHE felt like she was actually enough? The thin, rich, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and activist, also with gorgeous hair and great teeth, oh and did I mention she has the money, fame, and door busting open advantages that come with growing up as a Kennedy?

Hearing these two esteemed women speak about their “enoughness,” or their perceived lack thereof, made me realize that it’s not about the money, or the number on the scale, or the multitudes of work accomplishments that they had to their names; their feelings of being enough had nothing to do with any of that. Our feelings of being enough trace directly back to how we see ourselves, regardless of literally anything else.

In my work with women and girls with eating disorders, they often spoke about overwhelming feelings of not “being enough” no matter what they did or how much weight they lost. Their self-worth was directly tied to what they saw in the mirror and on the scale, and no matter how thin they got, it was never thin enough. They saw themselves every moment through this horrid lens of “not enough” and became obsessively driven to fill up their emptiness with hunger pangs and the short-lived triumphs of their bodies shrinking.

I also know people for whom no amount of wealth is ever enough. Because they do not feel like they are enough simply on their own, they feel compelled to buy expensive watches, purses, cars. cell phones, and other material things to help them fill their empty spaces inside. But have you ever noticed that you can’t fill an inner void with something external? All of the luxury, designer brand, high-priced finery can’t satisfy the yearning to feel like we’re enough, with or without them.

It turns out, there is no empirical measurement of “enoughness” for a human being. There’s no magic ruler that we can stand against, like when we used to track our height as kids, that has a line on it delineating the precise point when we’ve made enough money or reached a certain societal status or received enough degrees or awards or outer accolades, or driven the right car or took the right vacations or reached a certain level of fame that will show us “Poof! That’s it! You’re finally enough!”

So maybe it’s time to stop striving to be enough and to realize that simply because we exist on the Earth that we are, indeed, enough. Just as we are, at this very moment. It doesn’t matter what we look like, what we do for a living, how we spend our free time, what we’re wearing, what we own, what we eat or drink, or how famous we are. You are enough. I am enough. We are enough, simply because we ARE.

Believing this to the core of our being is, for most of us, a choice. And it’s a difficult choice that we have to remind ourselves of many, even hundreds of times a day. But we CAN make that choice, and it’s up to us to consciously remain in that headspace, to allow us to live the most joyful, fulfilling, and exceptional lives possible for ourselves.

What is enough? It’s simple: you are.

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