I don't see much of my now six-year old niece and four-year old nephew, who live in Western Pennsylvania, but a few years ago on a trip home, I commented to Adyson that I couldn't believe how tall she'd grown.
She puffed up with pride, walked over to the door jamb, and with her hand above her head exclaimed,
“I know! I’m almost up to my hand!”
It was a belly laugh moment the adults (why don't we belly laugh more?), but there was also something profound about her four-year-old rationale.
As long as you keep measuring yourself to your hand, you’ll always be tall enough. As long as your measuring yourself to yourself, you will always be enough.
The measuring stick to decide what is and isn’t enough fell into my hands so long ago that I can’t even remember when it started. As a writer, I’ve been so focused on not being enough that I’ve given myself little opportunity to just be (see also last week's post about should).
Judging, measuring, chastising yourself - that kind of mentality isn't productive - but it's addictive. In my case, instead of working on my craft as a writer, I beat myself up for all that I wasn't.
And who decides what is enough? What is enough money? Enough talent? Enough success? Enough fitness? Skinny enough? Pretty enough? At what point are we content? If I lose 15 pounds I'll be happy. If I could make another 20K a year then that would be enough. Then I'd be content. But what about now? Why wait to be happy?
It's not like I've figured this one out. I have plenty of things I'm waiting for. But every now and again it's good to remind yourself.
I'm good enough.
I'm smart enough.
And...wait for it...wait for it...
Doggone it, people like me.
Yeah that's right.
Because Stuart Smalley.
Tall enough, good enough, smart enough. If you compare yourself to yourself, you’re always enough.