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You are Enough, Just as You Are

As someone who has spent a lifetime being a people-pleaser, trying to find love and to fit in with the 'cool kids' I often fall into the trap of feeling like I am not enough. When you tie up your purpose in life to trying to make other people happy, to meet their needs, you are going to find yourself regularly disappointed.

In our society and culture, we are constantly bombarded with ads for the latest and greatest new things. We are in a culture of constant FOMO, trying to keep up with everyone else, pushing ourselves harder in search of bigger, better, faster and more. We feel like if we don't do all the things that the influencers are doing, then we are doing something 'wrong.'

When we live like this, we are actually in direct opposition to our own inner nature. We are constantly clinging and grasping, which the Buddha says is the root of all suffering. By trying to live an influencer-worthy lifestyle, we are just setting ourselves up for failure and heartbreak.

Even in relationships, the idea of constant people-pleasing is another form of clinging and grasping. You want people to like you, to love you, to appreciate you. But the thing is, people are fickle. Maybe once you were what they wanted, but after a time, your newness and sparkle wears off. The ones you love want something new to fulfill their unending desires.

All I ever wanted was to be enough for someone to love.

But the thing of it is, if you have to change who you are for someone to love you, then that isn't real love. It might be lust, infatuation, or the fascination of getting to know you.

At the beginning of a new relationship, we try to put our 'best foot forward' and to show only our good sides. We put the energy in to please the other person, to make them like us, to secure a lasting love. The problem with that, though, is eventually we are going to have to show our bad side, if only for a minute.

Think of it like this: for your first date, you wear your nicest clothes. You fix your make up perfectly. You shape your hair into the latest style. You go to a fancy restaurant, and try to impress the other person with the depth of your knowledge, your charms and your wit.

But, once you get to know each other better, you finally stay the night. Then, your new lover sees you the next morning. Your hair is out of place, your make-up smeared from the night before, your teeth unbrushed.

The morning after is like a test. You get to see that person in a vulnerable state, just waking up, and the mask is off. Neither one of you is 'at your best' anymore. You are just you. Raw and unfiltered. Then, you get to finally see if your new love really likes you as you are.

No one can always be at their best. We get tired, sick, burned out, irritated, and the list goes on. Once the newness and the attempts at perfection wear off, our relationships are tested. Then, we get to decide if we want to keep working on perfecting the mask to keep our new love interested, or if we revert to our true nature, and let them see us as we are.

Over the years, I have had people make all kinds of strange and disparaging comments about me once they realize that I can't always be the life of the party. Most of the time, I am bookish and kind of boring. I work. I go to the library. I like to research things. Life can't always be about dancing on the bar and taking your shirt off. That just isn't sustainable.

People liked me more when I was drinking. When I was the life of the party. But living like that all the time gets exhausting; I know, I owned a bar. It was my job to get the party started every day. Trying to be buckets of fun got exhausting.

The thing of it is, though, I am happier being bookish and boring, whether other people liked me that way or not.

It's not my job to make people like me - and it's not yours either.

You are already enough, just the way you are.

You don't have to have the latest gadgets, the perfect house, perfect make-up and hair, or be the life of the party to be a good person. You don't have to change your true nature in order to 'earn' other people's love and acceptance.

Eventually you begin to realize that if you are constantly having to change to please others, both of you are going to end up disappointed. You have set unrealistic expectations of who you are for the other person. And you either have to struggle to maintain the fantasy, or leave them disappointed the morning after.

A while ago I read this quote and it really stuck with me:

“At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history. Heller responds, “Yes, but I have something he will never have … enough.” Enough. I was stunned by the simple eloquence of that word—stunned for two reasons: first, because I have been given so much in my own life and, second, because Joseph Heller couldn’t have been more accurate. For a critical element of our society, including many of the wealthiest and most powerful among us, there seems to be no limit today on what enough entails.”
―Morgan Housel,The Psychology of Money

Which one are you? The one happy with your life as it is, or the one always striving for more?

I think at times, we all experience being in both positions. But, it is only through acceptance of ourselves and our lives as they are that can lead to true happiness and satisfaction.

Each day you get to decide, do you want to be the Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree, or do you want to be Jeff Bezos on his yacht?

Either way, whichever path you decide to take, you can find happiness along the way. But eventually you realize that material possessions are only going to make you happy for a little while, but inner peace can be lasting.

You get to decide if you want to constantly be on the chase for the next big thing, or if you want to look within yourself and learn to be content with the silence that you find there. Stop, be still in this moment, and ask yourself if the life you have is the life that fulfills you. Do you feel peace, joy and oneness, or do you feel like you aren't enough?

Although my life hasn't always been a straight line, for today, I am choosing to accept myself and my life as they are. I am choosing to be enough. I am not forcing myself to do more or be more. I am releasing the judgments and expectations of others around me, and judging for myself. And I have decided that for today, I am enough.

Each day, each moment, you have the same choice. You get to decide if you and your life are enough. You get to decide if you are going to push and push for more, or if you are going to have acceptance. Which will you choose?

For more on finding peace through Buddhism, you can check out:

If you have questions, or additional topics you would like me to address, let me know in the comments!


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