Does Saying “I’m Enough” Mean That You’re Settling?

Now That Is The Question

As an explorer of concepts and paradigms, here’s a dilemma I’ve pondered many times on a Thursday evening. Hear me out:

Whenever you reassure yourself that you’re enough, do you also, in effect, compromise becoming better? Do you sacrifice excellence for the good enough, when you tell yourself that “You’re doing okay”?

Does it make sense, why this is such a bothersome dilemma? Especially for the achievers, the over-perfectionists, workaholics, type-A hard workers who strive to make a dent in this world and end up burning themselves out, delusional and sad at the end of a ten-year love affair with their demanding job…  those who struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression, despite doing quite well in life. Who always desire to see more, achieve more, do more, but end up with “more” of the same intangible, deep-seated vacuum in their hearts that tell them nothing they make of their lives will ever matter.

(Oof. Do those statements ring any bells?)

Sometimes, it comes to a point where you just want to tell yourself that “You’re okay, you’re enough”, and believe it. But does saying this make you a slacker? When does “enough” become a synonym for giving up, and when does it… not?

To Be Or Not To Be

I’ve always been an overthinker.

Yeah, sure, it’ll keep you up at night and haunt you forever with uncertainty almost every day of your life, but if you don’t practice it every once in a while, you never arrive at your convictions. You’ll only ever remember what the herd says, what it repeats, what it tells you to believe, what your boss or favorite author says. To me, better to overthink than to underthink.

Given this propensity, here’s an idea:

Sometimes, people and things and concepts aren’t what they immediately seem to be. Most of the time, they certainly aren’t what the world thinks they are.

To illustrate, my question makes it seem as though there are only two sides: the “high-achievers”, and the “settlers”. The dilemma is what to make of this prevalent, millennial thought of saying “I’m enough”: doesn’t this mean that you’re settling, you’re being okay with less than what you’re capable of?

Short answer: I think it could. But I think it doesn’t.

Because that was meant to confuse you, here’s the long answer:

There are high-achievers, those who are never satisfied, who push for higher, better, more. Who aim for nothing short of pushing the limits of excellence as close to perfection as possible. “Never settle for less”, right? And there are, for a lack of a better term, “settlers”; the ones who give themselves the excuse of being happy, right where they are, in order to avoid the responsibility of living. They are the “pwede na yan” kind of people. The ones who are content with mediocrity, content with just getting by, because greatness is too big of a hassle, or so they perceive.

Here’s the funny thing:

When high-achievers start to say “I’m enough”, they begin the process of detaching themselves. From the fear that their life doesn’t matter, from the pressure of success and the crippling inevitability of failure in whatever it is that they are pouring their soul into. Because, as mentioned: they are enough.

When settlers start to say that “I’m enough”, they begin the process of detaching themselves. From the fear that their life can’t matter, from the pressure of success and the crippling inevitability of failure in whatever it is that they want to pour their soul into. Because, as mentioned: they are enough.

Saying “I’m enough” is not synonymous to “I’m giving up on the hard work of living an excellent life”.

Saying “I’m enough” is saying, “I can pour my heart and soul into the hard work of living an excellent life, because winning, losing, success, and failure don’t define me. What defines me is that I am free to pursue what I believe in, I am enough to pursue what I believe in.”

You are designed to overcome. I firmly believe that. You are designed to create an impact, to make good use of your limited time here on earth, to create lasting, tangible and intangible value in this world.

Because you are enough. You always will be. Don’t forget that. When you start to feel yourself settling, or when you start to feel the crippling worry that you won’t be enough, remind yourself of this. And then, calmly keep moving forward.

About the Contributor

Kathryn Cartera is a writing enthusiast and a collector of created works, she likes late-night coffee runs and random vacations with inspiring people. She is also highly attracted to food. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano, learning everything, and discovering meaning in the simplest things.

See all of Kathryn Cartera's posts →

Photo by Alexis Lim. Check out his Instagram page here.

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One Thought

  1. Karen says:

    Excellent article. I will give her advice a try especially on those days at 3am when I wake up and my brain cannot stop thinking about all the stuff that I need to do/ tweak. All the stuff I was satisfied with when I wen to bed. Thank you.