A Word on Wednesday: Enough

When is enough, enough?

The word was a self-help buzz word of 2018, consoling women to be at peace with what she is. Period. As she is enough.

In this sense, enough is used as a pronoun: “an adequate quantity or number; sufficiency.” As a adjective, its most common usage in speech, enough means “adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire; enough water; enough noise to wake the dead.”

It originates before 900 in several languages: Middle English, Old English, German, Gothic, Old Norsenogr, and Sanskrit. So many cultures identifying a word to express suitable, ample, sufficient, full, adequate, abundant.

The synonym and defining word that reappears and remains today is adequate. And, in many areas of life I agree, adequate is enough.

Yet, the word is not defined as a noun: I am enough takes a liberty of the word, it extends its meaning. In this context, it seems too similar for settling for the status quo. I agree in the sentiment of esteem-building gurus, but I choose the word contentment. This word is, in fact, a noun and better captures the sentiment “I am enough,” which has been shorthand for take it easy on yourself, love yourself, be kind to yourself, accept yourself as being enough.

The problem with enough as a self help word is it doesn’t speak to improvement. It doesn’t speak to growth. Adequate is fine. Accepting adequate income, happiness, shelter and so on is healthy. I see seeking, striving, dreaming, trying as suitable pursuits. The attempt is enough. The whole is evolving.

My friend Carrie Sue Barnes has another take on enough, as a lie. She has a strategy to embrace this fact and accept help. You may read about her thoughts on Enough.

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