I made up a new term a while ago: The “More-Enough-’N-ers.”
I’ve never heard anyone else use it, but I hear people talking about what it refers to all the time.
Here’s what we say. Do you recognize any of these?
“I should be more fulfilled.”
“I should be more productive.” “I should be more successful.” “I should be more peaceful.” “I should be more outgoing.” “I should have more friends.”
“I should have more patience.”
“I should be more .”
“I should have more .”
“I’m not strong enough.” “I’m not smart enough.” “I’m not wealthy enough.”
“I’m not a good enough mom/dad.” “I’m not a good enough friend.” “I’m not a good enough cook.”
“I’m not well-spoken enough.”
“I’m not a good enough employee.”
“I’m not thin…pretty…handsome…tall…hard-working…good…enough.” “I’m not enough.”
“I should be happi-er.” “I should be bett-er.” “I should be kind-er.” “I need to be fast-er.” “I need to try hard-er.” “I need to be brav-er.”
“I need to be funni-er.” “I need to be er.”
These are thoughts that run through our minds from time to time, on various occasions.
There are a couple of things we could say about this pattern of thinking. We could talk about what it means to be “more” or “better” and what’s required to actually be those things, what it would take, and what it would look like when we finally were those things. That’s a great conversation! One I enjoy very much…and if you ever want to talk about how to be more of something, I’m a phone call away.
But here’s what else I think it can mean when we use these words: the “mores, the “enough's,” and the “—ers.” Sometimes when we say these statements to ourselves, about ourselves, thinking how we have to be more of something, declaring we’re not enough in some way, or need to be better somehow, it actually taps into an element of personal shame we entertain about ourselves in some area(s) of our life.
Oftentimes, people associate shame with some significant event or trauma. That can be true sometimes, but shame actually, and more simply, refers to the message that we aren’t “enough” in some way.
I would like to encourage you to consider…maybe you are enough?
Maybe the way you are and how you do things is exactly right, exactly good enough.
Sure, there might be areas in your life you want to improve. I’m all about the growth and development process, both personally and professionally. But day-to-day, what are you saying to yourself?
Are you hard on yourself? Beat yourself up? Judge and shame yourself? Critical of self?
Are you thinking statements about how you should be more, ways you’re not enough, or you should be “ -er” in some way?
Watch out for those messages — The “more-enough-N-ers.”
Here’s the thing: There are plenty of ways we are not accepting ourselves…but we really could. Imagine that! Imagine if the way you thought about yourself was enough. You accepted who you are and how you do things…and liked it. Even when it’s less than perfect, doesn’t look like someone else, or even if someone else doesn’t like it.
We all have flaws. True story! We all make mistakes. So what? We all fall short of the desired outcome sometimes. Yep.
What if that’s ok?
Would it make a difference in your life if you believed it? To determine whether you’re good, even amazing, just the way you are? I’m going to bet it would.
The opposite has an impact on you, though. Did you know that?
Telling yourself you’re not enough doesn’t inspire you to be better. It keeps you stuck. That thought creates feelings of shame or hopelessness and that never leads to productive, exciting changes. And it leaves you constantly striving and rarely satisfied with yourself.
What if both things could be true? You can believe you’re enough AND also look to improve certain things.
Acceptance: Accepting our shortcomings is a very healthy and mature thing to do. It doesn’t mean we are giving up or destined to be a failure. Acceptance isn’t settling for “less than” either.
We can work on accepting things about ourselves, believing they are good just as they are, AND continue to work on making improvements in certain areas of our lives we want to.
These two realities are not conflicting or incompatible with each other.
If you struggle with perfectionism at all…that previous statement may be hard to believe. That’s ok. Just let it live in your mind a little until it becomes more comfortable for you. Then look out…it’s gonna feel so good!
Consider these: Why do we think we “have to,” “should,” or “need to” do or be anything other than who we are? Are we comparing ourselves to someone else? Some other unrealistic standards? Something unattainable? Or someone different who simply isn’t us? Does it help us to compare ourselves to them or does it make us feel worse? What does it tell you about how you think about yourself?
How about you? Can you identify with any of those “more-enough-’N-er” statements above? Did some others come to mind? You might not even realize you’re saying them to yourself. We all do. They can be pretty sneaky in the way they play in our minds and work their way into our day!
Stay mindful of the thoughts floating through your brain today. What do you notice?
Stay curious and see what you discover. Consider aligning your thoughts about yourself with what God says about you. You’re created in His image, He loves you, and He has a lot of good things to say about you!
Some encouragement for parents and families:
Your students are learning every day more about who they are and discovering who they can become! It’s very exciting. Take the time to celebrate where they are right now; whatever level of progress, whatever way they are doing things the best way they know-how, whatever ways they are offering their uniqueness to their little world.
Like us adults, they are learning all the time. We don’t get it all right some days, and neither do the students we love. That’s ok.
Let’s notice how we are communicating those “more-enough-’N-ers.” Our words are powerful. Let’s use them to encourage progress and resist that urge we get sometimes to declare they’re just not good enough yet.
Consider what God’s word has to say:
Psalm 139:13-18 - “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depth of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious are your thoughts about me, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”
You are God’s workmanship. You are God’s masterpiece. You are enough.