I’ve always felt a little bit of resistance to the word ‘happiness’. It can feel like a concept that is defined by someone else’s idea of what I should achieve, and then sold to me via magazines and social media.
It’s easy to forget there’s a powerful consumer industry that needs us to feel a sense of ‘not enough’ so that we’ll attempt to buy our way to happiness (some statistics estimate that the modern person sees about 5000 ads per day).
But true happiness, for me, comes from a feeling of ‘enoughness’. Admittedly, this isn’t actually a proper word, but I feel like it conveys a quality of appreciation which isn’t quite there when I hear the word ‘enough’.
This quality, a kind of quiet and steady wellbeing, is actually not all that elusive if I stay open to it. I’ve been reflecting on how it shows up in everyday life, and this is what I noticed…
Enoughness means I don’t always have to get what I want to be happy.
Enoughness means I can let go of trying to prove myself or get somewhere, and actually just be content right now.
Enoughness means that nothing I do has to be perfect.
Enoughness means I don’t have to fill my diary to feel fulfilled.
Enoughness means I can appreciate what I already do have that I’m grateful for, instead of chasing something more, or something else.
Enoughness means I can open to the wonder of just being alive (as trite as that may sound), every day, without waiting for something ‘big’ or impressive to happen.
Enoughness means that the way I live reflects my own values, even if they don’t match those of contemporary culture.
Enoughness means I can connect deeply with the people I care about, because I haven’t got half my attention on the mental pursuit of goals.
Enoughness means I’m more immune to the marketing strategies that want me to believe I need to buy happiness, or chase an unrealistic lifestyle (which also often seems to mean buying what someone is selling).
Enoughness means I can step back from Doing mode, and feel confident that it’s ok to leave those minutes unfilled by busyness. And realising that just Being can sometimes create more positive change than Doing.
Enoughness means that even when life feels uncomfortable, I know I’ll cope because I’m ok at a very basic level: my needs for oxygen, nutrients, physical support and shelter are rarely not met. As Rick Hanson puts it, I’m ‘alright, right now’.
A feeling of enoughness can also be the most reliable clue that I’m engaged in mindful living. So when I feel like I’m losing my way, if I look for a sense of enoughness, however ‘small’, it can make a big impact.
I’ll leave you with an Albert Camus quote that pretty neatly sums up what I mean by enoughess.
“Four Conditions Of Happiness:
Life in the open air
Love for another being
Freedom from ambition
*I believe the correct description is ‘Poe’s 4 Conditions For Happiness’.