“Enough” in Spanish, ”bastante” is a word that stuck with me after spending a month in the South of Spain as an exchange student in the late 80s. I am reminded of it because even though I don’t often use my Spanish language skills my vocabulary became well established as I studied through high school and college. Then a few miraculous trips to Spain engrained them in my inner dialect where they remain and come to me often.
When I returned from Cadiz in 1987 I had been so immersed in the culture that I was literally dreaming in Spanish. Also known for “talking in my sleep” I recall being told I had been doing that in Spanish too, for several months after being back in the US. To this day, when I hear certain words my brain seems to immediately translate them to Spanish, including song lyrics that I learned during those years. Kind of crazy, but certainly cool.
Earlier this week I was listening to Oprah conduct an interview with a guest on her Visionaries Tour in 2020. She was highlighting the underlying current that flows beneath all of us, whether we realize it or not. It is the quality of feeling that we are “enough.” She said the question of “Am I enough?” seems pretty Universal to humanity and that truly, we all wonder about this.
The concept of “enough-ness” which I also think of as “worthiness” resonated because it has come up repeatedly in my work (“Are the results enough? Was I focused enough?”) and my own self development (“Do I meditate, exercise, sleep, pray enough?”) does underpin much of our suffering.
“Am I successful enough? Am I good enough? Am I strong enough? Disciplined enough? Committed enough? Thin enough? Kind enough? Wealthy enough? Generous enough?” Exhausting! No wonder we are tired. It can be a never ending (conscious and subconscious) inquiry that drives a lot of our behaviors. Especially when the answer seems a repeated, resounding and criticizing “NOPE!”
But when I heard Oprah ask the question, I had an insight into my own journey and recognized that there is a positive correlation between answering “YES, I AM ENOUGH!” and learning how to set and re-set the boundaries that were plowed over by our surroundings from the time we were born. As my confidence in answering “Yes, I am enough” has increased, so too, has my ability to express when I have HAD enough!
A few illustrations:
- Info-tainment cable “news” and TV shows (I literally do not own a TV) flooding my senses with garbage (basura!)
- Petty debates that have more to do with people wanting to be right, instead of open
- Past experiences haunting me because I haven’t allowed myself to process them
- Future fantasizing that keeps me from showing up in the present
- Judgments from others who have no ability or desire to empathize with me or anyone else (Google “Brene’ Brown Arena speech” for more)
- Playing the comparison game (#no-social-media-for-me, until recently)
- Giving away my power to others by letting them control me or my feelings
- Trying to control things that I cannot (The Serenity Prayer helps with that one)
What I am sharing here, is my suspicion that until we unwaveringly declare for ourselves: “I am enough” we can’t say what is or isn’t enough in many areas of our lives. Once we feel worthy, our confidence (‘intense self trust’) sky rockets and we start telling the world and those around us “THAT IS ENOUGH!” of fill in the blank.
By the way, I believe worthiness, at our core, is our birth right. It’s not something we have to earn or prove, at home, at work, on the scale or at the bank. We are born pure perfection. Messages to the contrary are destructive and just plain wrong.
Say it with me, in Spanish or in English: Soy Bastante! I am enough! Notice if you feel different after practicing it a few times. With patience and self compassion of course. (Claro!)