Recently I attended a networking event in a downtown building where I knew only one person. I’m a bit intimidated by downtowns, as a general rule, since it brings up issues of parking and navigating unknown streets, not to mention dealing with the superior sophistication level (real or perceived) of people who work or live in urban environments. I can ride my bike from one end of my town to the other in 15 minutes, waving to people I know along the way. So my suburban and familiar surroundings are safe and unintimidating. Walking into a room full of professional strangers made me wonder if I fit in. If I was enough.
My son wrote in a recent letter that he has some trepidation about an upcoming life challenge, and I heard the same query between the lines of his letter: Am I enough?
I wonder if many of us have that question reverberating in our heads in lots of situations. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Am I beautiful enough? Am I rich enough? And we answer the question in a variety of ways. By simply saying, “Yes, I’m enough” and moving on. By assuming we’re not, but plowing forward anyway. By ignoring the gnawing sense of inadequacy and continuing to strive for approval and achievement and admiration from those around us.
For me, it’s helpful to redefine the word and to ask the question with a different focus. Am I kind enough? Am I compassionate enough? Do I listen enough? With my focus on others I find that the emphasis transfers to character instead of skill, and I’m concerned more with relationship and less with accomplishment. I am loved and I am learning to love well. Isn’t that what will matter at the end of my life?
In what areas do you question your adequacy?