While Mary Beth and I were writing our fourth book in the Living Brave series, Finishing Strong…Stories of Women Becoming, a certain word kept coming up during the interviews with the women we interviewed: enough. When are you enough?
The answers surprised us and equally confirmed our own feelings of becoming enough. We discovered most young women struggle with feeling enough, Especially before reaching the age of 50. After 50 women wrote they began to understand that enough is not based on having or doing more or being perfect. It was accepting where they had landed in life, no matter the previous circumstances. It was good enough.
Here is a fun quote from one of our Finishing Strong contributors, Margot age 54, who had paid off her long-standing looming debt when answering the question about feeling enough; “I still spend more than the average person on clothes and shoes. Though I buy only things I absolutely love. I feel great in them which, I guess, is the same as feeling enough.” I smile when I read this…. I relate to clothes and shoes and feeling enough.
When is enough, enough? The answer is clear. Enough is different for each of us.
At times I ask myself, have I done enough or been enough in my relationships? If I messed up, said something wrong or forgotten to do something, would I be forgiven? Would I forgive myself? The feelings of not being enough and losing a connection can be painful. Whether in our personal or business relationships, when a disconnect occurs, we imagine the worst about ourselves. And yet we know, enough is different for each of us.
My friend Stephanie is going through a difficult life altering time. This is a passage many women experience with their husbands when health and memory declines. No longer can she lean in to her husband for answers or support. Instead, she has become the decision maker, the head of the household and she must have the answers.
It would be impossible in this short article for me to capture the intensity of emotions with the changes that occur during this time in a woman’s life in transition. I have witnessed this scenario over the years with clients and friends and my own mother with my step-father. There is loss, uncertainty and a readjustment of a life plan disrupted. I am reminded of the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The emotions constantly rearranging themselves depending on the day, or the moment up for examination.
When I ask Stephanie how things are going, she answers, ‘good enough’.
I understand her inference; this is as good as it is today. And yet, I don’t hear defeat in her voice. I hear a sense of acceptance and gratitude. It’s not perfect but it’s ‘good enough’.
For those of us who know and love Stephanie, and there are many of us, she is a ‘friend magnet’ we see clearly, a woman who will do the best where she has landed. She will smile and make others feel special and she will teach us all that life today and every day is ‘good enough’.