How much is enough?

As I put together goals in my life, the words “more than enough” show up often.

  • I want “more than enough” money.
    I want “more than enough” time.
    I want “more than enough” yarn, books, pens, notebooks
  • albums, craft supplies
  • etc. Etc. Etc.

But how much is that? Once I’d said “more than enough,” how could I ever achieve that number?

In my search for freedom and ease, I trapped myself with an unachievable goal.

Even at the point where I had enough money to easily support my family, I still didn’t feel content with my financial situation. And how could I? How could I ever feel like I had enough when the goal was to have more than that?

Plus, once I passed the point where I wasn’t just trying to survive, I discovered further financial goals. Retirement. Health, life, long term care insurance payments. Paying off credit cards, the car, the home equity line of credit, the mortgage. Taking a vacation somewhere exotic.

Sound familiar? Money is a tool that acts like water. When a money pool forms, gates open to canals that lead toward further goals like financial security in old age, children going to college, travel, hobbies, starting a dream business.

There will always be more gates and canals. What is “enough” shifts all the time. And this shifting “enough” means that achieving “more than enough” is impossible.

I didn’t realize that “More Than Enough” was a trap until I discovered Lynne Twist’s book, The Soul of Money. Here, she defines the Toxic Myths of Scarcity:

1. There’s not enough.
2. More is better.
3. That’s just the way it is.

Yeah. Those are myths. They aren’t true, and they’ve never been true. And there’s a lot to unpack here. After all, Ms. Twist wrote a 257 page book about all of these concepts. If you’re interested in delving further, grab a copy at your local bookshop or library and prepare for your mind to open.

Anyway, let’s focus back in on how the idea of “More Than Enough” actually sets you up for failure, starting with breaking down the myth that “There’s Not Enough.”

All across the world, a narrative persists which tries to tell us that there’s not enough. People in power tell us this as they say “No.” They say things like “Nobody’s making any more land!” and “Where will you find the money for that?” and “There’s no room in the budget.”

And then WE begin to say it. “There’s no room in the budget for that.” “Don’t spend your money on that!” “I don’t have enough money for that.”

And that “I don’t have enough money” which perhaps started as an excuse not to purchase something you didn’t want becomes a relentless parade through your mind.

I’m not saying that this can’t be true. That we don’t have sufficient money to purchase what we need and want can absolutely be a true thing. We’ve all had it happen. Last March, my gross income from all of my work was $51. With my wife’s paltry social security payment, our total income was $391.

But not having enough money didn’t mean that I didn’t have enough. I had resources that I could draw upon. The government provided SNAP benefits, the new name for food stamps. Family gave me money for gas to get to the store. Our basic bills were covered by that tiny income, and I had the space to put the mortgage into forbearance while applying for a COVID grant program to make up the payments.

I had enough to survive. But for at least a week, I sat around despairing because I didn’t have enough money for food. And focusing on how I didn’t have enough in that one way meant that I blocked my ability to see all of the other tools and resources that supported me.

How my wife could make a phone call to her county social worker and hook us up with food.
How I could ask my father to send me fifty dollars to buy a tank of gas, and borrow some cash from Steph’s sister and mother to help buy food until the SNAP came through.
How our electricity, telephone, and internet still worked because my wife’s social security covered those bills.
How I could apply for this grant to cover our mortgage payments for six months.
And how, despite all of it, I was doing the necessary work to raise my income for the next month.

By telling ourselves that we don’t have enough, we block our ability to see how we do have enough. By focusing on the lack of money, we keep ourselves from seeing everything that is available to us.

Remember the list we made last week of all of the tools we have to make our dreams become a reality? Get it out and review it, or create a new one. Look at all of the tools listed besides money!

“I don’t have money” does not equal “There’s not enough.”

Enough does not depend upon money.

Enough depends upon you.

You carry the tools you need—and your amazing toolset includes imagination and creativity. If you don’t have a tool you need, you can think differently and create one, or imagine a different use for one you already own!

Maybe you already have enough in some way. Maybe you have just been telling yourself that you don’t have enough so often, you’ve started to believe it.

Take a moment and sit with these questions:

Where can you see that you have enough? What resources can you access? Can you list at least ten ways in which you have enough? It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant you think a way is, go ahead and list it. If you get stuck making this list, keep searching until you can list ten ways you have enough.

Look at the list. How does it make you feel?

Journal around these questions or talk them out with a trusted friend. If you don’t have someone but need an ear free of judgment, drop me an email and let’s chat.

We all have enough in some way. Defining where we have enough allows us to begin to define what is enough.

And to begin to work our way out of the trap which is “More Than Enough.”