‘To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act. To be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy, human selves, would not be good for business’
– Matt Haig
In his wonderful book ‘Reasons to stay Alive’, Matt Haig talks about how the world is increasingly designed to make us feel like we aren’t enough. How our world has become increasingly about making people feel fearful about their health and ageing and plays on their fears of not keeping up with the latest trends or not having the latest gadget. Promoting discontentment and unhappiness because its good for the economy.
As I get older, I think about this more and more. So much of life is about chasing more and having more. Chasing the pay rise, the promotion, the new clothes, sofa, shoes, holiday, car, bigger house, more, more, more. Never being happy with what we have and who we are and where we find ourselves in our lives. And I find myself wondering when it will all be enough and when I will be enough. And when (and if) I will say stop. And what will saying ‘stop’ to it all mean?
I am guilty of the chasing too. I have about 80 dresses in my wardrobe. At least 5 of those I have never worn. I have at least 40 pairs of shoes, most of which I don’t wear. I buy new dresses because I think, subconsciously, that its ‘the’ dress that will make me feel good about myself. The dress that will solve my wardrobe ‘problems’ and make everything ok. The dress that will ‘keep me up to date’. The dress that will somehow make me feel better about myself. In the loft, there are 20 boxes of books that don’t fit in the house and haven’t been opened in at least 7 years. Many of those are personal development books that I have bought to try and find the ‘something’ that I am looking for. To answer my questions and help me find meaning. To help me to feel enough.
And it isn’t just about buying more things. Its about how we move through our lives. Always trying to get ‘somewhere’ and move on to something and be somewhere else, doing something else. To be climbing a metaphorical ladder that gets us to a different place, to a different state. Anywhere but here.
And I find, as I go through my life, that I don’t want to chase stuff anymore. I am tired of the running and the pressure and idea that we have to be constantly looking forward to the next thing, the next purchase, the next job. And that there is something wrong with not wanting to be constantly striving.
One of my resolutions this year was to give up clothes shopping for an entire year. It’s proving to be interesting and it has made me think about this whole idea of being enough. It’s made me dig more deeply into what is behind my shopping habits and why I have had an ongoing desire to be constantly wanting more. It’s a deeply ingrained societal issue that says we have to keep up. That more things will fill us up and complete us. That by not being up to date with the latest fashion, we aren’t enough. And of course it applies right the way accross our materially obsessed world.
But it has also raised the question in my mind about what constitutes enough for me. What do I mean? It’s not just about shopping. It’s about a lot more than that. It’s about self acceptance and finding peace in my own ‘messy human self’ as Matt Haig puts it. It’s about being happy and contented in my life as it is in this moment. I want to be still. I want to find peace right now and not spend the rest of my life trying to fill a hole in my self with more things, more money, more status in the hope that someday I will find it. It feels like a mugs game and that one day I will wake up, 80 years of age, having spent my whole life waiting for the next thing to come and fulfil me.
So maybe it is a decision. A choice. To just say no and to accept where we are right now. To love our own beautiful selves as they are. To grow and change on our terms. To prioritise what brings us joy right now and put aside the rest. To have the courage to take our own paths and know why we are doing it. To stand strong in our own light. To be brave. To know that we are enough. I find extraordinary freedom in that thought. If not now, then when?
You are enough 🌟