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How Do We Know What Is "Enough"?

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By Riley Kim | 8th June, 2022

Enough… We hear this word so many times throughout our lives - from our first attempt to walk as a toddler to aiming for higher scores in AP exams, working for our first job, and fulfilling our bucket lists. But do we really know when is ‘enough’? Is trying to be MORE than ‘enough’ really as bad as people think?

‘Enough" - what does it even mean? 👀

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, enough means ‘occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope to fully meet demands, needs, or expectations. If used as an adverb, the word means ‘in or to a degree of quantity that satisfies or is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction.’

People often doubt themselves and contemplate about what ‘enough’ means to them…

What ‘enough’ SHOULD be… ✅

Now, let’s take a closer look at the word. We must know the word fully before analysing it, criticizing it, or even talking about it. ‘Demands, needs, or expectations’ are all very subjective words that can change drastically based on the person using them. For some who are lenient on themselves, such demands would not be as rigorous, and they would set low expectations for themselves, getting less stress even if they don’t match them. On the other hand, some people are very strict with themselves. They would push extremely harsh standards and try to punish themselves if they failed to fulfil them. As such, the degree of ‘enough’ differs greatly for everyone.

What ‘enough’ IS in our society… 📛

However, I have noticed over the past few years that people think that everyone’s ‘enough’ is the same, and some even try enforcing their terms, criticizing the few outliers.

They call out the people who have relatively higher standards for themselves for being too stubborn and paint them as highly stressed, anti-social, paranoid individuals. Whenever a student is concerned about her grades and going to consult with her teacher, the teacher assumes that she is too sensitive about her grades and tries comforting her in a carefree tone, saying, “You are doing enough, just fine.” We should all be tired of hearing such tones of ‘enough’ in our ears every time we are anxious about something and want genuine advice.

Just like no one can force us to all like mint chocolate ice cream, society should never be forcing people to feel a certain way or try to reduce their expectations to match the norm. If that is the case, you should have the bravery and belief NOT to conform to such ridiculous standards and societal pressures.

Keeping YOUR way of ‘enough’ 🤞

“How are you?” - not in the sense of other people’s ideas, but YOU in particular. Focus on yourself, not others’ inputs.

Sure, knowing the normal 'enough' is also important, but keeping your way of 'enough' and trying to fill your burdens and goals in life is also equally meaningful. You understand that you may have high expectations, and you start cherishing the process of fulfilling them. No one would be willing to stand up for your standards, rather try to pull you down. Stay brave and believe in your standards - after all, life is all about serving your own goals, not someone else's, right?

Although accepting others' advice and comments is important to shaping a friendly and appropriate self, we should always keep in mind that not all of those ideas make sense. If not applicable or not understandable in your context, feel free to dismiss such remarks and defend your ground. Also, there is no need to feel ashamed of your high standards since many students fear that peers will call them 'nerds' if they seem too high-reaching.

💡 Enough is all about knowing yourself and tailoring your needs for YOUR own satisfaction.

Why/How might self-disciplinary action be actually beneficial? 🤔

When you have high expectations and strict self-control, self-disciplinary actions frequently arise. You criticize yourself for not doing certain things and not acting along with the plan. You also might punish yourself for doing so by feeling guilt.

However, unlike popular opinion, I think that such disciplinary action is beneficial to the person when controlled. Like any other behaviour, too much is never good, but a healthy amount would act as a catalyst for further development. Self-development does not come from a lenient person who is okay with doing whatever in their lives. For internal motivation to take place and fuel improvement, there needs to be a mechanism generating harsh comments. Such harsh comments would prevent the mind from contemplating the present and motivate it to try endlessly to find a better version of the self.

Self-love derives from attention to the self, which is expressed in diverse ways.

🚧 Self-disciplinary action is a great indicator that you understand yourself and have had plenty of thought about your life goals and how you want your life to unravel.

📌Key Takeaways 🤔

  • It all starts from knowing what ‘enough’ is to you, not to anyone else.
  • Looking at ‘enough’…
    • What ‘enough’ SHOULD be
    • What ‘enough’ IS in our society
  • Keep your head up and be proud of your limits
  • How would self-disciplinary action be useful?

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