Enough: Can We Be Happier if We’re Not Happy with Ourselves?
I always like to learn about where people are in terms of happiness before I present my Happier Made Simple program. (In other words, happier than what?) So last week, I asked the law firm’s Wellness Committee to ask participants the following two questions before our Lunch and Learn Session:
- What is your biggest challenge to happiness at work?
- What is your biggest challenge to happiness at home?
Then I compiled the many answers into word clouds and discovered that the same word came up consistently in both categories:
That word was: ENOUGH.
- Am I successful enough?
- Am I thin/fit enough?
- Are my kids accomplishing enough?
- Am I a good enough parent? Employee? Employer?
- Am I pretty/handsome enough?
- Am I old/young enough?
The list goes on, but basically, it becomes:
Am I good enough?
Or, more simply:
Am I enough?
In these times of juggling work and home life priorities, and especially with the added pressure of social media and increasingly-invasive marketing, we are bombarded with constant reminders that we could do more, be more, be better.
So, that word enough comes up more often than ever before.
Even my own book might be asking the question: Are you happy enough?
This makes me wonder, though:
Can we truly be Happier if we always feel we fall short? If we don’t like ourselves enough? If we aren’t Happier with ourselves?
It seems that a lot falls back onto self-esteem.
So what is the answer?
This past weekend, I did a live-and-in-person presentation and tucked in my shirt for maybe the first time in months. One part of me immediately jumped to “not thin enough”, then to “not stylish enough”…and I had to literally stop myself from going down the Rabbit hole of Low Esteem with one of my own Seven Core Phrases: It Is What It Is.
Instead of telling myself, I am beautiful and capable, I changed the words to this:
I’m not the prettiest in the room, or the thinnest in the room – or the youngest.
And, to my great surprise – it suddenly all seemed okay.
I took the pressure off of myself.
And proceeded with great confidence.
Wow, what a surprise that was!
Still, all I really did was apply the second, instead of the first (my usual go-to) of these two simple “secrets” to being happier (the “raise your gratitude, lower your expectations” maxim) to self-worth:
- Raise gratitude for who you are, what you’ve done, and all the love you share
- Lower, or at least examine your expectations of yourself. No one is happy all the time. No one perfectly balances work and home life. No one is ever “done” with this journey of self-discovery and learning. Be where you are. Appreciate it.
Taken further, Happier Made Simple’s Seven Core Concepts/Phrases can be used even more specifically. Try these:
BEING: Be Here Now = Where you are in the journey of you is where you need to be- for now.
REALITY: It Is What It Is = Some things will not change. You may have gray hair, five extra pounds, or extra pressure at work. Make changes when you can, but know that sometimes you can’t.
ENGAGEMENT: We’re All Connected = You are not alone. Everyone has self-doubt, I’m certain of it. If they say they don’t ever doubt themselves, my guess is that maybe they’re not being entirely truthful. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
APPRECIATION: This is Good = This is the time to maybe make a list, or at least think about, all that is good in your life, and all you have done so far. All that IS working, does get accomplished or is also okay as it is for now – including imperfections. Hug your kids. Notice the miracle of running water. Remind yourself that Facebook posts do NOT accurately reflect the whole messy picture of someone else’s life.
TRUST: All Will Be Well. = Things do tend to work out – maybe not always the way we intended. That to-do list makes you feel like you’ll never be enough? Most of it gets done eventually. Sometimes by others.
HUMOR: Isn’t That Interesting? = What makes us imperfect, makes us human. And the “weaknesses” we admit to are often what can be most endearing about us – because trust me others can relate. The more we can laugh at ourselves (not at others!), the more connected and accepting we can feel.
ESTEEM: Whatever Happens, I’ll Handle It Somehow = This one is all about the strength we have but forget to acknowledge. You are already awesome. Look at all you are doing, have done, have survived.
You are already a rock star – and it isn’t all about goals you have reached, and things you have accomplished.
I have a goal for my book Happier Made Simple to sell 100,000 copies, reach a lot of people, and change lives. Needless to say, I’m far from that goal at this writing – and after the excitement of launch day, I find myself feeling inadequate when I see the excitement of other launches.
So I have to take my own advice and chill out a bit. Be optimistic enough to do the work to get the book out there, but also work on being okay with whatever happens.
Trust that All Will Be Well.
At least I will have tried my very best. I’m doing the work, taking the risks, aiming high – but also knowing I’m a fine human being either way. This, too, takes work.
And that’s worthy of self-esteem.
Notice if you’re judging yourself too harshly, or inaccurately - and restore the balance so you can keep going.
Yes. You ARE enough. And so am I. Warts and all.
Randye Kaye's two bestselling books, Happier Made Simple and Ben Behind His Voices, are tied into her work as a motivational speaker, radio and podcast host, actress, singer, teacher, and mental health advocate - as well as her life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. Life balance is key - and a key to Happier.
She has narrated over 165 audiobooks so far, all available on Audible. She also presents keynotes and workshops on all Seven Core Concepts and Phrases to be Happier - more simply.
Randye harnesses the power of words in all aspects of her work. Her first book, Ben Behind His Voices: One Family’s Journey from the Chaos of Schizophrenia to Hope, was nominated for a Publisher’s Weekly Award. She lives with her family in Connecticut. www.randyekaye.com and www.happiermadesimple.com
Photo credit: from Pexels: Montsera - Insta @bolovtsova, Insta @selivonka, Julia M Cameron, Roland Thomas - Twitt. @TFamilylife / Insta @TFamlife, Energetic - Insta @energepic