My mother often used the phrase “enough is enough.” We interpreted the saying, unusually accompanied with a stern voice, to mean she was tired of behavior she found unacceptable. Raising four children was no picnic, and at times our actions, wants, and needs understandably moved her to frustration.
So, when is enough enough?
One dictionary defines enough: “To attain, achieve as much or as many as necessary, desirable or tolerable; sufficient. The amount or number needed, desired or allowed; sufficient. As much or as often as necessary; to the required degree or amount; sufficiently. Fully. Just adequately.”
It is the task of each of us to decide what is necessary, desirable, and sufficient. My mother’s level of tolerance for the antics of her children may well be different from those of her neighbor or close friend.
Only we can decide when enough is enough in work, love, and life.
Here are some areas to examine:
Knowing Enough — When do we stop searching and learning, and start putting what we know into practice?
Loving Enough — How long do we continue the pattern of blaming and running in search of the perfect partner?
Having Enough — Does more stuff really fill the empty place inside?
Working Enough — What is the cost of putting work first? Do we live to work? Or work to live?
Doing Enough — What purpose does continual doing serve in our lives?
Balancing Enough — How do we keep our focus on the big picture and work for balance between family, work, and leisure over an entire lifetime?
“Enoughness’ doesn’t mean voluntary poverty — it means discovering who you really are,” points out Vicki Robin, co-author of Your Money or Your Life.
She notes that people content with enough have four traits in common:
- They have a sense of purpose.
- They can account for their money.
- They have an internal yardstick for fulfillment.
- They have a sense of responsibility for the world.
As we struggle with both our personal and our societal woes, may we each take a hard look at this concept of “enough,” do some serious re-evaluating of what is important, make some hard choices and deliberate changes, dig in our heals and shout: Enough is enough!