So first of all, this title is supposed to be ironic. You see, I’ve got some beef with the whole ‘5 secrets to this, 10 secrets to that, the-one-big-secret-that’s-so-oh-my-god-you-can’t-believe-it-everything’s-going-to-be-different-now-so-click-here,’ schtick.
It’s like secret agent experts all over the webosphere are promising each other unicorns.
The ‘listed secret meme click bait’ preys off our feelings of inadequacy. It implies that I have something that you don’t, that you need me in order to be beautiful or successful or write a best seller in 4 days or whatever garbage people are trying to get you to buy.
Of course it’s possible I’m just being a crab face about the whole thing and sprinkled too much cynicism in my coffee this morning. Maybe people are ‘sharing their secrets’ like sorority sisters, generously contributing to each other’s wholeness. But for the most part, the ‘secret list to breakthrough results’ smells like a farce to me, it wafts in with painful insistence that I’m not enough as I am and I’ll only be adequate or whole with your product or revelatory information or formula.
In fact, this whole consumerist machine is built on inadequacy, or at least convincing us all that this is a fact. It could be argued that I’d be out of a job if people oriented from a place of sufficiency. I don’t think that’s true.
The culture of ‘not enough.’
We’re so inside it that it’s almost impossible to imagine what we’d do with our time if we weren’t trying to make more money, look more perfect, acquire more stuff or be mo’ better. So what would happen if we were actually operating from a place of sufficiency rather than lack? Would we let ourselves go? Would we lose all drive? Would we not buy anything ever again? Well, we would probably stop associating sugar water with happiness, that’s for damn sure.
This question, that comes in many forms, is posed a lot as rebuttal: If I truly believed I was enough and I had enough, wouldn’t I just become complacent? Lazy? Nothing more than a disgraceful lump of everything I’ve been working my tail off not to degenerate into?
Fear of inadequacy perpetuating feeling inadequate
It’s interesting; that the need to be adequate, the striving to be enough is what many of us assume gets us moving.
But it’s also what paralyzes us, isn’t it? It’s also what has us stumble, question ourselves, and our value, intelligence, attractiveness…the list goes on. It’s what has us pass on taking risks or moving toward what we most want to create.
Fear of inadequacy or insufficiency is what has you stifle your self-expression, dim your light or Photoshop your spontaneous selfie.
Living from sufficiency
Experiencing adequacy, sufficiency, and self-acceptance doesn’t make us complacent, they make us brave; they give us a view beyond ourselves to stretch into with gifts in hand. They give us a foundation of wholeness from which to express ourselves and offer our care and creativity.
Operating from a place of sufficiency, feeling our own adequacy and not being identified with lack, all the while still growing our capacities, exploring our limitations and moving toward something beyond ourselves, requires us to be able to hold the paradox of it all. And yes, it is a paradox. Complete as we are AND creating, expanding and serving from that completeness.
It’s like the age-old joke about enlightenment, that we go seeking it only to find that it’s available when we stop seeking. Must we seek and develop a relationship of sufficiency through trying to cure our experience of inadequacy? Perhaps.
5 Perspectives on sufficiency.
This is all I really have to say on the topic for now, but since I promised you a list of 5, I’ll give you one. Let’s not call them secrets though; let’s call them perspectives to consider. And if they make sense to you at all, if you can recognize them, even if just a little yes in the soul, then they were in you all along. See…sufficiency.
1. The world is relative. We are all partial. We can’t be great at everything. We can’t know everything, be everything, have unlimited capacity, bottomless depth. The problem is not that each of us has shortcomings when measured against each other, the problem is that we judge our shortcomings or partiality, we interpret them as some kind of inadequacy.
2. Sufficiency and perfection are different. And perfection isn’t real. See point 1. Experiencing our own wholeness INCLUDES acknowledging and accepting our imperfections. Easier said than done. But if you’re caught in the race to perfection, it will be a painful and laborious loss.
3. Growth and development as a commitment and expression. It is possible to seek change, to want to grow and expand for reasons other than to fix what’s wrong with you. All of our continued growth and increased capacity means that we can offer our gifts more deeply and serve what’s needed from us.
4. Seek what’s needed of you. When our attention is on our own shortcomings, our attention is on ourselves. Reach your attention beyond yourself and feel into how what you have (instead of what you lack,) can be used or offered to the moment. This, is an expression of sufficiency.
5. Fall in love with your character. You have tendencies, idiosyncrasies, ways that you’ve always kind of been. Instead of holding them up in the court of mind, measuring them against a constructed ideal, explore the ways they give you texture and depth, notice how endearing you truly are, claiming these qualities as what you stand on while you move from moment to moment.