I am not accustomed to labels, in fact, I usually despise them because they create a stigma and stereotype. But I am stepping up and reporting a new syndrome. This syndrome has been plaguing our society for centuries and it is time for it to be understood. This syndrome is the root of so many of the other problems you face: weight issues, addictions, burn out, anxiety and depression to name a few. The cost of this syndrome to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being is beyond calculation. It is afflicting men and women of every race, every age and is rampantly, although unknowingly, being handed down to our children. Enough is enough! Literally and figuratively. The syndrome is “The Not Enough Syndrome” and it is about time this syndrome is uncovered and dealt with.
Signs & Symptoms of NES
- Over work
- Over preparation
- Lack of joy
- Perfectionist tendencies
- Obsessive tendencies
- Lack of self esteem
- Feeling of undeserving or unworthy
- Over achiever
- Cutting or self- harm
- People pleaser
- Back Pain
If you are thinking this pretty much describes everyone, well, you are not far off. It is an epidemic. With any syndrome, there are degrees of severity and we can classify NES into mild, moderate and severe. The more symptoms that apply, the more severe the NES.
Perhaps, right about now, you are at the first stage people go through with any syndrome-denial. Denial is a protective mechanism and can even take on a stronger form called defensiveness. We have a lot to lose in admitting that we have NES, because the very foundation that our society is built on is the root of the syndrome in the first place. We are oblivious to the problem and even scarier, we have disguised the problem in widely held and cherished beliefs. Beliefs like “only the best will win”, “survival of the fittest” or the more subtle one “I have to be my best”. All of these are derived from the root that there is not enough. The last one is cleverly disguised, but the underlying truth is that “your best” has a high standard that is based on a comparison to those you see around you.
Perhaps, the syndrome has reached epic portions because of the access to the online world, where you are forever seeing what you can compare yourself too; which raises our standards. Hell, now we can even compare ourselves to fifth graders, teen prodigies and instant reality stars. Seeing what others have, amplifies the feeling that we have less, or need more. Otherwise, how will we survive?
Rest assured, if you are vehemently disagreeing with this idea that we need to strive for more, to be better, that life depends on it, I fully understand, because NES has a hold of you. It is hard to see what you are stuck smack in the middle of. As a recovering NES sufferer, I absolutely understand you. In fact, the process of overcoming NES requires you to face some hard truths and have a close look at the way you live. That is scary and it is also why so many people would rather just continue living the way they are, complaining about aches and pains, not having enough time, getting old, feeling alone or unloved or being scared to live their life. Again, I hear you, I was you.
One of the hardest parts of this syndrome is that it is unnoticed and inadvertently being passed on to our children. It has been for decades, but it is getting worse. The access to more has had a reverse effect on us. Instead of satisfying our needs, it has created a need for more. When will enough be enough? It seems in our society, never. Better, faster, bigger are etched into our brains.
Parents will disguise this truth with thoughts like “I am just exposing junior to as many things as possible so he/she can figure out what they like.” Or, more honestly, I have heard them say “it is a competitive world and they will need it on their resume” (but they are only 5 years old). Or, “but all their friends are doing it and we don’t want them to feel left out, or miss out”. All of these are sneaky ways for NES to keep infiltrating our society.
Coupled with this is the tendency for parents to then want junior to excel at these activities. “Why is he/she not as fast, as good, as smart as so and so?” This causes parents to join the world of “not enough.” These are programmed innocently and quietly into the minds of the children and why the syndrome perpetuates. Soon, junior is thinking, feeling and acting in the same way.
The result? Well, look around you. It is not hard to see. We have more, alright. More of everything, including obesity, addictions, anxiety, depression, violence. When will enough be enough?
If you are in the thick of the syndrome, the word enough won’t even feel like an abundant word. It will feel like you have to say “more than enough” to resonate with the idea. I hear you, I was the same way, until I realized that that was because I still believed that enough was not enough. It is peculiar, enough by definition means “as much or as many as required”. So why, then, do we need more than is required?
There is a lot more to say on this topic. I am sure it will even ruffle some feathers. But, hopefully, it will also plant a few seeds and get you thinking about what you can do to change the way you are experiencing life. To fulfill all those dreams and desires you have for yourself, the truth is, you have to start feeling that there is enough, you have enough and you are enough. When you reach this state of being, all those things you were trying to achieve will start to happen in ways that feel rich and joyful. Without all of the unwanted NES side effects!
The good news is there is a simple and easy cure for NES and all of its side effects! Start living as though enough is enough. Affirm there is enough, I have enough, I am enough and watch the world open up to you.