What If You Have Enough?
My father is the happiest person I know. He owns a small business, has created countless jobs for people in his community, has a successful marriage of over 30 years, a big fun crazy family and way too many friends. He’s always laughing, always looking on the bright side, and he’s always felt abundant… because he’s always felt he had enough.
We hardly talk about it, but we come from really humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic. My mom is from a campo in Neiba, my dad is from the hood in Santo Domingo, and when we moved to New York City we lived in the Castle Hill projects with my grandparents in an apartment nearly all of my aunts, uncles and cousins lived in at one point or another.
Today I’m part of a generation of cousins that has benefited from an American education and now has professional careers. Amongst us we have teachers, police officers, computer scientists, philanthropists, social workers, veterinarians, audio engineers, and the list goes on. We’ve bought property – many of us being the first people in our nuclear families to buy a house – and we’ve traveled, seeing more of the world than our parents thought imaginable.
Despite our significant strides, we live in a culture of perpetual wanting rooted in hyper-capitalism that has conditioned us to always want more, strive for more, achieve more. More. More. More. Always More. But what if you genuinely feel that what you have is enough? What if deep down, like my dad, you really are satisfied with your life and where you are?
In a hyper-capitalist society contentment is counter-culture and breeds criticism. When you feel you have enough, others judge you. They say you lack ambition, that you’re not rising to your full potential, and that you’re stagnating. Those criticisms can creep in and create discontent and self-doubt imposed on you by those convinced that living in a perpetual state of wanting is the best way to live.
Well I’m here to tell you that it’s not.
Feeling that you have enough, that you have what you need and that you don’t need more is a beautiful feeling rooted in gratitude. To feel that you have a good partner and are not swiping for another one, that you have a nice home and don’t need a larger one, that you make enough money because you can pay your bills and save some for the future is, in fact, enough.
Feelings of enoughness are good for our mental health and are good for the planet. To free ourselves from always wanting allows us to enjoy what we do have and help others. Consuming less also means less pollution, less degradation of natural resources, and can help slow down climate change.
We don’t need to want forever.
If you’re doing well it’s ok to admit that you have enough, and instead of amassing more of what you don’t need, help those truly in need reach a point where they too have enough. It’s the most beautiful and fulfilling way for all of us to get ahead; I learned that from my dad.