Very recently, I was alone in a room with my friend Cassandra’s husband, Bill. Our conversation turned into him telling me how much he loved my best friend.
Bill exclaimed passionately,
“After twenty years, my love for her hasn’t changed. You will never meet another person like Cassandra. She is the best wife and friend I could ever have. Soon as I met her, I was captivated by her soul. Although she is beautiful, I didn’t care what she looked like. Her soul is the best thing about her. Cassandra will never do you wrong. She will always be reliable. She is extremely intelligent and ambitious. She’s wild and free. And she is also the most thoughtful and generous person you could ever meet. I want no one else. No one is as good as Cassandra. She is enough.”
I was floored. Never in my life had anyone said that I was enough for them.
Every word that Bill said about Cassandra was true. Cassandra possesses one of the most beautiful souls that I had ever known. Whenever you stepped into Casandra’s home, she treated you like family. She was extremely sensitive to other people’s emotions and would be there in a second if you needed her. I had never met someone that has such an open heart. Without judgment, she has been there for me through all the good times and the bad. She knows how to make me laugh, she knows how to cook anything, and she was knowledgable in everything and anything. If there was a chance at causing mischief, she was right there beside me. She is a genuine rarity. And it’s also the very reason why I will always consider her to be one of my best friends. She was also enough for me.
Bill and Cassandra are true partners in crime. They travel the world together and continue to make plans for future destinations. From Europe to Asia to Africa to South America, they have been travel buddies for more than two decades. Their passion for each other is still there and they are quite literally the only stable couple that I had ever seen in my entire life.
Growing up, my only understanding of a relationship was typically a broken one.
My maternal grandparents stayed married for more than fifty years. Since my mother was a single parent, they were one of my primary caretakers. But as much as I loved them, I would always see them fighting passionately over minuscule issues every single day.
My parents separated at an early age and so as I got to know my father, I learned that he had chosen to follow the footsteps of my grandfather.
My grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side were also married for more than fifty years, but they had an arranged marriage. While they did love each other, my grandfather secretly had another family with another woman. My father also did the same but with two other women in the Philippines.
On both sides, multiple members of my family have had affairs.
None of my parent's friends stayed together. We were all products of divorce.
I literally knew no one who had a stable, healthy relationship.
As someone with Borderline Personality Disorder, all I knew was to communicate impulsively and vengefully. Without thinking, I would always make cutting comments to the ones I loved most.
So I grew up to only understand broken hearts.
Divorce. Insecurity. Vindictiveness.
I believed in the probability of nothing lasting forever. And if it does, no one is truly happy. They get bored. They lie. They manipulate. They cheat.
Because no one was never truly enough.
I thought this perspective was normal. I looked at the stats of having a successful partnership and felt hopeless.
- Almost 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation.
- Researchers estimate that 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce.
- 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
- 73 percent of all third marriages end in divorce.
I was a skeptic. It appeared as though the odds were not in my favor. Knowing this has always led me to an increasing amount of paranoia and fear to trust in someone else in every single relationship. Before I was in therapy, my insecurities led me to believe I was never enough for them and they would eventually leave me once they come to their senses.
So how do you exactly measure enough?
The connotation of enough is simply a positive and a negative term. It straddles the good, the bad, and the mediocre.
Enough for me. Not enough. Enough is enough.
Never thin enough. Never curvy enough. Never rich enough. Never pretty enough. Never popular enough. Never happy enough. Never fair enough.
More. More. More.
When do we finally stand still?
When do we surrender?
The curiosity of the what-ifs can consume us. If we were all born to be satisfied with life as it is, then we would have never made any discoveries.
No explorers. No scientists. No doctors. No philosophers. No activists.
As humans, are we built to be naturally unsatisfied?
Is it okay that we are naturally curious and want options?
So what is enough for me?
My dog Daisy is absolutely enough.
She is the only stable relationship I have ever had. She is the light of my life and I love her unconditionally.
My friends are enough.
I’m no longer interested in having a billion acquaintances. Now that I am in my thirties, I have become tired of partying with people every weekend only to find that we engage in surface-level conversations. Those people were not enough. I needed more validation and substance in my life. But with my close circle of friends, we laugh, they challenge me, we learn from each other, and they have been by my side at my best and my worst. Those bonds with my friends continue to strengthen even more over time.
My job is enough.
I love my day job. I drank the company kool-aid. I have a passion for what I do. I’m excited that this career can lead to so many opportunities. I love my team. I love being part of an innovative community. I love that each day is different. I love that I get to meet a lot of prestigious people. I love that I can laugh and still be myself. I love that without judgment, my team was there for me even when I had a breakdown and landed myself in a mental hospital.
Other than that, my ambition drives me.
I want to see how far I can go down the rabbit hole of life.
What will my resume look like at my funeral?
What can I accomplish?
How will I be remembered?
I am also a perfectionist.
So in ways, my work will never be good enough. Despite any positive feedback from readers, I always think, my book could be better. My article could be better. I could be better. I am competing with no one but myself.
Nothing is ever perfect. Nothing is ever finished. An artist will always want to add more to their painting. A musician will always want to change their song. And a writer will always want to add more to her story.
But is it wrong to have such high standards for yourself?
Where does one draw the line of feeling enough versus not good enough?
How do we ever truly know something or someone is enough?
What gives someone else the right to say, “you’re not good enough?”
Do our fantasies really ever end?
Yet when it comes to love, all we really want is to possess that feeling of being enough for someone else. We yearn for the comfort in knowing that they truly love you. They are loyal to you. They are faithful to you. They appreciate you. They respect you. They understand you. They would fight for you. They will die for you. And hopefully, those same feelings they have for you would also be reciprocated back to them.
That night when I spoke to Bill, he unknowingly managed to change my beliefs. Seeing that Bill felt as though Cassandra really was enough for him, made me accept the notion that we really can find that special person. That the impossible is quite literally possible.
But instead of holding our breaths for that unknown partner, maybe we should reframe our thinking and simply say,
“I am good enough.”
I love myself. I am true to myself. I appreciate myself. I respect myself. I understand myself. I would fight for myself.
Perhaps the world will never be enough for me.
Perhaps I will always raise the bar higher each time I accomplish something.
I am good enough to know that I can do anything I put my mind to.
I am good enough to try and achieve my dreams.
I am strong enough to handle anything.
Life is only enough for us in a series of moments in time.
Your first love,
…they were enough at the time.
Your old friend that you never speak to anymore,
…they were enough at the time.
Your first home,
…that was enough space at the time.
Your old car,
…it was fast enough at the time.
Your recent promotion and raise,
…that was enough money at the time.
That two week holiday in Spain,
…that was filled with enough adventure at the time.
That great sex you just had,
…those orgasms were enough at the time.
The varying levels of happiness and desire for each person are vast and in this life, amazing lovers and friends are far and few. But when you are struck with that momentary sensation of love and satisfaction, it should be stopped and appreciated nonetheless.
When I recently reunited with Cassandra, it had been forever since I last saw her face to face. Due to distance, we only saw each other every few years.
But in one single day of being with her and her other best friend, Anastasia, I was reminded of a euphoric feeling that I had long forgotten.
The day began with empty beaches under sunny skies which was followed by a girl's night out. From there it was a blur of mischief, adventure, and most importantly — endless laughter.
I started off 2020 at a mental hospital.
Since then, I have been desperately trying to master the art of laughing again.
That night, we all stayed up until dawn. There are videos and photos of us quite literally rolling on the floor hysterically giggling until we were gasping for air to breathe again. Cassandra, Anastasia, and I couldn’t believe all of the shenanigans we had gotten ourselves into that night.
I had never felt so much bliss with my best friend in one single day.
That night was unforgettable.
And that was enough for me.
….At the time.