Why humans might never feel enough

and what we should do instead

There’s one thing that I believe a lot of writers and authors would agree with me.

Publishing a book is scary.

Some might think it is about the fear of not getting any copy sold and being trapped in a major financial problem. Well, yeah, that’s obviously one valid concern. But it’s not the type of fear that I would like to talk about here.

Writing — and eventually publishing — a book is scary because you would let yourself become completely vulnerable. Through writing a book, you’d be stripping down and be “naked” in front of your readers. Your thoughts and beliefs would be exposed with a very minimum cover of a skin. Even if you were writing a fiction book with some made up characters and well designed plot, your thoughts and parts of your soul would spread here and there in the manuscript. It is scary because when anyone makes judgment about your book, it would be quite challenging to take a distance between your personal self with your creation. You would be scared that your true self being judged and not being accepted.

If it’s so scary, then why authors still want to proceed in creating books and let themselves being vulnerable? I personally don’t think they do it simply because they want to blindly follow their passion. There must be something more than that. But before answering that question, I’d like to invite you to get to know the face and the roots of this fear even better. Because let’s just admit it, that the fear of judgment is actually within most of human being. It is within us.

Human race is in a race

When we reach adulthood, for different reasons and experiences, it is just easy for us to feel that we are not enough — we are not smart enough, we are not pretty enough, we are not rich enough, we don’t get likes on Facebook enough, we are just not good enough.

This feeling of not enough is strongly driven by fear. A fear that could be a result of the compilation of past experiences, any trauma, old beliefs, or external perceptions and also social pressure. We apparently internalize that fear and it could go to the surface in our daily life in the form of negative energy, bitterness, complaints, or the judgments we give to others. It is not difficult to have some fear, to feel scared of being not “enough” and therefore being not accepted in the society where we want to belong to. Though it is usually left unsaid, it is rooted deep in our adult heart.

When we don’t feel enough, it becomes quite an issue to think that we have the capacity to give something to others, or even to think that we have the capacity to do something important to us.

Viral advertisements and appealing commercial marketing strategies also do not help much. It is within the message saying: “you would look better if you use this, you would feel great when you do that, you would feel more comfortable if you buy this”, that strengthens the beliefs that we are not enough. They are able to subconsciously attack adults’ fear and promoting misleading solution for our esteem as one of human basic needs of being accepted in the society.

The timeline in our social medias that show how happy our peers are, their achievement in career and in the different aspects of their personal life, the newest trend and places, could also effect our subconscious in putting us to this endless life race. It again tell us that we need to chase what seems ideal, in order for us to be good enough.

By the way, I coincidentally found this interesting video that explains about our scarcity culture of being not enough. Check this one out to understand the roots of the not good enough feeling:

“It is not about not having bread when we are physically starving”

I personally believe that choosing one particular lifestyle is anyone’s full rights to do, as long as it doesn’t give any harm to others, the same as the right to share anything people want to share in their social media account.

The core reason of understanding this real condition in our society and the continuous impact on today’s marketing message is not to say that it is wrong to choose particular brand and wanting some high quality products and services for our lives and for those people we love. When people indeed have the capacity to purchase products or lifestyle and the ability to choose among different options, there’s nothing wrong to have some specific preference for ourselves.

The importance of having this discussion is to realize that there is a common tendency in our society for people to pursue materials beyond their capacity to impress others, in order for them to feel better about themselves, to feel that they can be accepted and perceived as ideal by their surroundings.

Without a clear understanding of the core reason, this tendency would never go to an end. This type of conversation is crucial to see how it might be impossible for human being to feel completely secured and enough in satisfying the ongoing demand from our noisy world. It is to see that we would never be able to fully catch up with what we thought the society expect us to be.

Sometimes, it is not about reality of one extreme side whether we are completely secured or experience scarcity. It is not about not having bread when we are physically starving. It could be a craving feeling when our stomach is actually full. It could be something that has been rooted deep but unseen, when the feeling of not enough is sourced from the emptiness of one soul. And in the process of making ourselves feel good enough through keep on following external demands, we never reach the decent level, and it could actually make us feel even emptier inside.

The antidote

Eventually, here comes the unfortunate truth, there is a really slim chance for a person to ever arrive in that stage of “I feel completely enough, secured, and safe”. While it’s impossible to be enough through meeting the expectation of our noisy world. Besides trying to spend more quality time with your self and turn off the noisy world from time to time, there is another thing we could also try to do.

Many might think that when we give and contribute to others, we would withdraw something from what we have, hence we would have even less than before. While what we should understand instead is:

Contribution is actually an act of sharing what has been given to us.

It is an act of “paying it forward” from things that were never been our own initial belongings. Things that are intended to be shared and to be used to serve others. When we contribute to other people, we would realize more than ever, how we have been blessed with what has been given to us — the talent, the opportunity to explore some knowledge, the experience, our skills and capacity.

Without even having the need to compare our circumstances with others’, through contributing, we’d realize that we have been blessed with more than enough, hence we can even share some part of it to others.

It is an art of giving.

It is also an act of gratitude.

And, if you believe, you would receive even more — possibly in different shape and forms.

Financial concern usually becomes a common reason for people to delay or neglect their natural desire to contribute. Either to think that it is another cost to do charity or it is a waste of time doing voluntary work while you need to start securing career for life. (Yes, it’s all coming back to the thought: “How could I think about contributing to other people while I don’t have enough for myself?”)

While it is also not realistic to say that money should not be a factor in making decisions in life, I believe that contribution should not be perceived as an obstacle to gain and to be in financial stability. Contribution is not only delivered in a form of charity or any particular part time voluntary project that makes you being in absence of actually making a living. We can indeed make a living through contributing, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Contribution is not necessarily ought to be delivered through an extreme act of sacrificing and suffering. It can be in the activities in a professional career that you do with a clarity of how it would give long term impact to others.

There are countless possible ways to have a career that can contribute great things to society. It could be through a different type of independent professions, roles in government, non corporate sector, to even countless various roles in corporates that have vision to improve the state of society through their businesses. Contribution can be — and I personally think, should be — delivered in balance, while trusting that when you do good, you shall always be provided. It is to also believe that you are enough.

So again, why do writers write?

Different writers or authors might have different intention in starting the first page of their book, but I do believe, at some points, they would experience similar massive fear.

Being committed to writing thousands of words for months, or even years, with a possibility of being judged even rejected, I really think that the intention is not as simple as to be a billionaire from selling those written papers. While being scared of what the circumstances would be when the book is published, I personally believe that it is actually one of the best medicines for people who never feel good enough about themselves.

No matter how scary it is, an author continues writing a book because he/she feels the pleasure in making the contribution through sharing thoughts, ideas, or stories, that they believe worth sharing. They believe that the thoughts they share would eventually help those people in need. Writers write not because people would say they’re great, because some people would definitely judge badly, no matter what. And in that weird way, they would understand, that they are good enough.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this piece, or if you also think that contribution should be a lifestyle to follow, please hit the little heart shape to share the idea. Would be great if you want to also share “what does your heart want to contribute?” Let’s keep the ball rolling :)