“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.”

–Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth:  Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.

Enough is a mindset, not an acquisition.  It is not something we get from outside of ourselves by working harder, buying more, giving much to others, achieving the best—or in receiving accolades from others.

Others cannot define us and our worthiness.  We must assume that responsibility.

Living with a sense of enough begins with giving to ourselves first, the internal validation of knowing we are valuable “as is” whether we have money, credentials or any other external markings of success.

So many talented people I know have stopped short of excelling in their fields, or even in making their work visible, thinking erroneously they are not good enough because they do not have a degree or enough training, experience or certification to validate their innate talents and precious gifts.

Others live feeling “less than” because they cannot contribute financially to the degree they hoped, forgetting the emotional support and physical presence they provide others are of themselves valuable contributions.

There are singles who feel they are not attractive enough to find a mate, athletes not strong enough to win, and kids not good enough to win their parents’ or others’ love and approval.  The lists go on and on in the ways we can be conditioned by societal standards to feel less than.

Coincidentally, I began preparing the seminar I am teaching tonight  (CLAIMING YOUR VALUE) the week of Whitney Houston’s tragic death.  During one of her interviews with Diane Sawyer which was replayed many times, Whitney said she never felt “enough” to perform with Kevin Costner in the movie, The Body Guard.  Her fame, beauty and talent could not give her the sense of greatness that she was unable to claim for herself.

At the other end of the spectrum, I recall my daughter returning from volunteering at an orphanage in Africa a few years ago, sharing with me a significant observation she had.   She said the children she worked with were the happiest people she had ever known.  Yet, they had no parents and were living with AIDS.  Their sense of abundance exceeded what many of us experience, who have so much “more” in basic life needs met.  The reason I suspect they exuded such joy was the gratitude they felt for people like my daughter who loved, nurtured and cared for them.

Being grateful is key to feeling a sense of enough.  Taking inventory of what we have versus what is missing can cause an instant shift in any feelings of lack.

Another way we can shift into knowing we are enough is to stop immediately, pause and regroup whenever we feel compelled to give more or too much, buy more or overextend ourselves in any way to prove our worth.  Overcompensating or giving-to-get does not work as the inauthenticity of such a strategy eventually backfires in either burnout or resentment, and often both.

We lose our power when we consistently try too hard or go to the plate for others at the expense of ourselves.  Saying “no” and setting boundaries with others who ask too much of us often turns out to be a big “yes” to reclaiming feelings of self-love.

You are enough for being you.  Take the time to appreciate and value your uniqueness—without comparing yourself to anyone or any external standards of perfection or success.

  “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”–Anna Quindlen


  I allow myself to know I am enough.

  We are ENOUGH –coming from our own center amidst the ripples of life –as exemplified by Beth Shedd’s beautiful nature photo.



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  • Deb says:

    Love the Tolle quote and your always wise and insightful words, Gail. Exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thanks!

    • Gail says:

      You’re welcome, Deb. We all need to hear we are “ENOUGH”–lovable for our uniqueness, “as is.” I think it’s one of the most important beliefs to teach our children as well. Tolle is brilliant in the way he encourages us to stay centered in ourselves, our Presence, the creation of the moment.

  • Andy says:

    Great passage, Gail. Worth reading, keeping, and reading again to remind us of the importance of self value. It’s not about money, fame, importance, etc. Someone once said, “no one is worth the investment if the expense is ours.”

    • Gail says:

      Thanks, Andy…you have always been a man who has exemplified knowing the importance of your self-value, and how to best “measure it.” Your entrepreneurial and marketing skills, along with your courage to pursue a dream based on your passions for photography and art, are admirable. I am grateful for knowing you. Gail

  • Gus Rowe says:

    Outstanding Gail! This really speaks to me and I’m sure it will for others, so I’m sharing this special piece with those in my social circle. Thank you!!


    • Gail says:

      Gus: You are most welcome. I am glad to know my writing “spoke to you” ENOUGH, so much so that you so generously shared it with those in your social circle. I hope it inspires others to KNOW their value, from the inside out. Gail

  • Gail,
    This is a great reminder. For in the world of celebrity adoration and media glitz that we live in, the best that we can do is to be ourselves and find fulfillment and peace in that and focus on our gifts, not our shortcomings.

    • Gail says:

      And, Gail, you have been a great inspiration to others in focusing on their creative gifts. As a result of your guidance, many have brought forth their talents, and artistic products like books and paintings by claiming that they are indeed “enough” and “have enough” to contribute.

  • Ramsey a. bahrawy says:

    “You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” These words are so true. Someone can take away your possessions but not what is inside you – your education, your principles, your ethics, your kindness, your generosity, etc. As you said Gail, others can not define you. Trying to do so is a loser’s game. Unfortunately people look to the acceptance of others to determine their own self-esteem. That may seem to work in the beginning but usually results in heartache. Gail,as you said, people need to recognize that they are ENOUGH.

    • Gail says:

      Ramsey: Thanks for sharing. As you noted, no one can take away what is inside us. I have always considered that one of the gifts of our country’s recession has been that many people are now learning to take the time to look inside themselves for validation, instead of getting caught up in seeking external “things” to define themselves. Abundance comes in many forms–possessions are simply one of them. It’s okay and even delightful to have material comforts, but not be seduced in thinking they give us the same levels of security from knowing our innate value. Often, we instill a stronger sense of our value by making time to be quiet and connect to our souls, not staying busy chasing “things” (or other people’s approval of us).

  • Gregg Levoy says:

    Hi Gail,
    Goodwords about the fine and fearsome art of accepting ourselves “as we are.” And the critical role that gratitude plays in knowing that we’re ‘enough.’ Half of success, it seems, is simply noticing it.
    Keep up the good work. Gregg Levoy

    • Gail says:


      And your goodwords about gratitude and noticing success are inspiring as well…almost as much as your book, “Callings…Finding and Following An Authentic Life,” which I still recommend to all my clients. I look forward to hearing you speak again in May in Reading–and bringing a tribe with me. Gail

  • Nancy says:

    Thank you for your inspiring post, Gail. I especially connected with the need to pause and regroup before overextending — a helpful reminder that not everything needs to be handled immediately and to the “nth degree.”

    • Gail says:

      Nancy, I am so glad you were able to connect to my thought about pausing and regrouping before overextending. The self-care that comes with pausing before doing something from a sense of immediacy or to “the nth degree” often helps us make wiser choices not only for ourselves, but for others.

  • Doug Campbell says:

    So many times we fail to see what others see in ourselves.

    As we strive for perfection in our lives, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are not God. We are NOT perfect in a “perfect God like sense”. But, we are perfect for the role we are sent to play, and for the lives into which we chose to become involved with. We are perfectly capable of enriching the lives of those around us. Should we only choose to do so. Life is all about choices. Who do I choose to be? And the only truly acceptable answer is, myself! Thanks again for such an insightful blog. You always seem to know what I need To hear to help me on my journey . Strange how that works!

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