Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “enough” as meaning occurring in such quantity, quality, or scope as to fully satisfy demands or needs; in or to a degree or quantity that satisfies or that is sufficient or necessary for satisfaction.
This six-letter word gets bandied around each day by nearly everyone. It’s used as much in casual speech as in formal declarations. And yet, what does it really mean in the social sense?
Someone says “as soon as we have enough money, we’ll take the long-dreamed-for vacation.” The person has a dream, to be shared with another. A question arises from what the person believes to be “enough” money for the dream to come true. With each ensuing month of savings, the cost of that dream vacation fluctuates with inflation and rising prices. Without thinking about, or calculating additional funds commensurate with those rising prices, the person will never have “enough” money for his/her vacation.
Adding to the confusion of the word’s use and meaning is the individual’s definition. Enough money for one isn’t the same as that for another. Vacation dreams vary according to the person.
When is enough food enough for a family? Or, enough space. Do people really need 5K square feet of house in order to feel satisfied or adequate? What do they use the space for and how much of that space is in use at any given time?
The above question demands another definition—that of need. Definition: a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful; a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism; a condition requiring supply or relief; lack of the means of subsistence; to be in want; to be needful or necessary; to be under necessity or obligation to.
Now that need is defined, the question about where ‘enough’ comes into the equation can be asked. When looking at the question, modern Western philosophy seems to favor the desirable/want part of “need’s” definition. Wants and desires become psychological requirements within the culture. Social status and an individual’s feeling of well-being within his/her social order become dependent upon following the herd down a fixed road of desired requirements.
From this stage, the definition of satisfaction comes into play. And on and on. These concepts and other related ones hang from the same personal string as so many beads around the neck of each person living.
The needs and desires of those required by circumstance to live in slums or on the street are as valid and immutable as those of people living in gated estate communities featuring properties valued in the millions of dollars.
Was post-WWII society to blame for this conceptual confusion in the disparity of lifestyle and self-worth, regarding need vs. want, enough vs. satisfaction, and adequate vs. exceptional? Or, was abundance of supply, following a critical time of deprivation in our history, the tournament winner that took the crown and mounted the throne of social change.
“Enough” has been on my mind lately and my definition of it in my life. My grandmother had three rules of living, which I’ve worked to follow all of my life.
- Live the Golden Rule
- Whatever you give to another who has need, must be the best you have to offer that person.
- You must learn to want what you have and desire only what you get.
Living the third rule is difficult until you realize that everything comes down to balance. By following this rule, one is always satisfied, regardless of supply vs. demand, want vs. need, and status vs. happiness.
- The Difference Between Contentment and Complacency: Guest Post by Lindsay Harrel (jeannetakenaka.wordpress.com)
- Normal doesn’t mean true (healthwellnessandsuccess.wordpress.com)
- Kiwis feeling content with their lot (stuff.co.nz)
- Satisfaction from fulfilling desires? (ptsdawayout.com)