Let it be enough

Every weekend I say to myself, “I wish I had one more day.” When I meet someone interesting on an airplane I think, “I’d like to hang out with this person again.” Every time I taste something delicious, I want one more bite. On days when I look and feel my best, I desire to look and feel that way every day.

I want to hold onto what is pleasing and multiply it. I want more.

This is a dangerous way of thinking, however. When we get caught in the self-perpetuating spiral of wanting and craving, we reliably end up disappointed, empty, and incomplete.

We must learn to let our experiences be enough — even the good ones.

Let go of happy times

It’s strange to think that holding onto happy memories can cause discomfort. And it’s often helpful to remember the good times and channel our warm-fuzzy feelings as motivation and fond reminders.

But holding onto good experiences so much that we cling to the past and grasp for more is the same as holding onto bad experiences. It’s the same thought process and the same attachment behavior.

In order to truly release negative thoughts and feelings from our beings, we must learn to release positive thoughts and feelings, too, so they don’t sour us and become sources of suffering.

We are bound to experience both happiness and sadness to varying degrees, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with either.

But when we attach ourselves to happiness or sadness, we surrender our sovereignty to circumstance and are no longer able to live in peace exactly where we are. We get stuck wanting things to remain the same or wanting them to be dramatically different.

I find that when I feel grateful for an experience (good or bad), I’m able to let it be enough without wanting more or less.

I focus on how wonderful it was to learn something new or test myself. I recognize that I grew and changed slightly because of the experience and am better equipped to face similar experiences in the future.

But of course, I’m not always successful.

There will still be days of dwelling

Let’s work on letting our experiences be enough, but let’s also give ourselves some slack.

Being human means that we will mess up sometimes (or many times). And that’s totally okay.

Let’s not dwell on the times when we couldn’t detach ourselves and still craved more and more. Let’s just let those feelings of wanting run their course, intercepting our thoughts when we can, and once we gain control over our minds again, let’s set that whole dwelling thing aside and get back to the present.

So, not only must we let our experiences be enough, we must also let our efforts in “letting it be enough” be enough in order to continue our way through life in the present.

Reflect (but not too long)

Think about something that lingers in your mind. It may be an event, a friendship, a first-place trophy, or a vacation.

How much mental energy do you spend wanting that experience to happen again? How much do you define yourself based on that experience?

Practice mentally setting that experience aside. Picture it vividly in your mind, and then imagine yourself holding the experience in your hands and setting it down on the ground beside you. Then look away from it.

Be grateful that you had that experience and regain focus on the present moment so that you can live the experience you are currently in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.