What does 'good enough' mean?

Posted by Gay McKinley on April 05, 2016 . 0 Comments

Descriptions from Thesaurus.com relating to "good enough" include: wise, capable, desirable, competent, qualified, becoming, equipped, fitting, attractive, suitable, satisfactory, adequate, gratifying, delightful....I could go on and on and on.

But I expect for most of us when we hear the term, we don't hear any of the above descriptors.

Do words such as: inadequate, mediocre, not quite there, unacceptable, unfit - in fact, not good enough - have a greater resonance?  I believe so.

And yet, being 'good enough' is a state many of us aspire to and desire.

For me it is a conundrum and a paradox.  How can we desire to 'be' something that is patently 'undesirable'.  Who wants to be mediocre or inadequate?  But who wants to be good enough?

I was recently in a writers' workshop describing my forthcoming book On Becoming Good Enough and the above dilemma.  A few people were scratching their heads and one said to me: "I think it's the word 'enough' that's the problem."  So I checked it out.

Same source - Thesaurus.com.  Synonyms for 'enough' included: abundant, sufficient, ample, full, plentiful, unlimited (!), satisfactory, bountiful, bounteous, copious.  Oh to have copious amounts of 'good'.

And 'good' is? Marvellous, deluxe, first class, rad, splendid, accomplished, proficient, dependable, sound, eatable, righteous, valuable.  Many, many more.

So how did 'good enough' come to be 'not good enough'?

As I am writing about this very subject, and my own and my clients' struggle to regain "good enoughness", I would be interested in anyone's viewpoint on this.

I suspect that when we are looking outwards to a thing, a work, painting, document, thesis, building, scaffolding, meal, knitted jumper, decorated cake, embroidery, photograph, whatever, and it is described as 'good enough', it is seen as below par.

When we look inwards to ourselves, 'good enough' becomes not only desirable and worthwhile, but for the most part, unattainable and impossible.

The fact is we were born good enough - what new born babe could not be?  Somewhere along the way we can lose sight of it; it gets locked away behind a closed shutter; we can lose the knowing that we are.  And if we have, we owe it to ourselves to regain that lost sense of good enough self.  My passion is to enable that to happen.

I wonder how others feel about this.



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