When the same message comes at me in the same week from vastly different sources, I’m learning to pay attention. Sometimes tender mercies come disguised as coincidences.
A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting in Relief Society in my parents’ ward—the first time I’d been to Relief Society in a very long time. (I’m the primary president). I was feeling generally worn down: truth be told, I didn’t especially want to be there.
As some of you may know, I wrote a book. It doesn’t come out until early next year, but already there is some pressure to be present on social media, to promote the book, to build a community of readers and writers. It’s wonderful and exciting (a dream nearly 30 years in the making!) and downright terrifying (strangers—worse, people who know me—are going to be able to read it and judge me, not just the book). And sometimes, truth be told, a little depressing. Because even after (nearly) reaching a goal I’ve worked toward for a very long time, some days it still feels like too little, too late. So many other writers I meet online seem smarter, funnier, younger, prettier.
Sometimes I feel like my whole life I’ve been chasing some elusive idea of enough: that I will be smart enough, talented enough, something enough to matter.
That week, I’d been reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly, a gift from a good friend who thought I needed to read it. In the book, Brown describes our current culture as one of scarcity, that preaches two lies: one, “an ordinary life is a meaningless life” and two, “we’re never enough.” At its root, a culture of scarcity insists that if we are not extra-ordinary, we do not have worth. And so we spend our lives hunting for a constantly moving bar of achievement that will say now—now I’m enough. Now I am valuable.
It’s exhausting. And that Sunday, sitting at the back of a familiar room, I was exhausted.