So, we’ve established
when enough is actually enough. But when is it
not enough? When do we need to strive for something
more? When do we challenge ourselves to get out
of our stagnant rut and reach for change?
Enough is no longer enough when
it represents old patterns that no longer serve
us. It is easy to default into familiar habits
out of laziness or apathy in making the changes
we need to make in our lives because change takes
hard work and effort. Is that something we are
In the realm of health, many of
us get so comfortable with what has been usual
for us that we mistake it for being normal. (See
my 2009 post called “Usual
vs. Normal”). For example, we have had
this low back pain for months now that we “just
deal with.” Either we pop an Advil and go
about our day, or we let it handicap us to the
point of keeping us from living the life we want
to live. It becomes our excuse for not engaging
with joy in our lives. We let issues like these
linger. And the longer they go unaddressed the
harder they become to treat and the more daunting
the task seems to be. Do we deserve to feel better?
Does hobbling around reinforce a low self-image?
Have we had enough yet?
Whether it is low
back pain or something as complex as many
varied forms of addiction,
when we perpetuate old destructive patterns, we
often do so because we are not yet ready to break
out of those old routines, that albatross of old
self-definition. Who would I be if I no longer
drank? We become complacent enough to believe
“I’ll change tomorrow.” Yet
what does it take for that tomorrow to actually
come? When have we had enough? When do we embody
the change we deserve and need?
The answer to these questions
is completely individual. My role with my patients
is to see where they are at, where they wish to
get to, work within those confines and at the
same time challenge them with just enough of a
stretch to see the task ahead as attainable and
doable. It takes patience and time to change old
Let’s take another example.
When I advise patients on diet and nutrition,
the only goal I know I can realistically achieve
is to help my patients develop awareness around
their food choices. How do the foods they eat
affect their health? If they have allergies and
chronic sinus infections, how does dairy affect
them? If they do not know or have a hard time
believing me and the mountains of research pointing
to the connection between the two, then I ask
them to eliminate it from their diet for 3 weeks
and then reintroduce it by itself. They can then
tell me how it makes their sinuses feel. No amount
of external preaching or research can make someone
change until they experience it for themselves.
Once that awareness hits, they now have an empowered
choice to make: continue eating dairy despite
the obvious sinus congesting effects, or realize
that it is not worth it, that they have had enough.
Feeling better becomes worth changing an old habit.
The arc of change is sometimes
long and slow, and sometimes dramatic and sudden.
What pushes someone over the edge of change, only
they can determine. But one day, one bright and
sunny day, they wake up and realize that enough
is no longer enough—they do in fact deserve