You Are Enough Without Religion

Aug 10, 2022


If you clicked on this page, odds are you, like most of us, struggle with feeling like you’re not enough. It sounds easy to tell yourself, “I’m enough!” However, believing it is a whole other ball of wax. I won’t lie, I’m working on this daily, hourly even. So first, welcome, I’m glad you’re here, and yes, you are enough, more than enough Don’t go away yet — I’m going to tell you why.

My Story

“Not quite enough” This was a message I seemed to “hear” on repeat throughout my youth. I was the middle child coming from a broken home entrenched in a strict religious cult. To say I didn’t feel like “enough” is a gross understatement. No matter what I did — grades, titles, awards, church callings, etc.- I couldn’t get the praise, the reassurance I was craving. The stress of evaluating my worth to determine if I was “on track” to the highest heaven was draining on my mental health. Thought there was only one heaven? Not in my cult. But I continued to do more and more, correcting when I veered off course, because I believed the BEST heaven, the BEST blessings, were all waiting for me.

Even now, I find myself grinding my gears, tires smoking, as I struggle to move in place, strive to do more, be more. Even when I don’t know what I want, I must do, do, do. And I must do it perfectly to boot! And if I struggle, or wonder if it’s the most worthwhile thing I could do, I change activities. Everything is about productivity. It doesn’t matter how much I accomplish, how much envy I garner, or how well I do something. There is this deep jagged hole in the pit of my stomach that refuses to be filled. And it’s because I was under the impression I couldn’t fill it myself. I grew up believing someone else would give their approval, the nod that I was following the right path.

If you grew up religious, I know you’ve felt the same hole that will never be filled. Even if you didn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised if you too have felt this need for someone to tell you they accept you exactly as you are, that you’re doing everything right and you’re doing it wonderfully! We all do. We all want to feel like we’re doing it right, which makes us accepted, and therefore loved.

Why We Never Feel Good Enough

It means nothing to accept something as truth if you haven’t witnessed it yourself; if you don’t understand fully; if you have reasons to doubt. And honey, my inner critic laughs her ass off when I try to tell her she’s enough. Why?

Why do we refuse to believe we are enough? Why do we insist on looking down on ourselves, ever pushing ourselves onward, never even resting in our triumphs? Why is it always more, more, more? Why do we reach the peak of one mountain only to sigh and start again at the base of another, never resting at the peak to enjoy the view and revel in our accomplishments?


Here is my guess. Psychologist, anthropologist, sociologist, biologist, historian, psychiatrist, doctor- I am not. Take with salt.

Four Reasons (or Two, with subreasons)

  • Nationality
  • Religion
  • Love (Need for Survival)
  • Nature (Need to Evolve)


The first, is nationality (and culture). If you’re American, like myself, you’re in a particularly shitty situation because our very culture emphasizes “more, bigger, better!” There are no excuses if you put your mind to it! As an American, no one cares about the results (unless they’re huge), they care that you’re hustling. And this has only gotten worse with the age of passive income streams. This attitude of “anyone can do it” and “you’re lazy if you don’t” boxes us into a perpetual state of striving without real reason. So as an American, it’s about the hustle, and then comparing yourself to others as step two. Seeing as there is ALWAYS someone better, farther along, and more experienced than us at whatever we’re doing, this can be utterly disastrous to our self-confidence. So the American keeps their nose to the grindstone, terrified to look up and see their friends/co-workers passing them, never feeling like they’ve done enough. It’s not just America that has this mentality, but others as well, such as Japan. However, with Japan, the focus is less on being an amazing individual, and more on being a perfect cog for the machine. I may be less familiar with other countries, but I’m sure others still, promote this type of busy-culture. Either way, pressure is high to perform.


Religion is a solid second, though should be first given how tightly this one has its grip on everyone. This reason applies to those raised in religion, such as myself. If you were raised religiously, then you were given many rules at a young age which you had to follow. If you failed to follow these rules, you risked much. For myself, it was beyond easy to screw up. As a mormon, there is always more to do to be better, more worthy, more perfect. By much of this I mean it was SO easy to screw up. Curse, sip of tea or alcohol, hand stuff, flash of shoulder, or — dare I say it? — eat food on Fasting Sunday? Even if those basics were easy, it wasn’t enough to go to church, you had to participate and take the sacrament, which required its own set of rules. It wasn’t enough to get married in the temple, you had to then do temple ceremonies as a couple indefinitely. Then have children. It’s not enough to not kiss on the first date, because the boy might see your armpit if you lift your arm too high. There is always more to do, more to improve on.

This is the case for all Abrahamic religions, and many others as well, as religion’s usually seek to control and conform and make followers feel they are small, sinful, imperfect beings. They often will sell you a fancy ticket to heaven to become a perfect being, but you must begin following the rules (and paying the appropriate 10% tithe) right away. Religious people get the added pressure of a god thinking they aren’t enough, threatening punishment or withholding blessings, which is a twisted, horrible idea to burden children with. If you don’t hear “You are enough” from your parents or boss, you sure as hell aren’t going to hear it from your god. Which leaves us striving for eternity.

Love (Need for Survival)

This brings us to our third reason, which is our base need for love. The ones who match the social cues of others, who go along with the crowds and follow the trends are the ones who survive. You must blend in, for there is strength in numbers. Animals of every kind know this, too. And as I mentioned earlier, we all want to be loved. And if we follow the crowd, we’ll be accepted, and accepted is to survive. We all need to survive. And though it is completely unnecessary to work those extra hours, to bake those cookies from scratch, or drive 15 miles to recycle your three bottles, we do it. Because we think someone is watching, taking notes, and maybe it will pay off. We hope for acceptance, maybe in the form of praise, recognition, or money, but somehow in the form of love currency. We work so hard for this currency. It’s pretty sweet, but still misled by a base need for survival. For those especially unfortunate who’ve been subjected to abuse, from family or other trusted adults, may likely feel an even greater need for love, and suffer an even lower self-worth. Those of us who’ve received the least, need it the most.

Nature (Need to Evolve/Experience)

Then there’s the last reason, the biggest one, which applies to everyone. You aren’t going to like it, but here it is. It’s our nature.

Whoah, whoah, our nature to always feel incomplete? Yes, in a way. It is our nature to evolve, to experience. There is a reason when we reach the peak of a mountain, we turn around and go back down, seeking the next mountain. When we finish a project, we’re off to the next one. Yes, dear Miley was right, it IS in fact, the climb that we relish. Humans love to improve, love to grow, love to create and explore. And each new project is a chance for a new experience, new ways to grow. So it’s not necessarily that we actively think “I’m not enough, I better do more,” but we find ourselves naturally going from one finish line immediately to a fresh starting line. Hell, often when we’re approaching the peak, we consider the next mountain.

And there we are, four solid reasons: Nationality (particularly American), Religion, our Need for Survival (Love), and our Nature. Understanding where this “belief” that we so often let control our lives may come from is the first step towards dropping it. We first need to see that we were NOT the origin of this idea, it came from someone else. The only thing that does originate with us is the urge to experience new things and evolve, but never in nature, has an animal had the thought that they weren’t enough.

Afterall, who would they need to be enough for? And as for the need for acceptance, seeing this as a base need helps us to recognize it as a need similar to hunger. We do not devour the first piece of food we find when hungry, though as early humans, we might have. Instead we wait, using logic to locate food and be patient. Essentially, yes we seek the acceptance of other, but we no longer need it to survive. Be kind, and you’ll be accepted. The harder challenge is accepting yourself. Which brings us again back to the question: who are we trying to be enough for?

Who are we trying to be enough for?

It is this “for” we must consider deeply. When we don’t feel like we’ve done enough, are enough, we must question this knee-jerk belief. Enough for who? Enough for what? If it’s just “enough”, then ask, “What is enough?” When we ask ourselves these questions, our brains freeze. They aren’t ready to answer, because they don’t have one. I’d be willing to bet that if you ask yourself this, you won’t have an answer for yourself. This is because the “enoughness” you’re measuring, is for someone else, is an illusion in your head. In this illusion, you will NEVER be enough — because there isn’t a cap! So when will we be enough?

  • FIRST, obviously, the answer is: You are already enough. Pure and simple. Feel no need to read any further. You are enough, right now, exactly as you are. You are a perfect human being, doing what a human being does, how a human being does it. You look, act, and think just like a human, are a perfect culmination of your genetics, upbringing, nationality, religion, culture, etc. You are more than enough.

… Having said that, most of us can’t simply take this and move on. I know I can’t. So I need a bit more. If you need a bit more to chew on, read on.

An Enough Cap

So how will we know when we’re enough for ourselves? This first requires identifying what we want. Not our parents, our boss, our co-workers, our spouse, our kids, but us. What do we want? What do we want to accomplish? How do we want to grow? Where do we want to be in a year, five years, ten? How do I want to improve myself? Once you’ve determined your actual goals and desires, you can support them with the big question — “Why?”

Without a “why” you’ve only given yourself a new list of demands without proper motivation. You’ll begin them, and then halfway feel your energy wane because you aren’t clear on your mission. But if you can remind yourself, “I’m working on X because I want Y,” it may help to move you from a stuck point. It sounds simple, and it is. It’s an easy way of ensuring you are living, and working, for yourself, and not for the expectations of others.

Until you decide your “whys” to understand the reason behind this thinking, and the new motivation behind your actions, let me simply remind you what a badass you are. I want you to think of other animals. Your dog, the bird outside, the river trout, the raccoon, the lizard. When we observe animals, what do we expect? Absolutely nothing, save for a lick on the face, a song, etc. Basically, we only expect what comes perfectly natural to them. We never think for a moment that they aren’t enough.

Consider this with other species we share this planet with — trees, shrubs, grasses, lakes, flowers. We appreciate these exactly as they are, their effortless beauty, shade, smell, feel, and yes, use. They are always enough, even when we see “better” versions — taller grasses, stronger trees, prettier birds, cooler lizards. We don’t expect the others to all match the “best” one.

Zoom Out

I encourage you to zoom out, pretend you can see the whole city, state, country, world. See people in other countries, particularly those with less wealth (whether financial, social, health, or otherwise) and ask yourself, “Am I enough, compared to all of these people? Are these people enough? Do I expect more of all of them?”

I promise, when you zoom out, you will see that you are enough, right now, in this moment. You will see the expectations you put on yourself as being quite strict, your goals quite challenging, and your pace unnaturally speedy. You’ll see you can relax. No one is really watching. No one really cares what we’re doing. Each one of us is entirely self-involved, only caring how we look, never actually judging others. We always see ourselves as the one behind “everyone else.” By zooming out, you can really see “everyone else” and see that you’re actually killing it, and doing more than is expected of you.

There is another thing you’ll see when you zoom out and consider other species and humans. You’ll begin to recognize all the greatness inside you. You’ll start to admire things unique to you, such as your sense of humor, your friendly personality, your kindness, your openness, your determination, your creativity, etc. It’s not only about doing and accomplishing, it’s about BEING. And you are an utterly unique human being that can only ever be perfect.

We are Human Beings

We are Human Beings, not Human Doings. Your only purpose is to be. Which means in this moment, you are crushing it! You are exactly, precisely enough just being human.

It takes time for this to sink in. Give yourself this time. Even though I “know” this, it’s taking me time to absorb this new truth and act from it. Now that I know no one is coming to praise me, that there is no meter to fill, I am trying to fill the hole in my soul with my own love. I can now try to see my works, myself even, as being enough exactly as it is. I am loveable enough, smart enough, work hard enough, and am always doing enough. The only one who can say otherwise is me. Now that heaven no longer exists, in the blink of an eye, I’m good enough. In the blink of an eye, I’m perfect as is. And so are you.

Reclaim Yourself In Circle

Stop struggling! Your Inner child is calling out for some attention. Remember what you enjoyed doing as a child, foods you loved, and places you liked. Then give yourself that enjoyment. Take it to the next level by bringing her out in circle! 

About Me

About Me

I’m Shelby! A proud Ex-Mormon, psychonaut, animal lover, chai drinker, rain dancer, and sacred space facilitator. I hope to see you at the next circle! Contact me if you’d like individual space holding – I’m here for YOU!

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