We all wish to be there for the people we love in all the ways they need.
Yet all too often it feels like we just can’t be enough for them; I myself am no stranger to these feelings.
However, it is possible to be enough for someone, and to feel like it, too. In this article, I’ll give you 10 effective tips to help you learn how to be enough for someone.
1) Understand why you don’t feel worthy
When we wonder if we’re enough for the person we love, it often stems from the perception that we don’t feel worthy.
So ask yourself, “why is that the case?”
Introspection will give you a good insight into the source of your feelings. It’s important to note that our perception of ourselves is often too harsh. Your existence makes you enough; it’s vital to give yourself the value that you deserve.
In other words, understand why exactly you don’t feel worthy. An honest evaluation may also reveal that you could do more, or be able to do more in your effort to be enough.
Love is about extending ourselves for others. It’s important to be healthy and respect our personal boundaries so we don’t burn out or sacrifice our own happiness and health.
Having that self-respect and those boundaries will allow you to be all that you can for someone, without hurting yourself. Pinpointing the reason why you feel like you’re not doing enough will help you do better, or go easier on yourself.
Doing this will give you a great baseline to move on to these other points and use them, so you can be enough for someone.
Here’s a great look at some ways to start truly loving yourself.
2) Define what “enough” means for you (and for them)
The idea of what “enough” is, is in a lot of ways undefinable. We set that standard for ourselves. Often, though, we set the bar far too high. To put it another way, we have to decide what “being enough” means in our own worlds.
So when figuring out how to be enough for someone else, it takes input from both sides.
Here’s what that looks like: Understand each other, recognize the value this person has in your life, and the value you have in theirs. When a clear picture of “being enough” is clearly in mind, it makes for a healthy interplay of feelings, actions, and effort.
When one or both people don’t really know what being enough looks like, it can lead to dissatisfaction from both sides. Whether that’s feeling unworthy, or feeling like your needs aren’t being met.
When it’s defined, you’ll be able to be there for them, provide for them, support them, and be enough for them.
What that looks like will be different in each scenario, however, it will be balanced, healthy, and make you feel good. Knowing you’re good enough is a wonderful feeling.
Furthermore, it’s only logical that you need to understand the other person’s needs before you can meet them. If you want to be enough for them, don’t be afraid to pick their brain and talk openly about it with them.
We’ll talk more about that, too, later on in the article.
3) Embrace the core of who you are
This point may not seem like the most relevant, but it ties deeply into your ability to be enough.
The greatest way we can be of service to others is by fully embracing ourselves. When we love ourselves entirely and understand how best to share our gifts, only then can we empower others in truly impactful ways.
Without self-awareness, it’s difficult to really give with your full capability.
You can’t share your gifts with the world without knowing what they are, and how best to use them.
With that in mind, then, embracing who you are on the inside is really important. Understand your strengths, but more importantly, acknowledge your weaknesses. Work with them, know your limitations. That way you can always share–without having exhausted yourself.
Understanding your weaknesses is the greatest way you can be enough for other people, and feel like you can be enough. Embrace the fact that you are already enough.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. Here’s a great article with tips to help find the real you, and embrace your inner self.
4) Be completely honest with them. Always.
Being enough for someone implies a level of responsibility. We need to live up to our word, show up for them, and actually make a difference in their life.
In other words, you have to have a tangible effect on their life. If you’re just saying you’ll be there for them, you aren’t being enough. They won’t know whether or not you’re being honest, or just talking yourself up.
The good news is that you probably already make a big difference in their life. The fact that you exist, care about that person, and sincerely want to be enough for them is already huge. In fact, most people don’t expect or need more than that.
In that way, then, you’re already enough. Just by being you.
However, we often want to do more if we can. Just make sure that you’re being honest about what you can do, and what you’re able to do. All too easily we don’t know our limits.
Here’s what that means: If you aren’t honest, you aren’t being enough. If you say you’ll be there when the chips are down, you have to be there. If you tell someone that you’ll fulfill an obligation or do them a favor, you have to do it.
This makes you reliable and honest. They’ll appreciate it, and they’ll quickly realize that you are more than enough for them.
On the other hand, though, honesty works the other way, too. Know your limitations, and be honest about them. Tell the person why you can’t be there for them. Tell them you need time for yourself, you have other obligations, or you’re just unable.
Whatever the reason, they need to know that you aren’t someone to be taken advantage of. You have value, standards, and boundaries.
Being clear and honest like this protects you first and foremost, and preserves your value as a beautiful individual.
It also allows the people around you to know who you are, that they can count on you if you say so. They will see your value. Any healthy relationship is built on the ability to be honest.
In that way, then, you won’t just be enough for them, you’ll be more than enough.
Here’s a really great article that talks about why telling the truth is so important.
5) Understand their needs intimately
I have a hard time listening sometimes. For whatever reason, I just get caught up in my own world, and forget what’s happening around me.
This can be dangerous when you’re learning how to be enough for someone. In order to be enough for someone, you have to understand their needs.
Here’s the thing: you can’t understand their needs if you don’t listen to them.
In that way, then, listening is crucial in being able to be enough for someone.
Make sure you pay attention to what’s important to them. What do they value in friendship, or in a relationship? What kind of ideal means the most to them?
What do they need help with the most? Is there a way that you can fill those needs, be there when they’re at their weakest?
There is really an infinite number of ways to be able to be there for someone you care about. Finding where you’re best capable, and also where you best fit, is only a matter of understanding yourself, and their needs. Intimately.
The better you can understand what they need, the more readily they’ll be able to see that you are enough for them, in fact, that you are more than they could ever ask for.
6) Don’t put them on a pedestal, or yourself
As humans, all too often we have these expectations for how we think reality should be. We walk into a room, and we’re disappointed because we thought it’d be cleaner. We start a new job, and we’re let down because we thought it would be our dream job, but it isn’t. We go on vacation, and we’re let down because the resort isn’t as luxurious as we imagined.
These kinds of expectations can lead to dissatisfaction and an unhealthy outlook on life. It can rob us of happiness and joy in so many ways.
Okay, but how does that apply to being enough for someone?
Well, just as we have improper expectations for situations and events, we do the same thing with people. They don’t live up to our standards, they’re just different than we thought they’d be.
For many, these expectations are felt no greater than about themselves.
For me, I’m always too hard on myself. I often expect too much, and it leads to disappointment, frustration, and fatigue. This is where the big problems can come from in feeling like we’re enough for the people we love.
And when we love someone dearly, it’s easy to put them on a pedestal. It’s easy to say that they can do no wrong, that they deserve the world, and more. And then we try to give that to them. Of course, that leads to disappointment.
How could anyone be enough for someone who’s literally perfect, enshrined, and put on a pedestal?
In understanding how to be enough for someone, we have to watch out for unrealistic expectations. Whether it’s about others, or about ourselves.
7) Embrace imperfection
Ours is a world of contingency. There are so many variables, problems, and imbalances.
Learning to embrace this is vital in learning how to be enough for someone.
Much like I mentioned in the last point, this crazy world rarely lives up to our expectations. There’s too much chaos, too much unknown.
Further, this is reflected in each and every person. We are all wildly unique, different, unknowable. In other words, we’re all imperfect.
So many people think imperfection is a bad thing, but it really isn’t. It can truly be a wonderful thing. It gives us an incentive to grow, learn, and adapt. It allows us all to be on the same page.
It’s what makes life so beautiful.
If you want to be enough for someone, you have to embrace imperfection. In other words, you have to be realistic.
We all can only do so much. Being enough for someone is about working with what you’ve got, understanding your situation, and being practical.
There’s no need to sacrifice your well-being in an effort to be enough. There’s no need to make everything a grand gesture, just to prove your worth. Your worth is already proven, you are already enough.
Even the smallest of gestures can mean the world to someone. So don’t stress about how to be enough for someone. Instead express your love honestly, in ways that you know you can.
The result? You’ll value yourself, enrich people’s lives, and be more than enough for that someone.
If you struggle with feelings of inadequacy or negativity, here’s a great article with some simple things you can do to feel better.
8) Step outside of your ego
A lot of the time it’s easy to get caught up in the mentality of “what I can do”, and focus too much on our ego. We ask ourselves, “what are the things that I need to do to help this person?” or we think “what kind of role can I play to help this person?”
These are good questions to ask; it’s important to understand how we can be of service to others.
However, it’s important to not get too caught up in thinking about it from such a personal perspective.
Ask yourself, “why do I feel the need to help this person?” Is it because you sincerely want to help, or is it because you want to play a role?
Sometimes we act selflessly in an effort to make ourselves important or to be seen.
However, that’s not always the healthiest reason.
Acting outside of yourself is a much more effective way to be there for someone.
In other words, try not to think about how you can be enough, with the focus on your role. Don’t be afraid to do things without recognition. The role you and your ego play is the least significant part of being enough for someone.
Put yourself in their shoes, help them in the ways that will truly benefit them, not just in the ways you think they need your help.
These kinds of selfless thought patterns and actions will allow you to seamlessly connect to and support the ones you love.
When you think and act outside of yourself, your ego takes the back seat. Once that happens, it becomes a lot easier to be enough for the people we love.
The ego is a fragile, unknowable, and often absurd thing. It can find itself over-inflated for the strangest things, and at the most unexpected times. Here’s a great article that goes through several signs that you’ve got a big spiritual ego.
9) Talk openly with them about it
There’s very rarely a time where open and honest communication will make a situation worse. Clarity, intent, and openness lead to wonderful things.
With that in mind, then, it’s important to talk openly with this person about how you can be enough for them.
Let them know that you are trying to be enough for them. Explain to them the ways you’ve been putting forth effort.
Ask them what you can do differently, how you can do more, and so on.
It’s likely that they already value you a lot, that they really appreciate all you do. The fact that you want to be enough is going to go a long way.
Just remember this: you are already valuable; you don’t need to earn your worth or overextend yourself just to prove yourself to them. They should respect you at face value, not just because you serve them or benefit them.
We’re all imperfect, we all do our best, and that makes us inherently enough.
These kinds of open conversations will allow both of you to meet each other’s needs, adapt accordingly, and have a healthy, supportive relationship.
10) Remember that you are already enough
We’re all imperfect, we all make mistakes. It’s just a fact of life.
We all have weaknesses, faults, and we’re fragile. Accepting this about the people we love will help us have a healthier view of them. It will allow us to have a healthy view of ourselves, too.
To put it simply, we’re all human, we all hurt, and we’re all trying our best. We’re already enough.
The fact that you are here, that you are trying, that you are genuine, makes you more than enough.
Endeavor to understand yourself, your inner value, weaknesses, and strengths. Know how best to use your talents and gifts for others, and don’t be afraid to let your light shine. Never forget that you are valuable and always enough, no matter who you are trying to help.
And, of course, do everything you can to be enough for that someone, in ways that will make you happy and fulfilled.