Enough (The Book)
Why do so many of us feel like we're chronically not enough no matter how much we achieve - and what interventions actually help us break this cycle of anxious insecurity?
Enough is a yet-to-be-published book that provides answers the above and more. It is a guide for those who want to have a deep understanding of why the feel this way and what to do about it. This isn’t a feel-good self-help book that takes 300 pages to repeat the same advice. It’s a deep and intricate text that seeks to inform readers so they can take the best next steps for themselves.
If you want to understand why so many struggle with feelings of insecurity, isolation, and low self-worth – and want to learn about how to actually solve this problems, instead of simply manage them – this is the book for you.
Book Pitch for Enough
Why do so many Americans, especially those born after 1980, feel chronically “not enough” regardless of how much they achieve? An inherent lack of self-worth leads many into extreme self-criticism and isolation from others. Anxiety, depression, attachment disorders, social phobias, and suicide are natural outcomes. Most who try to resolve this problem on their own will fail. Yet these individuals don’t struggle due to a lack of effort. Rather, society has failed to provide them with the information they need to succeed. It’s time for that to change.
Enough is a prescriptive non-fiction that allows readers to learn why they feel this way and how to break out of it. It argues that society is plagued by what I call “anxious insecurity,” an intense emotional pain caused by poor social bonds, high self-criticism, and a primal fear of rejection. While insecure Americans in their 20s and 30s are the primary audience for this book, feelings of not being “enough” are rising across the developed world. The more industrialized a nation becomes, the faster this issue grows. While North America seems to be the epicenter of this problem, readers from across Europe and Asia will heavily relate, as these populations are now facing the exact same social and economic pressures that allow this issue to thrive.
Enough could be described as an insecurity-focused version of Lost Connections by Johann Hari combined with The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. It casts a critical eye toward modern society while outlining research-based solutions readers can implement.
I know this battle because it was my own. It almost cost me my life. I recovered, learned everything I could about this issue, and began to professionally help others break free from it. These experiences allowed me to explore anxious insecurity from every angle: as someone who lived through it, a practitioner who saw what strategies worked and which failed, and as a chronic researcher who studied every piece of research he could find. Enough synthesizes these experiences in a conversational, evidence-based text that gives readers the information they need to move forward.
Current Book Status
Except for the chapters on friendship and IFS, the manuscript for Enough is complete. It’s a substantial book – likely on the order of Sapiens or The Myth of Normal in size. (The Table of Contents below helps to explain why.) The next steps are continuing with editing and figuring out the next path forward with publication. I have no interest in self-publication for multiple reasons. The focus is now on traditional or hybrid publishing.
If you are interested in this work and believe there is some way you can help bring this out into the world, please let me know! However, I’m open to hearing from anyone regarding this text. If Enough speaks to you in some way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to hear from you.
Table of Contents
Part I: Defining the Problem
- Why feeling anxious and insecure in today’s world makes complete sense — and isn’t the sign of any “defect” or “flaw.”
- Exploring the contributions and shortcomings of the biological model of mental & emotional health.
- Exploring the contributions and shortcomings of the cognitive model of mental & emotional health.
- Exploring a new path forward: the emotional-relational model of mental & emotional health.
- Defining “anxious insecurity,” how it shows up in our lives, and how it relates to our sense of worth, belonging, and being “enough.”
Part II: Why Do So Many of Us Feel This Way?
Modern Parenting & Childrearing
- Modern parenting in developed nations is radically different than how humans have raised children for hundreds of thousands of years. How does this impact children and parents alike?
- What happens when stressed & isolated parents turn to their children in order to have their emotional needs met?
- What happens when children live under unprecedented levels of parental control?
- What happens when children are raised to fear the world?
- What are “neoliberal economics” — and why are they likely the primary cause for the explosion of anxious insecurity we see today?
- What is the mental & emotional impact of living in a country ruled by neoliberal policies?
- What is the mental & emotional impact of living in high inequality, especially when your social status is defined by your work?
- Neoliberal policies transformed everything from child-rearing to education. College degrees, once coveted, are now expensive high school diplomas. How does this impact our lives?
Religion (& Sex)
- What happens when you’re raised to fear a punishing & judgemental God who never lets you know if you’re “safe”?
- What happens when you’re told normal parts of being human (such as having a sexual nature) are wrong — especially when you have no other option that being human?
- How does advertising impact our mental & emotional health?
- How do news outlets impact our mental & emotional health?
- How does modern politics impact our mental & emotional health?
- How does social media and Big Data impact our mental & emotional health?
Included topics: how emotional manipulation works (based on my former work in counter-terrorism), fear as an industry, and more.
- Human children evolved to be around other children, often without much adult supervision. What happens when children are socially isolated instead?
- What is the impact of experiencing abuse and harm at the hands of friends in our early life?
Ourselves: Anxious Insecurity as a Tool
- Why so many of us rely on our anxious insecurity to stay driven, focused, and motivated in a hyper-competitive world.
- How anxious insecurity tries to protect us from external rejection by filling us with external criticism.
- How anxious insecurity can be used to find unhealthy belonging.
Included topics: Trauma bonding, coping with living in world of high individual competition, fear as a protective force, and more.
Part III: Reviewing the Data - How Can We Fix It?
- Self-compassion interventions are now recognized as evidence-based interventions. But what does self-compassion actually mean?
- What does self-compassion say about fundamental human worth?
- How can we build models to help us live with self-compassion?
- How can we use compassionate words?
- How can we take compassionate action?
Included topics: self-compassion vs. self-esteem, forgiveness, honoring the truth, embracing imperfection, and more.
Internal Family Systems (IFS)
- IFS is an evidence-based modality that has become my favorite tool for my in-session work with clients. What is it, and how does it work?
- Dissecting anxious insecurity through the lens of IFS – and how we can find deep, long-term healing.
- What does it look like to heal intergenerational trauma with IFS and write a better future for those after us?
Included topics: Combining IFS & Self-Compassion, working with our internal critics, releasing shame, healing trauma, and more.
Mindfulness (& Spiritual Exploration)
- How does mindfulness meditation work, and what is the evidence on how it can help us break the cycles of anxious insecurity?
- What’s the best way to start meditating, and how can we navigate common issues?
- What does it mean to explore our spiritual selves — and how can this impact our sense of belonging and connection?
Included topics: Learning the art of non-reaction, equanimity, exploring spirituality with or without religion, and more.
Emotional Skill Training (& Men's Work)
- Why do so many of us struggle to have a health relationship with our feelings, and how can we change this?
- How can we best feel and process difficult emotions?
- How can we cultivate key emotional feelings and take action from a place of security instead of fear?
- How can we best communicate and express our feelings?
Included topics: The role of emotions in healthy self-awareness, overcoming the fear of being engulfed by our feelings, and more.
Part IV: The First Steps Beyond Anxious Insecurity
Self-Discovery (& Self-Acceptance)
- What if we were to assume that you don’t know who you really are? How could you use curiosity as a tool to re-discover yourself?
- What makes you feel alive? There are few better ways to answer the question “Who am I?”
- What do you fear most? The are few better ways to answer the question “What do I really want?”
- How can we give ourselves permission to explore ourselves while navigating social pressure?
Included topics: Curiosity as a tool, exploring with play, approaching fear with kindness, giving ourselves permission to explore the depth and complexity of who we really are.
- Now that we have a better idea of who we are, how can we create the best possible life that would allow this person to thrive?
- How can we use friction and failure to better understand ourselves and create a better life?
- How can we best pursue complex personal goals? (Exploring strategies based on my former work in emergency response.)
- How can we help create the change we want to see in the world and build a better future?
Included topics: Viewing ourselves as caretakers to ourselves instead of critics, goal planning, reclaiming our power to create change, and more.
Part V: Finding Belonging
Reconnection (& Lessons From Men's Work)
- Living with greater self-honor allows us to be seen for who we are — which also allows us to be loved for who we are. What impact does this have on our lives and healing?
- As we heal ourselves, we no longer need to remain focused on ourselves. What happens when we allow ourselves to provide love, help, and belonging to those around us?
Included topics: Social vs. individual healing, healthy masculinity, masculine love, co-regulation, the power of presence, and more.
Closing: Life After Anxious Insecurity
Anxious insecurity causes us to believe we are chronically underserving of love and acceptance in our current state. What happens when we are finally free of this cycle — and how can we help others do the same?