I was having coffee recently with a young friend of mine who told me about a particular problem that he had been struggling with: he wanted everything he did to turn out perfectly and, since he knew this was an unlikely outcome, it actually tended to put a psychological block on his attempting to do anything at all! Well, the good news is that he has since changed his view and is now working on the premise that good enough is his new standard of perfection, since when he has achieved so much more and is far happier.
There can be a lot of pressure to be a certain way : how you look; where you live; what work you do; your income; who you spend time with; and where you go on holiday – the list can be endless. And it sometimes feels like others have it all sorted, especially if you follow the ‘perfect’ ones on social media. We know these lives are edited to only show the good bits, but we can still get caught up in a spiral of judgement and jealously which can lead to self-hate and paralysis.
Alongside my friend’s “good enough is the new standard of perfection” here are five more things to remember when we think we’re not good enough:
- Be kind If you look at yourself and others through a lens of compassion and understanding, you will that see we are all beautiful, imperfect human beings.
“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” - Lori Deschene
- Progress rather than perfection. This involves working toward our goals, getting on with doing stuff, and, yes, sometimes failing: all these things are accomplishments.
- Ditch ‘black & white’ thinking. Don’t fall into the trap of classifying everything as either good or bad and, by doing so, lumber yourself with predetermined outcomes. Look for the shades of meaning and discover what each situation is teaching you.
- Life is a series of wonderful problems. Although you may have problem-free days, there is no such thing as a problem-free life. Life is a series of problems, so embrace and enjoy the ongoing challenges.
- Switch off the noise. Make it a daily practice to remove yourself for a while from stimuli such as technology or frantic activity. Try simply to be and to appreciate ‘now’ before you dive into ‘later’.
A fascinating 'Good Enough' read is Daniel Milo's writings on the Tolerance for Mediocrity in Nature and Society.
And Melanie Chisholm (former Spice Girl, Mel C) speaks out on Desert Island Discs: “try to be Perfect Spice made me ill”.
Remember: we are enough just the way we are.