Good enough is good enough

Ever found yourself saying “I wish I was like them”? Or, “why am I not able to do this?”, or “why is life so unfair to me?”…or worse still, “I’m a failure”? Desire is so ingrained in our culture that we are seemingly constantly desiring things, only to not attain them. What’s happened? The world is not a simple place, it’s chaotic. Technology may have enhanced our lives in many ways, but it’s also made us busier and able to work more and see more. And, because of this, we often want it all, and fear of missing out and perfectionism can take over. 

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Of course, it’s natural and actually brilliant to pursue dreams, striving to be the best version of you (they really can come true). But the opposite to perfectionism is imperfection (something as a perfectionist that sends a shudder down my spine!). And here’s why the key to happiness may lie in embracing some…

I’ll be a better person when…

I have a happy family.

The days of the traditional nuclear family seem to be over as families have changed over time. Add to that, the unpredictable circle of love and loss that can hit us out of nowhere. What matters is the family network you do have around you right now in this moment, be it partners, children, friends, or animals. Celebrate the diversity of family life. If things didn’t go as “planned” it was never your fault. You are not necessarily dysfunctional. In whatever structure you find yourself, you give love, you receive love, you care, you try your very best. That’s enough. 

I’m in a relationship.

We all need to belong to someone. But, when we find ourselves alone, without that special someone in our lives, are we exerting undue pressure on ourselves because of the expectation to not be single? Granted, being single can have its down sides, but the quest for someone who may or may not fit the vision of your “ideal” partner may make you forget something really important…how to love yourself (“How to Fall in Love - A 10-Step Journey to the Heart” is a great guide to creating the life and love you want).

I have more money.

It’s amazing how no matter what we earn, we never feel like we have enough or that we are enough. Ask yourself: How much money do you really need to have the life experiences that really give you pleasure? Money will never be able to solve emotional problems like depression, anxiety, or loneliness. 

I’m better at this.

One of the great things about learning anything is there’s always room for progress, and it’s this challenge that keeps us motivated and makes practice a habit. For me, my place to experiment with this is at the gym. This is officially my happy place, but at times, the anxious part of my mind has struggled with my perceived lack of progress or the comparative effects of social media kick in (yes following people posting endless gym selfies isn’t good for mental health). How do I counteract this? With difficulty at times, but recently, my strategy has been to look back. Look back at my progress over time and where I am now and to see my happy place as exactly that – a place where I get sweaty with friends and have lots of fun. Of course, not everyone wants to see their favourite pastime as fun, opting to take it more seriously and that’s totally fine. But don’t be hard on yourself. You can’t get better at anything unless you’re willing to fail enough. It’s a process. 

I work harder.

Working hard or being a perfectionist at something can reap rewards, but at what cost? I used to be one of those people who would add an extra day to my 40-hour week through my own choice. Thankfully work-life balance and the effects of burnout are topics that are firmly under the spotlight, but this doesn’t stop us putting pressure on ourselves or contain our overwhelm when work and home demands combine. We might respect people for intelligence and competence but is this what love is based on? I read a powerful quote on a LinkedIn blog this week: “You are killing yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead. Take care of yourself.” 

I look like her/him/this beautiful image.

It’s so easy to get more than a snapshot of someone’s life and body these days. Just take a scroll on Instagram. It then becomes easy to reinforce what the voice in your head may be telling you “I wish I had that” or “I’d love to have legs like that”. Do we really need this on top of the ridiculous amount of pressure we apply on ourselves anyway for not getting enough sleep, for forgetting someone’s birthday, for not eating enough vegetables….and the list goes on.  

I feel more normal.

What’s actually normal? You’re flawed and that’s what makes you beautiful. It’s important that we look after our mental health as much as our physical health. We’re raised and societally trained in ways that degrade our self esteem, and if you spend a lot of time worrying about what people think, remember they are focusing on themselves. I’ve spent hours of my life wishing I was more confident and am only now getting my head around being authentic and true to myself instead of acting in ways to “fit in” and please others.   

Aspirations like these don’t make you complete. They don’t make you worthy, they don’t make you enough. They don’t make you you. If we keep seeking for something so hard, do we ever have a chance of getting near it? In the words of Salvador Dali “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” So I’m going to try my best to be an imperfect perfectionist.