When Is Good Enough Good Enough? My friend sent me an article this week from the New Yorker magazine, Improving Ourselves To Death. In Western culture, the pressure mounts from all sides to do everything well, better and best. If the article is TL;DR, here is the takeaway:
“We are being sold on the need to upgrade all parts of ourselves, all at once, including parts that we did not previously know needed upgrading.”
As a licensed Mental Health Counselor, I need to take continuing education credits. The most recent course I took was about how to treat Body Image Disorders. I felt a lump in my throat when I read this part: children raised to think they’re never quite good enough, often develop perfectionistic disorders. Like anorexia, bulimia and other illnesses of seeking physical “perfection”.
Let’s be the devil’s advocate for a moment, in favor of perfection: in some areas, good enough is most definitely not good enough. Like moon landings. Brain surgery. The knife-throwing act at the circus. Landing a jumbo airliner in the Hudson River.
But in nearly all dimensions of our lives we can take it easy on the self-improvement.
“Once you realize that it’s all just an act of coercion, that it’s your culture trying to turn you into someone you can’t really be, you can begin to free yourself from your demands.”
Here are a few examples of “good enough” bringing the joy:
Parenting. The concept of the “good enough” parent is well established in family therapy. The author of this article points out parents don’t have to be perfect, nor can they be. “No child . . . needs an ideal parent. They just need an OK, pretty decent, usually well intentioned, sometimes grumpy but basically reasonable father or mother.”
Hair and makeup. It’s wonderful to go make-up free or makeup-minimal when you feel like it. Or to air-dry your hair and let it be beautifully imperfect. These “good-enough” habits also create time in the morning to sip coffee/tea and reflect.
Singing, dancing, playing an instrument. The beauty and pleasure of the arts come from the soul of the artist. Of course, technique and practice are important. But I’d rather hear/see/perform a passionate performance than a perfect one. (Heh, not that I could make a perfect one for the next thousand years.😊)
Diet and exercise. Unless you’re training for the biathlon (where good enough is probably not good enough), a reasonable amount of activity and a diet of simple healthy foods is good enough – to be healthy, without perfectionism.
Housework and home decor. I am a compulsive cleaner who’s trying to cut down. I hope you have already cut back and tossed your white gloves, so you can enjoy a “clean enough” home. Our homes don’t look like Martha Stewart’s perhaps, but our art, colors, imagination and presence are good enough.
“You’re not in the perfect business. Stop pretending that’s what the world wants from you. Truly perfect is becoming friendly with your imperfections on the way to doing something remarkable.” Seth Godin
The final word, from Some Like It Hot.
Keep joy in your heart, and stay fabulously imperfect, xo,
Here’s some fun pieces to browse:
Please be aware that links to vendors may be affiliate links. I may benefit from your purchases through the links on the blog. Header image via this site.
Links à la Mode by Independent Fashion Bloggers
- Tips to Help You Plan and Shoot Your Own Outfit Photos
- Accessories: Are You A Maximalist Or A Minimalist?
- Style Talk: These Fashion Bloggers Describe Their Personal Style In A Three-Word Rule
- Style Wars: Sith Lord Chic