Good Enough versus Perfect

Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.” – Brene Brown

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough.” – Julia Cameron

I seem to have problems making decisions lately. Even picking a topic for this blog post was difficult. Some of the ideas I had were on subjects I’ve written about recently, like attitude. Or people would know who I meant if I discussed a certain situation. Or . . . .

I couldn’t come up with the perfect topic. However, I’ve made a commitment to write a blog post each month, and this is July 31. I had to tone down my perfectionism and pick a topic that was “good enough.”

In thinking about lessons I’ve learned this month, I realized that word “perfectionism” applies to several of them:

  • My close friend Georgia and I were meeting for lunch and a walk along a river close to where I live. I spent well over an hour trying to pick a restaurant and came up with a list of ten. Even I realized that was a little crazy. Couldn’t we just walk around and see what looked good? Or I could have brought three options. Instead, I had to find the Perfect Place, and if I couldn’t do that, I had to provide several great options.
  • On Saturday afternoon, I went for a run at a forest preserve. The day was warm and the path was not shaded. I walked as much as I ran. I thought, “What is wrong with me? Can’t I motivate myself to run when I’m alone?” But later, I realized this was a back-to-back run—I had run four miles the day before, and on this day, I walked/ran for 3.3 miles. That was nothing to scoff at. It’s being active. I mentioned this incident to a runner-friend and she said, “You ran on that hot afternoon? Wow, you are motivating.” I was grateful for her perspective.
  • My husband and I have been to many concerts this summer, along with a picnic and potlucks. We are making the most of this season. Often, I pack up food to bring to these events. Unless I pick standbys like brownies or fruit salad, I pore over cookbooks deliberating over what to bring. “I’m missing a protein, like chicken. But how do I keep it at the right temperature? And will people like what I bring?” I spend too much time fussing over the food.

And that is the problem with trying to make things perfect. It takes up too much of our time and attention and prevents us from getting things done. Besides, it is stressful. It is better to admit we’re not perfect. We don’t know everything. We make mistakes. And that is OK. It is part of being human.

I hope my reflecting on lessons I’ve learned doesn’t imply that you should be hard on yourself, like I used to be. I’ve always been analytical, and my goal is to learn from my mistakes and to share my lessons learned with you—not to beat myself up. Nowadays, I view my faulty self with more compassion that I used to. I may not be perfect, but I am good enough.

In what ways has perfectionism affected your life? Are you able to view your faults with compassion? What lessons have you learned recently?

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About Susan Ekins

Freelance writer and blogger at Women Making Strides. Interested in personal leadership and empowerment. Wanting inspiration and to inspire. Leader in church ministries. Blog: http://www.WomenMakingStrides.com/ Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/WomenMakingStrides1
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7 Responses to Good Enough versus Perfect

  1. nanciec13 says:

    I’ve been a triple A perfectionist most of my life, to the horror and fear of my parents. In my very late 40’s, I realized that I am not wonder woman, nor perfect, and all that strife had only left me with health problems. enough. I still strive for my best, but perfection is not the top of the list anymore. it does raise it’s sneaky head, though…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wonderful posts and things to ponder. Thank you.
    I tend toward the perfectionism myself, though I’ve tempered it through the years. Recently, we found ourselves suddenly welcoming 5 extra visitors when our daughter and her family came down. That meant we would be hosting 4 adults and 5 children ages 7 – 18 months, in less than 24 hours! I enjoy having the house full, but, I started to panic. Where would they sleep? What would I feed them? I slowed down and decided to relax, do what I could, and make do after that. It worked out beautifully. There were enough towels, enough sheets, enough food – and the unexpected guests saved on hotel rental. They could not have been nicer or more gracious – and I enjoyed having them here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susan Ekins says:

      Penny,
      That is definitely a situation that would initially make me panic, too. But I’m glad you decided to relax and do the best you could without too much stress. I’m sure your guests were happy to have relaxed hosts and that they appreciated what you and your husband did for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Day says:

    Thank you for sharing! Thrilled you honored your commitment to write your blog post!

    Like

  4. alhenry says:

    “And that is the problem with trying to make things perfect. It takes up too much of our time and attention and prevents us from getting things done.”
    Oh yes, this is too often my story, too. I’m sitting here right now, in fact, trying to find the perfect next paragraph for my upcoming post. Maybe now, I’ll just settle for a good one. Who knows, it might turn out better than I imagined.

    Like

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