No one is perfect, which is why pencils have erasers. Good enough is good enough. So why do we mess things up by trying to be perfect? There might be some fear involved – fear of making mistakes, fear of disappointing ourselves or others, fear of falling short, fear of success, etc. It may come from our judgement about our worth. It may be about an image (only in our own minds) we created for ourselves to live up to. Whatever the reason, it is a recipe for continual disappointment.
What can we do about it? The answer may be simple, but not easy. For me, I can trace this back to my childhood. I got messages from certain family members, both verbal and through body language, that I had to always be the best. This was a tough message to be carrying around in my head. It caused much distress through high school and university. What made it worse, is that I knew I was not always the best which kept me from participating in certain activities.
Fast forward to the present, I decided there was another side to this story. A new mindset and a new story line was in order. Here’s how my new story goes.
I have reframed “being” the best to “doing” my best. If I do my best each day knowing my best will vary from day to day., that is perfectly good enough.
Another part of this new story has to do with mistakes. As I was growing up, I never got the message that it is alright to make mistakes. It is alright to be wrong now and then. What I know now, of course, is that mistakes can be a good thing, They are how we learn. Mistakes have led to some of the world’s great discoveries. Anyone who has never made a mistake likely never took a risk or tried anything new. Mistakes are just an aspect of being human.
It’s been very helpful using sound bites from this story such as everyone makes mistakes, it’s okay to suck at something, there is no shame or guilt being imperfect, accepting that good enough is good enough. The whole truth is that everyone of us is perfectly imperfect.
I am reminded of the Japanese philosophy Wabi-Sabi which is a concept that motions us to constantly search for the beauty in imperfection and accept the more natural cycle of life. Next week I will do a deeper dive into this wonderful philosophy of life.
Comments are welcomed.