Not making the perfect the enemy of the good,
Is the way to get life right as we know we should,
Close enough is good enough—I’m sure you’ll agree,
Good enough is good enough—easy as can be.
Perfectionism is a nemesis, a taskmaster that’s hard,
It has a way about it that ensures our lives are marred,
Instead we can just as easily work with far less dread,
Soon as we take off the pressure and put it straight to bed.
One of the biggest problems we make of life is making it harder than it has to be.
Why do we expect perfection of ourselves and other people? Why is it that we need to always meet or exceed the strict standards we set for ourselves? Many of our ‘standards’ are higher than they need to be.
Where Does Our Perfectionism Come From?
It’s a good question, isn’t it? When did we become such hard-to-satisfy taskmasters?
The choice for realism and to achieve to a satisfactory level is the wisdom of someone who has nothing to prove to anyone else. This freedom from perfectionism is freedom from a special sense of anxiety. Having perfectionist traits reveals something deeper about us that invites exploration.
Sometimes we have lofty goals for ourselves, as if we want to impress someone. Perhaps it’s a father or mother, another family member, or an important mentor. Some of these lofty goals come from childhood dreams. Sometimes these dreams compel us in healthy ways, and other times they don’t.
Other reasons for perfectionism are more extrinsic. We were always expected to achieve highly, and, now that we are on our own, we cannot break loose of these onerous demands that have always weighed us down.
Wherever the perfectionist streak comes from it’s hard to break.
Accepting ourselves as perfectionists is an important step. Acceptance needs to be achieved before we can gradually turn the cogs of change. Knowing where our perfectionism comes from is important.
Good enough is good enough in life. We don’t need to be perfect to do well. We don’t even need to be good or even average at everything. We can even afford to be poor, weak, and even pathetic at some things.
Real freedom in life comes when we are relaxed and realistic in our goals. Wisdom rejects perfectionism as a folly forcing happiness in life. Happiness is never forced.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.