Chasing Perfection (or ‘good enough’)
How much time do we spend chasing being perfect, getting things spot on, being ‘good enough’?
Even the most slapdash amongst us have certain standards that we think we need to meet! Whether it’s time spent on the tasks themselves, or just the mental effort of thinking about how things ‘should’ be, and worrying about when or whether we will get them done or right.
We might place more emphasis on getting things right in some areas than others. Some will focus on careers or business, others will want their relationship to be perfect, or their home to be ‘just so’, or their diet/body to be right, or their hobbies/sports to be at their best, or their children to be perfectly well balance/behaved/fed/dressed…
So going back to the original question – how much time we spend chasing this – I’m going to assume that your answer is ‘a lot’.
It can feel and look to us like we need to get these things done or right or perfect in order to get them off our backs so we can relax. Or so that we can stop worrying about what people think of us. Or worrying whether everything is going to be okay in one way or another. It’s pretty normal for it to look like that. That’s our conditioning. We all have some kind of mental shopping list that we are trying to live up to.
Yet trying to achieve this perfection, get things right etc, is a bottomless pit. Even if we did meet our own exceptionally high standards, then we’re likely to notice new things that we think we could be doing better. The best we’ll manage is a temporarily experience of the idea of being finished/perfect, and the temporary happiness or peace that comes with the end of the chase – until we come up with something else that we think we need to do.
The discomfort that we experience when things don’t look perfect or aren’t finished doesn’t come from needing it to be done or better. It comes from thinking that we need things to be a certain way for us to be able to be relaxed (happy/secure, etc). By believing that, we experience a state of lack. “This isn’t finished, so I am not happy”. That is the uncomfortable feeling. The idea that this shouldn’t be this way. If you believe that something shouldn’t be the way that it is and that you need it to be different, then of course you are going to feel uncomfortable. We can take the uncomfortable feeling as a gentle prod from the body to let us know that we are looking in the wrong direction for peace/happiness.
Our wellbeing is always with us (as I explained in this previous article), so we can relax and be happy now. Not when _____ (fill in the blank).
For some, this realisation is a weight off. A physical feeling of tension lifting, a calmness being rediscovered from within. For others, an alarm is going off at this point. “Yeah but if I don’t worry about getting these things right, then I’ll never get them sorted”. I have two answers to that.
- Maybe. But why do you want them sorted? What’s the real reason? Seek it from within. Ask yourself what you are really trying to achieve here. Is it some kind of peace, happiness, contentment, security? – If the belief that you need to get this done is the very thing that is blocking the peace and happiness, does the discomfort provide any benefit?
- Not necessarily. You might actually find that without the emotional sting, you’ll have a clearer mind. You may be more productive, and find creative solutions that you hadn’t previously considered. You might even enjoy doing them! When the mind is full of thoughts of ‘shoulds’ there’s not a lot of space for any alternative ‘coulds’.
You don’t need things to be perfect/good enough, because You already are. When you are seeking perfection externally, you miss what already exists, right here, right now. Pure perfection, waiting to be enjoyed.
Want to know more about how I can help? Drop me a line or give me a call. A successful coaching relationship depends upon a great rapport, so it’s important to talk. I want to get to know you, see inside your world and we can assess how we’d go from there!