When was the last time you were ok with things being good enough and not perfect?
What is the difference between being good enough and being perfect?
I took the last few weeks off to help ground myself. I’d read this Buzzfeed article on burnout the day it came out. It reminded me of this blog post from a few years back. I needed to stop for a moment, it felt like I was placing an unattainable perfection as my main focus instead of letting things be good enough.
My life has changed a lot in the last few months and it seemed like a good moment to reassess where my priorities are. It’s easy to get out of alignment and fall into a trap of wanting perfect life, with perfect being defined by others.
I feel stagnant when this happens. I think I’m incapable of competing at an adequate level. So, I stop trying to compete by not engaging in the areas I feel incompetent at.
I realized that I had been letting an idea of perfection that wasn’t my own help dictate some of my choices. Because of this, I had been working toward goals which weren’t my own. I was also feeling defeated because I didn’t feel like I was making any progress on the goals I had set out.
Of course I wasn’t. The goals I was feeling overwhelmed with by not working toward weren’t mine.
I needed to become grounded in myself, to explore what I want and need. From this, I have been able to come up with goals that are mine.
For example, I get easily overwhelmed by cleaning. I have an image in my mind from Better Homes and Garden about what clean is suppose to look like, and it’s an image that I never feel capable of achieving or maintaining. Worse, I don’t even like the general, almost sterile aesthetic that I get when I look at that type of home photo. I like a lived in look, a bit cluttered by not overwhelming. I realized that I had been holding myself hostage in regards to my cleaning schedule because I wasn’t achieving a goal I’d created from looking at photographs of rooms I only kind of liked.
Acknowledging that, and letting it go, has allowed space and mental energy for something which is more in line with who I am and what I’m capable of.
This shift in mindset is a little change that doesn’t feel little at all.
It takes time, and effort, and energy to find out what is genuinely good enough for you, and how you see perfection. This process can require painful introspection on behaviors and habits. However, it helps build a life that is your own.
It’s not a shift that’s going to cure generational burnout. But it is a shift that could make some adulthood things easier. Things are easier to achieve when you are doing them or working toward them because you want to do them, not because you feel compelled to do them from an outside force.
And things are easier when you give yourself slack. I don’t have time to clean my house on a regular basis. Between work, grad school, and general exhaustion, I can’t clean the way I want to. I feel compelled to view each room as a task that needs to be completed, and this view left me stagnant. I want a cleaner space, and this doesn’t have to be accomplished through marathon cleaning sessions. So, I made a list of the tasks that need to be done on a recurring basis and do a few when I have the time and energy.
It’s good enough. Not because “it has to be”, but because it is. I don’t want a perfect life; I don’t want to be the best of the best or anything else like that. And I don’t wish to hold great as an enemy of good.
There have been a lot of good critiques and responses to the Buzzfeed article since it’s publication. Many of them have been on the ways burnout is felt among various disenfranchised populations. They have provided other interesting, and needed, views on this topic.