As we move into the New Year, there is a lot to keep in mind. One thing that will help us all is if we can remember that “Perfect is the Enemy of Good.”
As a recovering perfectionist, I have to keep remembering this. Whether I am cleaning my house, doing a project, or writing an article; there is a point where I must say, “It is good enough.” If I keep striving to make it perfect, I am only going to be spinning my wheels and wasting my time.
I began to learn this lesson when my oldest son was a toddler. I would clean the house, look around and think, “Everything looks so good, it is perfect.” That would last about five minutes. He would drag his toys into the living room, spread them out and begin to play. My perfect home was no more. At some point, he would be done with those toys; we would pick them up, put them away and he would drag out some more. All day long this would go on, and only at night, when all the toys were put away and he was in bed sleeping, did my house look “perfect” again.
I then had another child. The cycle continued and I continued to be stressed on the inside because my “house wasn’t perfect.” Looking back, I can see that I should have just relaxed and enjoyed the fact that my children were having fun. That was really a good thing; my children had a good childhood and enjoyed their home. If I would have learned the lesson then, I could have saved myself years of stress.
You see, when you are a perfectionist, you look at life through a lens that casts a negative light on everything you see. That critical eye can find something that is not quite right in every situation. It can rob you of your happiness because as you look around, you see the things that take away from the perfection in every situation.
The truth is, life is not perfect, nothing really is. The new car is only perfect until you drive it off the lot and a rock puts a ding in the paint. That new home is only perfect until you move into it and someone spills coffee on the rug. The new husband or wife is only perfect until you start living with them. Instead of seeing things through the lens of perfection, we need to see things through a lens that sees the good in every situation.
As we move into the New Year, I wish you one that is good – not perfect!