The Benefits of Being Good Enough
I once read that “being busy is a choice.” A part of me yelled, “truth,” but another part of me thought, “Well, you don’t really get my life.” I thought, “Do you really understand what it is like being a mother of 2 young children, do you know what it is like being a working mother, and do you get what it takes to balance career, educational goals, and parenthood?” I then paused and reflected, “Well I guess those aspirations were my choice.” I love my choices, and the many hats that I wear. My struggle with busyness is not unique. In fact, many of my clients struggle with similar difficulties. I feel my empathy pour out for them, when I hear stories similar to mine.
Being busy is a choice, but it doesn’t always feel good. Being busy means that all the things that occupy our time are important and valuable, but so is our self-care and balance in our life. How can we have balance when our plate is over flowing at times? The answer might surprise you? In order to be good at these things and in order to feel good, it often requires ridding ourselves of the urge to be perfect. As a society, we are loading ourselves with activities starting in elementary all the way through adulthood. Believe it or not, I sometimes high five my high school clients when they tell me that they are a star on a varsity sports team, manage a social life, attend church, have family time, and made a *gasp* B on their latest AP test. The adolescent discovered how to combat anxiety disorders and general chronic stress, by being proud of good enough. The next week, they might make an A on the test, but scale back in another area. It is balance, and perfection should not be required at any age, but especially not in adolescence.
High achieving adults, this goes for you, as well. You need to stop requiring perfection and start requiring balance. I get it, you are driven and determined. It might even look so easy for everyone else on social media, and you feel the need to compare yourself. However, we have to stop comparing other people’s highlights on social media to our real life. As a therapist who hears people’s real life stories, I can ensure you that no one is doing it all with perfection. There is a limited amount of ourselves, time, abilities, and energy for all of us. When you give more in one area, it also means that you are taking away from another area in your life. This is why I love the notion of good enough. I sometimes work long days, but have two beautiful children at home that have my heart. This means that breakfast is not home-made, dinner might not be Pinterest perfect, and I can ensure you that my house is not in any condition to host guests. It is all good enough, and I have accepted and enjoyed good enough. I am a student finishing up my final classes for my doctorate. I recently confided in my professor that I am at a point in my life that I just don’t care about grades. I told him to teach me to learn, but not for a grade. I’ll perform just good enough, hello B’s, and that is enough. On the other side, I also have areas that I won’t compromise in and refuse to be just good enough. My time with my family is one. I don’t respond to work emails when I am with my family, I try to soak in every moment, and I pour my love into them.
A good exercise for everyone is to think of areas that you feel okay being just good enough in. Look at that list and try to find themes. For instance, did you compromise all areas that had to do with self-care? If so, maybe you need to rethink your list to make sure your needs are meet. Keep your life balanced, and make sure it seems sustainable. Remind yourself that giving up the idea of perfection leads to more self-compassion, better mental health, and more time to pursue all your goals and priorities.
Written by Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S
Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing counseling and diagnostic evaluations for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, evaluations, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting www.heightsfamilycounseling.com and read more about her services http://heightsfamilycounseling.com/services-1/