The Dangerous Appeal of Perfect

When I write a post, it usually contains some sort of lesson that I myself need to learn. Anything I tell you, or recommend to you, is most likely part of my own journey and if I’m writing about it, it means I have not mastered it yet. Such was the case yesterday, when I suggested to you all that the biggest enemy of “good” was “good enough.” But I have been reminded by enough people now of Good’s other greatest enemy that I would be remiss not to mention it here. It’s just not a lesson I personally need to learn, so sometimes I forget to bring it up. Because of course the other greatest enemy of Good is Perfect.

I have no problems being imperfect. I do not strive to make all things their absolute best at all times, because I personally believe that Perfect is a myth and does not really exist. Perhaps it is my background as a performer and musician that brings me to this conclusion. But to me, anything without flaws is not Perfect, it is Boring. I love imperfect. Me? I need to work on getting past Good Enough just to get to Good. I get confused sometimes into actually thinking that Good Enough is the same as Good. And it isn’t. But let me tell you about the other side of the coin.

Some people, and I know this to be true because I have met such people, can also confuse Good with Good Enough, but in the opposite direction. They can see something Good and think it is Good Enough, and they strive hard to make it better. They equate Good with Perfect. They kill themselves over teensy details because Good isn’t Good Enough at all. They need Perfect. I can tell you from experience that needing Perfect kills Good. I have been in many situations with someone who cannot see the Good that is staring right back at them, because they are looking for Perfect. And I have seen them kill the Good and make it Bad in their quest for Perfect. Good Enough does not go far enough, but Perfect is almost worse, because it goes too far.

When you can’t recognize that something is Good, when you bend over backwards draining yourself in a quest for the Perfect that you have confused with Good, you are not making things better. You need Take a Break. You need perspective. And do not confuse perspective with comparison, because that will not get you anywhere. Nobody broadcasts their failures. You are looking at imaginary Perfect and feeling as though your Good does not measure up. And it doesn’t need to. Comparison is often not helpful at all. Instead, try true perspective. Look at it from another angle. Your angle. Don’t think about how it should be, think about how it is. Is there goodness in it? Do your closest allies insist that it is Good? Because maybe it is. Maybe your Good Enough is Good after all.

Perfection is something that we all move toward on our life paths, and it is something we can aspire to. But it is not something we can achieve on our own and, like inifinity, it is really more of a concept than an actual thing. If you struggle with the need to be Perfect, try focusing instead on how to be Better. And don’t do it from a place of stress or worry. Do it from a place that acknowledges that you are Good. Isolate what is not Good, and work on it. Gently. But know that Perfect isn’t a place you are ever going be in this world, and Good is more common than you think. In fact, it might even be you.

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Posted in Life.

2 Comments

  1. I struggle with this from time to time. I’m always trying to compare my beginning with other people’s middle. Have to work on doing my best and letting it be what it is! Thanks for the encouraging post!

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