Ambition is valuable and important to all of us, but at some point, it can also be a source of serious problems and a lot of stress. The drive for perfection, fuelled by social media, is one of the reasons for the growing problem of depression, nervous breakdowns, anxiety, and emotional instability. That is why we encourage you to change your perspective and attitude because, in order to be happy, it is enough to be “good enough”.
The harshest judge
One of the ways to inhibit the tendency to be a perfectionist was included in the work of the British psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. In the 1950s, he focused his research on family relationships. He admitted that in his many years of practice, he often met parents who were plagued by feelings of failure because their children did not get into a good school or had tasks worse than their peers or, even worse, they quarrelled among themselves.
Winnicott stated that unrealistic hopes and high expectations are the sources of disappointment and suffering for many parents. He saw a chance to combat destructive perfectionism with an attitude of “it’s good enough”. No child – as he explained – needs an ideal parent. What children need are good, decent, well-meaning, and sometimes cranky but sensible parents. Winnicott also argued that good mental health protects our ability to avoid judging ourselves negatively when we fail. Contrary to appearances, it is not so simple! His research showed that we are our own worst judge whenever we face difficulties or failures.
A golden trap
The concept of “good enough” was created as an escape from the dangerous ideals that translate into not only parenthood but also our relationships and job satisfaction. The situation, however, has become a bit more complicated in the era of social media, where romantic gestures include a hundred red roses sent by flower mail or an engagement in a helicopter flying over Miami. How do we cope with such images? Let go! A relationship can be passionate and rewarding without spectacular frills, and work can be a source of pride, even if we don’t play foosball during our lunch break. It is enough if it is good enough!
What does this actually mean? First of all, it slows down our chase for something that does not guarantee our satisfaction. When we switch to online mode, we are the fastest, the most beautiful, and the brightest, or at least we do everything to be or look like that. The key, however, is what brings us joy and happiness, even if it is instant coffee instead of a sleek latte with a cat’s image in the foam.
What can you do to be good enough?
- Give yourself time to make changes, do not switch to an extreme diet, or suddenly try to do backbreaking exercise five times a week.
- Identify and celebrate small successes.
- Listen to yourself and your real needs; think about what really gives you joy.
- Stay away from discouraging content on social media.
- Take care of your recovery and sleep instead of spending time scrolling through your phone’s content.
- Indulge in enjoyment – occasionally eat your favourite brownie.
- Analyse failures, but do not dwell on them.
- Give yourself and others the right to have bad days and difficult emotions.