The cost of perfection

Perfection costs you.
 You sit down, ready to finally take a break… and suddenly every item on your to-do list flashes in front of your eyes.  Time to relax? Gone. Guilt is right there, an unwelcome visitor, robbing you of your time to enjoy life.  This is what perfection costs you: the right to enjoy life.

Crazy how somehow perfectionism has become normal – It’s our new standard.  Social media, self-help, magazine stories, TV and Hollywood all coerce to make us feel inadequate.   We see the glossy and wonderful, the work of branding specialists, skilled marketers and a fleet of personal assistants, nutritionists, cooks, make-up artists, personal trainers, maids, nannies and dog walkers.  So we feel flawed and imperfect, unaware that these standards are just pretty marketing tools. They are not realistic, yet we take them at face value.  How perfect does your life have to be so you can take a break?  There is no end to reaching perfection, there is just you, taking back control over your life.

Very little in life deserves perfection, except maybe engineering and space exploration.  For the rest, good enough and pretty good are excellent, adequate standards – and a lot more realistic.  To believe that you are allowed to have realistic (instead of impossibly demanding) standards, makes life so much better.  In a breath, you can reposition everything.  Trying to have a pristine home with a dog and kids?  Not happening.  Trying to keep up with a crazy workaholic colleague? Nope.  Trying to feed your family gourmet healthy meals à la Martha?  Not so.  Deep breath.  What matters most here?  And suddenly, you can relax and look at what really, truly matters.  Living pretty well, adequate work performance, mostly healthy lifestyle, time for family, friends and for you to take a break and enjoy it.  A well-rounded life.  Are your standards so high you can’t imagine taking a few hours for yourself?  Maybe it’s time to revisit and make your standards fit you.

You are enough, you do enough, and you have enough.  What if… Instead of struggling for perfection, you stopped comparing?  What if… you were pleased with having a pretty good life, job, family and friends?  What if you enjoyed yourself as you are: talents, quirks, appearance – and simply decided to like yourself and to enjoy the life you’ve built, a little more, more often? When you stop wishing for perfection, everything takes on new meaning. Life feels lighter and better.  Instead of working yourself into the ground, you find yourself smiling, enjoying more of what life offers you.

Between perfection and life, there is you, allowing yourself the right to be enough, and to do enough.  Take a minute and take that break to ask yourself: if you aimed for good enough instead of perfection, how would you feel, right now?  What would your day look like, today? You determine and choose your standards – make sure they work for you.


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