After my first year of motherhood and 32 years in this world, I’m here to tell you that “good enough” and “better than nothing” are two of the most underrated mindsets we have in today’s society.
We are taught from birth to strive for perfection, to be the best, to look the best, to buy the next best thing, to always go bigger and better. Or we might have been brought up to not try at all, work the system, milk it for all it’s worth, live off other people’s hard work and get as far as we can by doing as little as possible.
There’s a problem with these two extremes. They are extreme! It doesn’t need to be all or nothing. By trying so hard to achieve perfection, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment because we have unrealistic expectations. By not trying at all, we gain nothing (important) and give nothing back, while lacking a sense of purpose.
I think there’s an alternative. What if we gave what we could, when we could? What if we accepted certain things in life and looked at them as an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect, even when it wasn’t ideal?
While having breakfast with my son today, this concept rushed into my mind and bombarded my thoughts. I came up with a pile of examples (in a matter of minutes) for why “good enough” and “better than nothing” are actually not a bad way to live your life. I’m not saying you should approach everything this way, because in my line of work, I tend to be a perfectionist and in other areas of my life, I can’t always accept things as “good enough”. BUT, I can tell you that these are some common areas people deal with and if we changed our perspective, we might just be a little bit happier, this world might be a little bit brighter, and “the struggle” might not be so “real”.
1. Appearance. What if we accepted ourselves as good enough, instead of trying to tweak, enhance, and perfect. We want those eyes, with those legs, and that hair. But, why do we have to fit a standard? What if we were kinder to ourselves (and others) and said, “I am just fine the way I am. The end, moving on.” Beauty fades, anyway.
2. Relationships. What if we stopped looking for our perfect soulmate and realized that we are all imperfect? We chew too loud, we laugh like a hyena, we use the word “like” too much, we snore and fart in our sleep, we aren’t great communicators, we shut down or we blow up. If we were just a little more forgiving of others, we might stand a chance at finding someone who is “perfect” for us. This goes for other relationships, too. Expecting perfection out of others is a recipe for disaster. Let’s try to practice compassion and communication. It might actually get us pretty far.
3. Career. We go through school for YEARS. We spend all this time preparing for our future and then one day, we are thrown out on our butts, with a bunch of debt and no clue what to do. What if we were hopeful? What if we applied everywhere, even places that were “beneath” us and met the employers in person, vowed to work hard and do our best, even if we were still hoping for a better job. What if we were grateful just to have work? Work that might lead to a higher position, might open doors, might just teach us a lesson about people and less about the job itself. What if it didn’t lead to more, could we be happy that it was better than nothing? Side note: Watch “Undercover Boss”. You’ll get a feel for people who actually love their non-glamorous jobs and make the most of where they are and what they are doing. It’s admirable, but hard to do.
4. Stuff. What if today, we accepted the fact that no matter how much more we get, we won’t be any happier because of it. Stuff does not equal happiness. As much as the Joneses (fine, the Kardashians) want to dictate what is necessary to be up to speed, and fashionable, and “cool”, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter! There’s no way you will ever be ahead of the game and even trying to keep up with it, is exhausting. Let’s try to be content with what we have, because chances are, it’s already more than we need. If we have food and shelter, it truly is good enough.
5. Time. It’s so common to say, “I need more hours in the day”. But, what would you do with them? Probably add to your to-do list and still run out of time to do everything. What if we used our time more wisely and embraced the mindset of better than nothing? Our time with family and friends would be worth more. It’s tough to accept time for what it is. We either have too much and complain we’re bored or we have so little, that we don’t make an effort at all to tackle that project or make that call or grab that bite with that friend. What if we tried? What if we got off Facebook!? What kind of time could we free up? It seems that when my plate is completely full and I think there’s no way to get it all done, it somehow gets done. I’m forced to prioritize and then get going. Time management and realizing that the time we are given is better than nothing, is a start.
6. Giving. What if we stopped making excuses? We don’t have enough money, time, talents, etc. to give, so we won’t do anything at all. What if what we had to offer was good enough. Imagine how we could change the world, if every single person with spare change came together to help the poor get back on their feet, the homeless find homes, the orphans find families, the sick find healing. It would literally change everything, if we believed we could help someone else in some small way. No striving to give back millions of dollars or reach thousands with your life changing message, just connecting with someone or a few someones on a personal level. What if everyone did this? It gives me chills to think about!
7. Personal Growth. What if we accepted that our personal growth was going to be a lifelong process and we would never achieve perfection? What if we believed that every single experience, good and bad, were all part of God’s plan for us and He was molding us into the people we were created to be. What if we kept trying and kept learning, but cut ourselves some slack at the same time.
8. Faith. What if we vowed to read more and pray more and trust more. Even with our doubts and conflicting views, what if we sought the truth and held tightly to it, because what do we have to lose? If there is a God, we’ve grown our relationship with Him and we get to spend forever in heaven. If there isn’t a God, there isn’t a God. What if we accepted that we are good enough, just the way we are, to come to Him and let Him lead the way for us. We ultimately have little control in this life anyway and He is the perfect GPS.
These are just my Thursday morning thoughts and I figured I’d write them down and share them with you. I haven’t had a burst of inspiration like this in awhile and I figured I’d seize the moment (while the little boy is sleeping). As always, I appreciate your feedback!
Love to all!
Disclaimer: These are all a reminder to me, as well. Whenever I write anything “inspirational”, a huge reason I write it, is to remind me and motivate me. We are all imperfect, but can sometimes use a change of perspective.