• Dr. Nelly De Ridder

When Is Good Enough, Good Enough?

Applying Your Best Efforts, Not Perfection:

Perfection is an illusive concept that is unattainable. Yet, we have all found ourselves striving for it. Some more than others. The quest for perfection is an exhausting, exercise in frustration and disappointment.

Consider Donald Winnicott, MD, a British Pediatrician. He coined the term, "good enough Mother". The meaning being: parents and guardians, in raising children, realize that children benefit when mistakes are made by child or parent/guardian. (excluding child abuse/neglect)

The process of parenting is being attentive to a child's needs, creating security and safety. However, sine this cannot occur all of the time, a child learns to live in an imperfect world. Imperfection and mistakes allow a child to learn to tolerate frustration, disappointment and develop resiliency.

Some causes of perfectionism are: being raised with unrealistic expectation (often fueled by the false belief that the higher the expectation, the more success a child will have), being falsely blamed for events outside of ones control, and excessive criticism.

Not accepting mistakes as normal learning opportunities or finding humor causes:

1) self criticism

2) shutting down/ like boarding yourself up from the outside world

3) Over thinking (should have, would have, could have)

4) Personalization: "It's all my fault.", "I don't measure up.", "No one else makes these mistakes."

5) It literally freezes personal growth and creates overwhelming barriers.

Remember: What we focus on grows more and more into our reality!!

Take Away:

1) Be reasonably consistent with your goals. Realize that goals are moving targets; adjustable to adapt to new information.

2) Accept that we all make mistakes.

3) Mistakes are for learning, mistakes teach growth.

4) Perfection is humanly imperfect.

5) The greatest life lessons, inventions and solutions resulted from mistakes.

Be brave enough to try and strong enough to learn from mistakes. Do not chase the illusive unicorn called perfection.

Sometimes good enough is good enough!

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