Friday, July 13, 2012

What If There's Always Cups in the Sink? What If I'm Not What You Think I Am?

Several months ago, I sat in a seminar where the speaker gave this little tidbit of wisdom – “Done is better than perfect.” 

My thought: Um… what?!?

"Uh, yeah... what's mediocre here?"
Because when the waiter asks you how your meal was, you don’t want to say, “Oh, it was perfect!”  You instead want to declare, “I was hungry and now I’m not, so I guess it did its job.”

Or when you look back on your wedding day, instead of exclaiming, “It was the best day I could have imagined,” you say, “well, in the end we were legally married, that’s the important thing.”

And it’s always awesome to get up from your hair stylist’s chair and instead of saying, “Excellent job, I love it!” say, “Uh, thanks for your time.  It sure is shorter.”

So, I’m saying it, respectfully… perfect is better.

I understand that I’m a bit of a perfectionist (oddly enough, only about some things. For instance, it has never bothered me that I simply cannot ever get to the bottom of the laundry hamper. I can get close – but before I’ve removed the last bit of dirty clothes, more laundry gets tossed on top. It makes you wonder what’s really down there.  I’m sure I’ll never know). 

As I was saying, I can be a bit of a stickler for details and wanting things done the way I want them.  I usually consider this a good thing.  Who doesn’t like to get to the end of an event or project and think, wow, that really turned out well?  But I know there is a deeper reason to have every “t” crossed and every “i” dotted…

Wow, this kind of makes it look like a bad thing...
You see, the fine person who gave the aforementioned quote was, in fact, a man.  If you’re at all like me, you’re probably thinking, “Ah, that explains it.”  Not that men don’t stress out, or also have to find a balance in all they do, or also have to complete more than is possible in the hours of the day.  But I do think that,  perhaps,  they are not driven by the same unrelenting force that keeps us women going and doing and working until everything is perfect….guilt.

It’s not that I don’t see any validity in what was said at the seminar – sometimes “good enough” should be just that, but sometimes I feel like a crocheted blanket.  If you pull at one loose thread, the whole thing unravels.  

Does that ever happen to you?  One thing goes wrong, often something small, and the next thing you know, you’re a sniffling mess, obsessing about every area of your life where you feel not-good-enough.  I refer to this as the “Six Degree Spiral: A Slippery Slope into Self-Loathing.”

EXAMPLE: Last week, I had to spend more money than I wanted to.  Why?  Because I’m too fat.  Here’s the breakdown: I had to spend money on lunch when I had fully intended on packing something from home  -> I didn’t pack anything from home because I was running so late -> I was running so late because I couldn’t find anything to wear -> I couldn’t find anything to wear because I didn’t do laundry -> I wouldn’t have to do laundry so often if more of the stuff hanging in my closet fit me right -> More of the stuff hanging in my closet would fit me right if I wasn’t too fat.

Slippery slope.

Maybe I need to get to a point in life where a failure in ONE area doesn’t mean a failure in ALL areas.

If the milk is expired, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an awful wife.

If Micah forgets to put his glasses on before school one day, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a terrible mother.

If I get an email that I haven’t sent in a report, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m no good at my job.

Maybe I need to write all that in lipstick on my bathroom mirror and read it out loud when I feel like I might fall apart. 

I do need to realize I can’t always be perfect – there’s not enough time to do it all, and do it all the very best.  So I will adopt this quote for my own life – “Done is better than not done.  But perfect is perfect!”

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