Good Enough. Not Perfect.

Hey Friends! Today’s post is on embracing “good enough” and letting go of perfectionism. Trying to be perfect is plain exhausting…and who really has time for that? Not me.

Brene Brown has been quoted as saying this, “Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgement and blame.” Brene goes on to say, ” Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life.”

Those with IBS experience greater levels of internalized stigma (a feeling of disapproval) with this chronic, debilitating disease. “Research has found that individuals exhibiting higher levels of perfectionism are more likely to experience self-stigma, making these individuals especially vulnerable to not seeking assistance.”

It took me a while to fully appreciate how perfectionism can get in the way of truly embracing who we are and living a well balanced life.  Life is so more enjoyable and less stressful when you get real with yourself, accept who you are and share your authentic self with the world.

Letting go of perfectionism allows room for self compassion and self love into your life. Amen to that! 

Have you ever seen someone trip while walking? Some people laugh at themselves…and move on. Others look around, look down at the ground in an attempt to pretend it didn’t happen. When I see those individuals that appear so awkward…my heart sinks with them. Do you feel that way too?  The reality is…every single one of us has awkwardly tripped. And really, who cares if you do….as long as you don’t get hurt… 😉 Did you know everyone has experienced diarrhea? Yup. It’s okay to say the ‘D’ word. Especially to your health care providers.

Part of my I Believe in your Story campaign launched during IBS awareness month this year and will return with gusto next April with the return of IBS awareness month, was to encourage IBS patients to share their stories. Sharing stories helps others realize that they are not alone. It empowers others to shine their real light and be seen. And this my friends is very freeing.

The realization that we all make mistakes should remind us that we are not suppose to be perfect.

Last semester, I was in my graduate class, Research Methods, and my professor asked us to present a review of a paper we recently critiqued and discuss our upcoming research project. It was a last minute request, I was not mentally ready…and I was the first to go.  I literally “choked on my words”. My heart started pounding and I could barely put a few sentences together about my project. My old self would have kept playing this scene over and over in my head of my ‘choking on my words” in class  and maybe feeling bad about it and myself…but you know what, the new (& wiser) me…shrugged it off, smiled and moved on with my day.

Recently, my colleague Marci Evans, dietitian, food and body image healer, sent out a newsletter with her 3 part process to let go of perfectionism. I could not like this message more! Marci Evans specializes in eating disorders in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Marci wrote this in her newsletter:

“When my primary motivation behind a choice is to prove my worth, appear better than another person or protect myself from difficult feelings through perfectionism, I find myself depleted and worn out.

When my primary motivation behind a choice is to connect to my values of authenticity, connection and healing, my efforts enlarge my soul and energize me.”

Marci shares her 3 step process to help let go of trying to be perfect:

  1. “Assess your intention and motivation. Get honest with yourself about what drives you. 
  2. Decide on what you can let go of and what you can keep in order to feel ‘good enough.’ 
  3. Bask in opting out. As you practice accepting your “good enoughness,” you can celebrate the freed up space that is tied up in the impossible game of perfection. This is literal found time, headspace, and energy. Wahoo!

So, I end with this today, “good enoughness” is where it is at. It’s a healthier, less stressful, authentic, and fun way to live your life. I highly recommend you try to be simply, good enough.



8 replies on “Good Enough. Not Perfect.

  • Sandy

    Excellent advice. I laugh out loud as I can relate to the experience you had in your graduate class completely 🙂
    We are all human. It’s best to laugh and move on and to stop being so hard on ourselves. Life is too short to be perfect all the time. Sometimes we are so caught up in perfecting the moment that we actually miss it.

    • katescarlata

      Thanks for chiming in, Sandy! Glad you can relate. And I agree, perfectionism can rob you of the most important things in life. I think the best part of letting go of perfection is letting your authentic self be seen. So freeing and really, in the end, attracts the right people that get you and like you for ‘you’ into your life!

  • emmie

    One of my favorite posts, yet, Kate. It is this type of healing that has led me to feeling the best I have in years although none of the many chronic autoimmune diseases and health conditions I have can be cured. It has been mental, emotional, and spiritual healing combined with good health care and sel-advocacy. Some days I’m better at it than others and that is OK!!! Thank you for your part in my journey.

  • Linda Bryan

    Thanks! This is an important message, especially for those like me who have stress-aggravated digestive problems. Why make myself sick by judging myself? I like to think, “If they wanted perfection they would have hired God.”

    I have to remind myself that when it comes to bowel trouble, there is only “eating smarter” and “eating more foolish” or “eating carelessly” but not eating “right” or “wrong.” When I make food-choice mistakes, I now tell myself “That was a real adventure! Hope it was worth it, you silly girl!” or something like that. No need to beat myself up or to obsess. This attitude has allowed me to eat more broadly and it has paid off–I am more confident to try foods and to concoct meals composed of tolerable amounts of FODMAPs. I also am more wiling to tolerate some discomfort in order to eat something that is fun, nutritious, or special. It’s not going to kill me.
    (I am grateful for modern plumbing and modern medicine, though.)

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