good enough.

I could have cleaned this hurricane off before I took the picture, but instead, I focused on the dust…it was hard, but I did it.

Now I’m about to say a dirty word. (So cover your ears if you’re easily offended). Perfectionist. There, I said it.

On the surface, it might seem that being a perfectionist is a good thing, and sometimes it is. It means that I don’t stop until something is just right. It means that I will push myself further and further until I learn a new skill. It means that people often tell me that I’m really good at this, or that, or the other thing, which is nice.

But being a perfectionist is also a curse. Because I don’t stop until something is just right. Which means I might start over 25 times. Because I will push myself further and further, which means I might stay up until 1:30 a.m. “perfecting” something when I should be snoring. (yes, apparently, I do). It also means that I don’t like to do things that I’m not good at. Even if they might be fun. And it means that I am never satisfied, because perfect is unattainable. I do too much. I drive myself crazy.

So here’s my new goal. Be good enough. Most of the time, no one will even be able to tell the difference.  Most of the time, all the little perfectionist things I do along the way don’t really affect the outcome. And besides, what’s the worst that could happen?

It’s going to be hard, I don’t know if I can do it, always. When it comes to my work, I will still strive for perfection. But when it comes to the little things, like dust on a hurricane, too salty soup, or cat hair on the couch, I will try to strive for good enough. When it comes to decorating for the holidays, or planting my garden, or fixing my unruly hair, I will let good enough be good enough.

I could have focused on the egg in the photo, and the dust would have been lost in the blur. You wouldn’t have known it was there.

Or I could have stopped to clean the dust off.
Reassembled the shot, started over.

But I didn’t. I let you see my dust.

And that was perfect.

For you, kimberla (and little bit for liz at mabel’s house)

23 Responses to “good enough.”

  • Debi Says:

    Well, first of all it’s a beautiful shot & it’s balanced exactly the way I like best. 🙂 Second – me too. Perfectionism IS a curse, and there’s nothing like blogging to help you overcome it. (I say that as if I had.) Years ago, when I was learning to be a photo retoucher (see? what a perfect job for a perfectionist!), I worked nights for a wedding photographer, dust spotting photos, etc., etc., agonizing over every little thing. Finally the woman who was teaching me leaned over, looked at the photo I was working on, and said “You don’t have to worry about the stuff you can’t see with the naked eye”. Yep. I’ve kept that line in my head since then, and sometimes it helps, although apparently my naked eye sees more than others’.

  • Mrs Soup Says:

    Good luck! I’ve been working on being “good enough” as well….may we both be successful!

  • beth Says:

    I have that same nasty gene…wait, are we related ?

  • beth Says:

    oops….I just had to get rid of that b after my name since i’m just beth and I have no idea where it came from 🙂

  • Lisa @ Life is Crazy Beautiful Says:

    Wow, that’s a toughie…good enough can be a hard one for me to swallow (I think it’s getting a little easier with age), ha ha. Nice food for thought! Have you ever told people “But I see it!” or “But I know it’s there!” I’ve finally graduated to things like not re-folding laundry after someone else has folded it incorrectly (I mean differently than I, ha ha).

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      Oh yeah, I’ve said both those things many times and still think them often. When I was little, my mom used to iron our underwear! Seriously, underwear! Maybe that’s where I got it from…

  • margie Says:

    great photo for sure. and good enough, could be your slogan, ah it’s GE.

  • Graciel @ Evenstar Art Says:

    “it also means i don’t like to do things i’m not good at.” amen. the bane of perfectionism. it has held me back and driven me more than half crazy.

    i join you in stepping out of the shackles. to hell with the dishes in the sink, the fur on my clothes, the hair with a mind of its own. i, too, will be ‘good enough’.

    brava!!! xo

  • Marcie Says:

    Aaah…I’ve heard it said that perfectionism is the highest form of self-abuse. And – to that – I can relate…as I have much of those same perfectionistic qualities!!! Lovely image..wonderful composition and dof..but the best part is the dust!!!

  • Sarah Says:

    Perfectionism truly is a curse and I commend you on your new goal to be good enough. I can relate tremendously on what perfectionism can do to a person and I have tried to be just good enough in many cases. I’ve succeeded here and there, yet I feel as if my perfectionism has a life of its own sometimes. I just have to remind myself that I am stronger than it…and good enough, will undoubtedly, have to do. Thanks for letting me see your dust…your dust really is perfect the way it is. “Perfectionism becomes a badge of honor while you play the part of suffering hero.” – wise words to think about 🙂

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      Wise, indeed. Thanks so much for stopping by, I have been surprised at how many people seem to have the same affliction. Maybe we should start a support group!

  • Rachel...aka Nolia Says:

    I can’t thank you enough for this post! It’s everything I’ve always wanted to say for 35 years. I wrote a blog post about perfectionism and it just sounded so depressing…your post was so inspirational that I actually saved it to my personal files so I could remind myself to “Be good enough”. I also loved your comment about “it also means I don’t like to do things I’m not good at”…SO true how we hold ourselves back! Thank you for your post!

  • Marilynne Says:

    I once got into a horrible argument with a perfectionist (female) at work. I told her i only tried to be 95% correct, because after that you often introduce new errors and are still off perfection. She felt everyone was slacking their jobs if they were not only perfect, but her vision of perfect.

    Trust me, 95% is good enough. You will spend too much time trying to be 100% and you could spend that time laughing, or dancing, or walking in the rain.

  • dooshy Says:

    *scratches head confused*

    so what you’re saying is perfection CAN be good enough?

  • Tracy Says:

    I am so happy you have cat hair on your couch. Seriously. You have no idea how happy that makes me! 🙂

  • Laura Says:

    I love to blog, but since I’m a self-diagnosed “chaotic perfectionist,” (meaning I’m generally right-brained and disorganized but yet need certain things done a certain way), it takes me a while to write my posts because I want them just right. I’m curious to know…how about you?

    • Mrs. Mediocrity Says:

      Well, it depends on the day I think, sometimes it takes me several hours, other days they seem to flow quickly. But overall I would say yes, that is one area where I am still caught in perfectionist mode… That is part of it for me though, choosing where I can let go and where it is worth trying (because we never get there) for something closer to perfection.

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