The gift of good enough

July 23, 2011 at 8:54 AM 3 comments

Have you been dogged by a feeling that nothing is quite good enough? It’s so exhausting and so antithetical to contentment, gratitude and joy. The glass half empty syndrome. It’s stuck me that it’s pretty much at the base of what drives me, at least when I’m under stress. If I feel that way, I’m certainly going to be subconsciously passing that on to  the people around me that I love, like a bitter stain.

We are adapted to see lacks, problems and dangers more sharply than the positive. In the end, people who run up a tree at a rustle in the grass are more likely to escape a leopard and pass their genes on. Over reacting when it’s only your sister sneaking up on you is better than not reacting to a real danger. Read that in New Scientist recently and it makes sense to me from an evolutionary point of view.

‘Good enough’ parenting outcomes for children are identical with ‘no expenses and effort spared’ parenting. I was  relieved to read that when I was agonizing on which nursery school to send my son to.  I did make an effort not to abuse him and he would like to be a little more neglected (preferably with money for groceries in the house by himself so he can turn up the music and have his friends over).  Just saying before you report me to CPS.

If ‘good enough’ parenting allows parents to relax, then maybe there’s such a thing as being a good enough person and _(*Y*&^-ing relaxing a bit, letting in the light and breeze, taking time to follow the stream of other people’s stories, allowing yourself to be interested in something that takes your fancy, like water colors mixed on the page when sometimes they turn into subtle, in-between colors more beautiful than you could ever have intended.

I’m going to give this gift to me, and to people around me. It’s the opposite of judgement, assuming everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, as Arthur Ashe said, I think. As I’m doing.


Entry filed under: Reflections. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. annemccartengibbs  |  July 23, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    I love this thought, and so need to be reminded of it. Thank you!


  • 2. Karen Snelson  |  July 24, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Refreshing to read your pondering. This next year I am resolved to continue project based learning for the kids and learning to do so with the least amount of stress for me and them. I don’t mind working hard but want to avoid the trap of always feeling there is more that should be done, or done better. My research question this year is how to teach well, enjoy it and have space for other aspects of my life? Maybe settling for good enough and not perfect is the key to the puzzel.


  • 3. Diana Bridges  |  July 26, 2011 at 5:37 AM




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