I am probably not alone in having a perfectionist voice in me that tells me that unless something is perfect it is not worth doing. It is with reflection, experience and counselling that I can challenge that voice.
The message that we should strive for perfection is a strong one. It may come from family, school, or the culture we are brought up in. This perfectionism means that we may constantly feel like failures because we don’t live up to impossible standards. Or that we overlook to celebrate the achievements we have worked hard for because someone else has done it better than us.
Let’s look at this another way. If you took an exam on the basis that you did as much of every question that you could perfectly you would probably not finish, and possibly fail. Exam technique is to plan your time, do as much as you can in the you’ve time allotted to each question, and when that time is up, move on. You need to be good enough to pass.
I may never be a Michelin star chef, but I can cook sufficiently well to keep myself fed and healthy. I am a good enough cook, and I am ready to learn to do what I do better, without needing to think that if my pie has a soggy bottom I am a failure and the pie is inedible.
Instead of striving for perfection and beating ourselves up when we inevitably don’t achieve it, counselling can help us accept our limitations, value ourselves, see that good enough is good enough and that by accepting this we can be open to learn how we can make our good better.