When is “good enough”, good enough?
While getting ready this morning, I chose for my outfit a gray sweater and a pair of gray leggings. At the last minute, I grabbed a gray cardigan to wear (because it is unseasonably cold and I’m a wimp). The grays in all of the pieces kind of, sort of matched. Closing my closet door and taking a quick glance at my ensemble in the mirror, I thought, “eh, good enough”.
Of course, as I was climbing into the car, I kept second guessing myself. Does this really match? Should I go back in and change? Oh for god’s sake, Lisa, does it even matter?
Who cares, right? But, as always, it is about the outfit - and it has nothing to do with the outfit. You may or may not have had this particular argument with yourself, but I’m willing to bet you’ve had the Good-Enough Dilemma.
That’s the moment where you question what you are thinking or doing or who you are being*, and wonder - is this really good enough?
Spoiler alert: The answer? It depends*.
*Note: We’re talking about actions and beliefs here - not about you. Do not ever question if YOU are good enough. The answer is always YES. Always.
Think of “good enough” as a line that you set for yourself. You use this line as a measure for your actions. If they fall short, you generally feel discomfort and continue efforts to try reach that line. If the actions exceed the “good enough” line, you generally feel comfortable, and allow the actions to continue as they are and/or cease any further effort.
For example: If you are cleaning your sink, you have a point of good enough in regards to how clean it is. (Everyone’s line varies, of course, which can lead to a lot of marital challenges….not that I would know, ….but I digress.) Until you reach your line of good enough, you will keep scrubbing. When you feel the sink is clean enough, you’ll move on to something else.
So why does it matter whether or not your sink is clean enough or your grays match closely enough?
Your perspective on what is good enough plays a great deal in your sense of wellbeing.
Think about it: if multiple things in your daily life aren’t good enough, you will constantly be feeling in lack or behind or less than.
If everything in your life is always good enough, you won’t be motivated to change anything, to creatively engage with life as it evolves around you.
The good news? No one can else can define good enough for you. (Unless we’re discussing your report at work - in which case you might want to pay attention to their feedback. Keep in mind we are talking about standards for your own actions.)
Because you are the only one who can define it, you have the power over changing where you set your good enough lines.
If you are feeling a sense of unease with your decisions, try creatively playing with this perspective.
Maybe the way your hair is laying today really is good enough, and you don’t need to stress anymore over getting those curls just so.
Maybe the outfit you are preparing to choose isn’t good enough to make you feel how you want to feel today. Spending a bit more time choosing something different might change the entire experience of your day.
Good enough is a line that can cause you a great deal of suffering while you chase an impossibly high standard, or can cause you an equal amount of suffering while you sink into a heavy lethargy absent of any creative drive.
But / And the good enough line can also help you be more at ease when you are striving for perfection (reminding you that your efforts really are enough), or challenge you when you are falling asleep at life (lighting a fire to motivate you to live more vibrantly).
Remember: You determine where that line is drawn. Pick a situation and ask yourself: What if you draw it somewhere else?
Hit reply below and let me know: Where are you feeling discomfort around a “good enough” boundary? What comes to mind when you think of playing where that boundary lies?