We don’t abandon our pursuits because we despair of ever perfecting them.”
Epictetus, Discourses, 1.2.37b
Perfectionism wastes potential, makes us blind to possibility, and is ultimately impossible to achieve. Perfectionism rarely gives birth to perfection. Usually, what’s born of perfectionism is disappointment, because unless it’s “perfect”, it’s a failure… and failures are disappointing.
When I was attending Naropa University, in one of my psychology classes, I was turned on to the following phrase: “Good enough” is good enough. It’s really true. Good enough means something got done, and even though it’s not impossibly perfect, it’s good… and that’s definitely good enough. The amount of self-abuse (and other abuse) that comes out of a mind that never sees anything as good enough is too great to measure. We’ve got to remember that “good enough” is plenty good, and that beating ourselves up because we didn’t do-the-thing perfectly is a curable, yet chronic neurosis.
Finally, I’m reminded of a piece of liturgy from our services here at the church. There’s a part of our rites after all offerings have been made by the priests, and the community has come to the Fire to make their offerings. During this part, we make the final, piacular offering. For those that don’t know, a piacular offering is the “we’re sorry-can you give us a break” offering. Just in case we’ve forgotten anything, or did something out of order, or weren't totally present in heart and mind; because we’re human and imperfect, AND need the blessings nonetheless is why we make the piacular offering. What I’m saying by all that is this: we sacralize our humanity and our imperfection in our religious rites. Why would we treat our imperfect humanity otherwise when we’re beyond the bounds of our rites?
Let us aim for progress, not perfection. We’ll find that we hit the bullseye a lot more often.
(See y’all tomorrow)