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Atelophobia: the fear of imperfections or of not being good enough.
Perfection is simply out of reach.
My husband and I hosted Thanksgiving this year. We actually do this fairly regularly and typically enjoy the planning and preparations. This year, however, he has been traveling nearly full time for the last three weeks and, thanks to what is proving to be a slightly overly-ambitious empty-nest work schedule, I have been wildly busy. Let’s just say, three days before our houseguests arrived, very little Thanksgiving thinking (let alone planning) had occurred.
For those of you who don’t know me, making (and sticking to) a good plan is kind of my superpower. You might, therefore, assume that our plan-free three-day Thanksgiving-palooza for 15 would have been cause for some consternation. I’m as surprised as you are to say it actually wasn’t!
“Good is enough is going to have to be good enough.”
Perhaps this is merely an indication of the profound hecticness of my life leading up to the holiday. I, however, like to think it’s a sign that I’m evolving as a human. As proof, when a very close friend reacted with near speechlessness to my menu-, schedule- and list-free state one week before Thanksgiving, I calmly said to him, “Good enough is going to have to be good enough.” (I know! That really ought to be on one of those inspiring refrigerator magnets, shouldn’t it?)
This is a pretty significant shift in perspective for me, a self-professed recovering perfectionist. But I meant it with all my heart.
Lessons in “good enough” from my yoga mat.
Upon reflection, I realize that my confidence is well-founded. I’ve been practicing this idea on my yoga mat for almost two years as I’ve put my body and my practice back together in the aftermath of my sudden and very random blood clot. Day by day, as I recovered, I unrolled my mat with no certainty of what I’d be able or unable to do. Even after most of the physical limitations from my condition had disappeared, the consistent performance I had grown to expect from my body over the last 20 years didn’t completely return. I still have days when I just feel “off” and must tailor my practice accordingly.
Guess what? In all that time, there hasn’t been a single day when my practice, whatever form it has taken (often filled with “imperfections”), has not been good enough.
“Good enough” is a good plan.
Not only is good enough indeed good enough, but I’ve discovered that the belief that good enough is good enough can be as powerful and as calming as any good plan. In fact, I stuck to this belief through the holiday like I have stuck with many a good plan in my day.
Did my house look like it belonged in a decorating magazine? Heck no! There were suitcases and spare beds everywhere. I didn’t give a whit. I was too busy catching up with my three kids home from college, my brother, sister and their families, and my parents.
Were the menus and food flawless? Nope. My “Nanny rolls” (my grandmother’s recipe for old fashioned yeast rolls, an extended family tradition) didn’t do much rising at all this year. But the meals were hearty and tasty and (mostly) prepared with love by someone around the table.
Did I pull off a photo-worthy centerpiece from my own garden ala Martha Stewart? Not a chance. But my daughter and her cousins set a beautiful fall table with a box of votive candles from the basement and a handful of mini-pumpkins and some greenery we picked up at the garden store.
Imperfection(s) can’t distract from something that is good enough.
None of the imperfections mattered at all. We had a wonderful family reunion. Good enough was, in fact, good enough.
And, if you can talk yourself into it, I think you will find that good enough will be good enough for you, too. Whatever you’re doing.
There is no need for perfection on a yoga mat, especially not at Yoga With Spirit where we celebrate doing exactly what is right for you each day. Come try a class!