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Life Is Practiced Rather Than Perfected: Balance Is Good Enough

Balance

“Good enough is the new perfect.” ~Becky Beaupre Gillispie

Taking another look through the treasure trove that is Tiny Buddha’s quote archive, I realized that there’s actually no category for quotes on “balance.” Because I’m interested in (read: slightly obsessed about) balance, I delved into the groupings more closely and realized that the list itself is, in fact, finely balanced. And it’s a metaphor for life.

In the archive you can find wisdom in words on loss, pain, and sorrow, or seek solace in quotes on happiness, hope, and healing. Sage advice on weakness may speak to you, just as quotes on strength may inspire. There are quotes on truth and on uncertainty, on fear and on courage, resentment and acceptance, judgement and compassion.

The way Lori has chosen to categorize the quotes is simply the way the words have spoken to her. Sometimes we need to contemplate fear, other times we want to contemplate possibilities. Sometimes we seek strength, other times we need to deal with pain.

Life cannot be lived as one giant positive affirmation.

It shouldn’t be lived in a constant search for something, and certainly not for “success.” And it can’t be lived in a running away from those things that are hard to deal with.

Life must be lived in moments that we attempt to bring some balance to—a series of moments in which fear and hope, sorrow and happiness (happily) co-exist and we are content to allow them to, without always seeking more, without running away, without judging ourselves.

In the end it is about the attitude we bring to the words we read, the situations we find ourselves in, in any given moment.

And my new (or evolving) attitude is one where good enough is indeed “perfect” and where balance is good enough. Let me explain.

Good enough doesn’t have to mean settling, just as balance doesn’t have to be boring. 

One of my yoga teachers is fond of saying “It is yoga practice, not yoga perfect.” The same can be said for life.

So-called gurus might preach that we can have the life we want—a “perfect” life of success and abundance—but the message is not whole and complete unless it also acknowledges that this successful, abundant life will still come with failures and losses.

We can only live a life of success and abundance (and perfection) on balance.

We can, and should, practice positive affirmations, but we shouldn’t practice denial when things aren’t “positive.”

We can, and should, strive for whatever measure of success brings our life meaning (as opposed to conventional definitions), but we shouldn’t practice judgement when we aren’t “successful.”

Good enough is about contentment—about not always wanting more. It’s about trying as hard as we can, but not measuring our worth by how far we get.

Good enough is about recognizing that life is practiced rather than perfected.  

Balance is good enough because to experience sheer exhilaration, we must know the depths of despair. Balance is good enough because life naturally waxes and wanes and we can but choose to enjoy the ride.

Balance levels us between highs and lows—but it doesn’t negate the highs in offsetting the lows. Balance loves the success that lies dormant within failure, without fearing the failure that forms part of success.

I’ve become so fond of the notion of being “good enough,” of seeking balance rather than “success,” because I spent a long time not feeling good enough, a long time chasing “success” in the form of motherhood, when my quest was beyond my control and my goal ultimately unrealistic.

After a long road of infertility and IVF, I ultimately “succeeded” at motherhood through adoption, only now I’m here I find myself far from perfect; indeed, I often feel not “good enough” as a mother. Ironic really.

But on balance, I am good enough. On balance (and not in some mediocre, middle of the road, safe kind of way) I am living a life that is good enough.

When we find “perfect” balance, we realize that there is nothing so challenging that it can’t be offset by those things that come easily, that the marriage of success and failure is indeed the perfect union, and that good enough is always enough.

Oh, and perfect balance is a misnomer too—all balance requires wobbling. So let yourself wobble through life.

Photo by Tomas Sobek

Avatar of Kathy Kruger

About Kathy Kruger

Kathy Kruger is an adoptive mother of two beautiful kids from China. She blogs about going with the flow, finding yin yang balance, embracing change, and being grateful at www.yinyangmother.com. A former journalist, Kathy shares insights from her long journey to motherhood.

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  • http://www.AchieveTheGreenBeretWay.com/welcome Michael Martel

    Excellent post as always. I especially like your point on balance.It is important we find the “good enough” in our lives to be happy and grateful.This balance then gives us the ability to build on it and move forward to whatever we want build on or bring into our lives.

    The important thing to remember is that you can’t build on a “wobbly” base.You have to be solid, grounded before moving on.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  • Jeff Urmston

    Great post Kathy. Your point on balance reminds me of an old zen proverb from Yunmen: “In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” It seems like perfect is a state of mind, an idea, that keeps us in perpetual unbalance as we chase it. Whereas practice is a process, a way of life, where we can perpetual focus on keeping our life in balance.

  • Debbie

    Balance is the key, Kathy to a happy life. You always have to know that you are enough. I like the way you have written this. Yes, it is Ok to wobble (LOL), but then step back and find that solid ground again. It is always waiting for us. And those wobbles help up to grow into the person we are intended to be.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Debbie

  • Jester2012

    Never being good enough. Whether it be for myself or others has been playing a large part of my life. I have been looking to change my perspective on that and reading this article is one more positive step for me in the direction of a more “balanced” life. Thank you

  • Just A. Guy

    I absolutely love this way of perceiving the world!

  • Randy Clark

    As much as I appreciate and agree with many of your points. There is a time where good enough doesn’t bring balance, happiness, or satisfaction. Humans beings are happiest when they are committed to excellence. I understand you’re not promoting “settling” but the minute we accept anything but our best we diminish are potential for happiness. An excuse is anything, which justifies sub-par performance – not reaching our potential. We can all share inspirational examples of individuals in the arts, sciences, literature, and sports who didn’t settle for good enough and impacted the world. My caution – don’t settle for good enough when good enough isn’t your best. Only your best is good enough.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Thanks Michael – I agree with your on having a solid base and from there we can see ourselves as grounded and ‘good enough’ – and then move from that point (wobbly sometimes). I believe balance is our natural state and we move away from it when we resist.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Hi Jeff – yes I think you are right tht its chasing perfection thatn keeps us imbalanced. Thanks for enjoying the post.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    I so agree Debbie – balance is very much about equilibrium – coming back to the essense of who we are that is always enough – we can stretch and wobble but we are always enough.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    So glad you got something out of it and can move towards more balance and self-acceptance.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Thank you!

  • mroge

    I disagree Randy. What I hear her saying is that perfectionism and judging ourselves as not worthy according to the world’s standard is not healthy. Striving for perfection in everything is a set-up for failure right there. I don’t know how men feel, but women are being constantly told by the media that they have to perfect in all things, looks, marriage, motherhood, job performance etc. Striving for success is fine, however we can’t do that with everything. For example some people run marathons with no intention of trying to win. They just do it because they enjoy it. Their priorities lie elsewhere and that is perfectly ok. You don’t have to be good at everything. In fact if you try then you are taking away the time that you could have used on something more important.

    Perfectionism has held me back in my career goals but now that I am letting go of that I am moving forward. It doesn’t mean that I won’t try my best but I have to let go of the results because otherwise I would get paralyzed by my own fear of not being good enough.

  • growthguided

    After reading the quote “Good enough is the new perfect.” ~Becky Beaupre Gillispie” I felt a certain resistance and wanted to reject the idea. It just shows how ingrained some of our old beliefs systems are and how much more work we need to relieve self critic from ourselves!

  • Jack Grabon

    Kathy, I’m glad that you left this post describing balance as something that is always being adjusted or wobbly (as you put it). It is not a state of perfection. It is certainly a journey rather than a destination. This really resonates with my own idea that “the key to life is balance.”

  • lv2terp

    GREAT message!!!! :) Balance is such a beautiful place to BE!

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Jack – Sounds like we have the same philosophy – I think we come back to a state of balance or equilibrium and enjoy the wobble along the way!

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Thank you – we just need to appreciate the beauty.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    Hi Randy – I have to say I agree with the reply below although I agree with your in saying that we should make our good enough ‘goal’ our best. It starts with believing we are already good enough, and with that inner peace I reckon we can strive to be our best – hopefully finding our flow (the thing we love) and it comes so much easier, more naturally.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    I so agree that it is society’s ideas of perfection we need to resist and they translate into our own self-doubts. If we could be secure in our own ‘perfection’ then I reckon we can acheive so much.

  • Kathy www.yinyangmother.com

    It is a great quote isn’t it – I think it just turns on the head so many of those false expectations.