“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, judgment 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 judgment 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