Perfection vs. Excellence

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”

@blendedfamilysg  (via Twitter)

 ***

I was at the grocery store and I ran into a parent from my daughter’s school. She’s a nice woman and our kids have been in school together since 2004. We talked about how the summer was going, what the kids were doing, and how time just moves so quickly.

Then she said to me, “You are always together and on top of everything, and wow to have the help of your mother-in-law, that’s amazing. Your life is perfect.”

[insert scratched record sound here]

I was a bit stunned but recovered, I think, in a respectable amount of time. My response to her, “No, my life is not perfect, and that in itself is just perfect for me. I do my best to set a good intention daily so I can strive for excellence instead of perfection.”

She looked startled, asked me when my life coaching business would be up and running, and we wrapped up the conversation with our rants about the back-to-school displays already being up and my coupon binder.

Multigenerational living is never perfect, how can it be?  You have so many personalities, needs, dynamics…and other yadda yadda going on. There are situations when everything can be aligned and the moment appears perfect – in that we are being mindful, taking it in, and enjoying the moment as it is. There are other times when all of us are being perfectly human and there is complete chaos in our interactions and we are having moments of insanity within these interactions.

I do, indeed, have a great life – and no, I do not need it to be perfect. When I’m pushing and grasping toward perfection, then I’m not honoring what is, nor am I honoring my true self. In that instance, I’m trying to create an inauthentic situation or experience, and most likely that’s attributed to me comparing and despairing.

Example:

We are in the middle of doing some home improvements. The process is slow, messy, and kinda on my nerves. I want it done like yesterday! How close are we to getting everything done? Not that close at all. There are five of us to coordinate and hubby and I are doing all the heavy lifting – as well as working – and taking care of the family – and all the other stuff.

I was making myself crazy at the top of the week because I was thinking about how quickly and seemingly smooth my friend’s home improvements went last summer. They spent a little over three weeks on their projects and then they were done. We, in this multigenerational nest, are definitely going to take more than three weeks and that was bothering me. Why? Because I was comparing and despairing – which was me (and my thought work) causing my own unhappiness. And for what?

Because I was having a silly moment, adding unnecessary pressure, being doubtful, not realizing the magic of the journey.

Now that I’ve called myself out, and I’m telling you all about it, I’ve calmed myself down and gotten back on the right (for me) track. No, I’m not on the track to perfection; I’m on the track to excellence. In this case, excellence for me is:

  1. realizing that things, right now, are as they should be,
  2. enjoying the process of sprucing up the house,
  3. giving myself the appropriate time to get things done based on my needs and those of my family,
  4. staying mindful that doing things slowly is not a bad thing,
  5. and understanding I’m on the path to helping my multigenerational family have an excellent living space in the near future.

How do you handle the challenge of comparing and despairing? Are you striving for perfection, excellence, or something entirely different?

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4 Responses to Perfection vs. Excellence

  1. Love this post. My current motto and way of dealing is “Looking for the stream of Joy in every situation.” It’s there, all we have to do is tap into it.

  2. Awesome, Kanesha! Thanks for sharing. I have often fallen into the striving-for-perfection trap. It leaves me feeling bereft, but only about 100% of the time. :-)

    I shall strive for excellence instead!

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