Monday, January 25, 2010

If A Thing's Worth Doing...'s worth doing well. That little expression was one I heard many times as a kid, and it tied in nicely with the defeatist part of my nature, which rather than be seen to do something badly, would refuse to even try. "Perfection or nothing!" was my philosophy. I had a sort of muddled idea that if I couldn't do whatever it was well, right off the bat, I was a failure.

Al-Anon was the first place I was introduced to a way of thinking which accepted failure as an indication of effort expended, and wasn't that wonderful, because having got that first distressing failure out of the way, now I was that much closer to success.

I learned to redefine success for myself, rather than accept anyone else's definition. That meant that I could do whatever it was badly, a cobbled-together hodgepodge, and define it as a good result because I'd tried, and had this to show for my efforts. Ugly it may have been to any eyes but my own, but to me, it could be a thing of beauty, if I allowed it.

Al-Anon introduced me to:
"Good enough for now."
"Perfectly satisfactory for a beginner's effort."
"Not great, but not bad."
"Excellent result, given my inexperience."
"Hey, you know, that really does (sort of) resemble a _____."

I'm grateful for all of this, because it has permitted me to try the new and the different, in a spirit of hopeful enthusiasm, with no worry or fretting for the end result - the joy is in the trying.


  1. I have learned that perfect doesn't really exist in my world. I'm glad to finally have some closure on that.

  2. I love this!! I had the all-or-nothing approach too. Self-defeating to say the least. Now if I try by best, whatever that is at the time, then I am moving forward. I try to measure my own progress without competing with everyone else. That is a big step for us!!


  3. Well said and timely! And my high-schooler (won't go to Alateen) would benefit from your wisdom. He's fretted endlessly about the "what-ifs" of final exams this week and has worked himself into knots over the experience. I'll have him read your blog today.