From perfectionism to being happy being "good enough"

Many of us struggle with being more than good enough. Many of my clients struggle with perfectionism, which then leads to issues that might become overwhelming when trying to live everyday life.

Counselling can help with this. Talking about how the need for perfectionism came about and sifting through the "rubble" of the past, which might have marked the way we feel about ourselves and what we do in the present, will most likely help with releasing the person from the need to be perfect, to always get it right.

If you look at Winnicott's theories about the "good enough mother", you will find that he suggests that "too-good" or "not-good-enough" mother will have a negative impact on the child (Bingham and Sidorkin, 2004). This can be applied to grown adults too, who seem to struggle with aiming for perfection at the detriment of their health. Striving for perfection because of society's pressures and expectations can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and other physical and psychological symptoms.

So, why not accept that we are human, that we can - and will - fail. That we can - and will -fall...that we won't know everything at all times.

If you are happy doing more than 100% for family, friends and at work, and you are healthy and fulfilled, then carry on! But if any of this is causing you distress, I would suggest that it might be time to reflect and think about what is really important - health or meeting other's expectations rather than your own. I recommend reading the article by Benson (2003) for further insight into what I'm writing here.

Let's aim to be the best version of ourselves we can be - stay healthy and happy in spite of the curve balls life might throw at us now and then. If we are striving to "just be" and to just be "ourselves", it might be easier to deal with the curve balls and enjoy the happy times even more!


Bingham, C.W., and Sidorkin, A.M. (2004), No education without relation. Peter Lang Publishing

Benson, E. (November 2003) The Many faces of perfectionism. Available at: nov03/manyfaces.aspx. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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