Good enough is good enough
High ambitions are noble and important,
but there can also come a point when they become the sources of terrible trouble and unnecessary panic.
One way of undercutting our perfectionist impulses
was pioneered by a British psychoanalyst called Donald Winnicott in the 1950s.
Winnicott specialised in relationships between parents and children.
In his clinical practice, he often met with parents who felt like failures:
perhaps because their children hadn’t got into the best schools,
or because there were sometimes arguments around the dinner table
or the house wasn’t always completely tidy.
Winnicott’s crucial insight was that the parents’ agony
was coming from a particular place: excessive hope.
刻薄的完美主义 只会适得其反 最终丧失信心
Their despair was a consequences of a cruel and counterproductive perfection.
So as to help them reduce this,
Winnicott developed a charming phrase:
his parents needed to feel that they were “good enough parents”,
No child, he insisted, needs an ideal parent
They just need an OK, pretty decent,
usually well intentioned, sometimes a bit grumpy,
but basically reasonable father or mother.
Winnicott wasn’t saying this because he liked to settle for second-best,
but because he knew, from first hand,
the toll exacted by perfectionism ,
and realised than in order to remain more or less sane (which is a pretty big ambition already)
we have to learn not to hate ourselves
for failing to be what no ordinary human being ever really is anyway.
The concept of ‘good enough’ was invented as an escape from dangerous ideal.
It began in relation to parenthood,
but it can actually be applied across life more generally,
especially around work and love.
A relationship may be ‘good enough’ even while it has many dark moments.
或许 有时两人性爱很少 严重的争吵很多
Perhaps at times there’s little sex and a lot of heavy arguments.
Maybe there are big areas of loneliness and non-communication.
然而 这些情况并不应该令我们产生反常 或是极为不幸的感觉
Yet none of this should lead us to feel freakish or unnaturally unlucky.
It can be good enough.
Similarly, a ‘good enough’ job will be very boring at some points,
it won’t perfectly utilise all our merits;
we won’t earn a fortune.
But we may make some real friends,
have times of genuine excitement
and finish many days tired but with a sense of true accomplishment.
It takes a good deal of bravery and skill to keep even a very ordinary life going.
能够坚韧不拔地处理好爱情 工作 和家庭生活的各种挑战 已经是非常了不起了
To persevere through the challenges of love, work and children is quietly heroic.
We should perhaps more often sometimes step back
in order to acknowledge in a non-starry-eyed
but very real way that our lives are good enough
and this is, in itself, already
a very grand achievement.
Did you know that the School of Life is actually a place.
事实上 从墨尔本到伦敦 从台北到伊斯坦布尔 全球共有10个这样的学院
Ten places infact, campus’ all over the world. From Melbourne to London, Taipei to Istanbul.
With classes and books and lots more.
Please click on the link below to explore more.