THE IM­PER­FEC­TION GUIDE­BOOK

Good Housekeeping (South Africa) - - WELLBEING FIND MEANING IN THE PROCESS CONSIDER THE -

CON­SIDER THE ACTUAL WORSTCASE SCE­NARIO

You screw up a cou­ple of slides in your pre­sen­ta­tion. Not great – but not likely The End of the World. Do a re­al­ity check, ad­vises Dr El­iz­a­beth Lom­bardo, au­thor of Bet­ter Than Per­fect. ‘Ask your­self, Is my as­sess­ment ac­cu­rate? Is my boss re­ally go­ing to fire me? What’s more likely? She might be dis­ap­pointed, or she might not be.’ Keep a writ­ten log of your mess-ups and their con­se­quences – proof that im­per­fec­tion is never as hor­ri­ble as you imag­ine.

TAKE UP SOME­THING YOU ARE BAD AT

For any­one with a fear of look­ing fool­ish (most of us), psy­chother­a­pist Dr Sharon Martin rec­om­mends ex­plor­ing a hobby you’ve been in­ter­ested in but afraid to try, like knit­ting (a hum­bling pas­time in­deed), im­prov or Zumba. This will build your tol­er­ance of mis­takes in all parts of life. ‘You learn that they are just part of the process of learn­ing,’ says Martin.

SHARE YOUR MIS­TAKES WITH OTH­ERS

‘You will start to see that er­rors are com­mon and peo­ple are not judg­ing you as neg­a­tively as you fear,’ says Martin. ‘Your friends will prob­a­bly say, “That happens to me too! Let me tell you how I screwed up!”’ (Check out the Whis­per app, where peo­ple anony­mously share blun­ders and yearn­ings. You’re in good com­pany!)

TRY SELFCOMPASSION

You for­got to go to the su­per­mar­ket on the way home, and your kids have crack­ers with peanut but­ter and age­ing ba­nanas for school lunch. In­stead of be­rat­ing your­self with visions of their class­mates’ home­made bento boxes, talk to your­self as you would a friend who made the same mis­take, ad­vises Martin: It’s no big deal. Everyone does that. You are still a great mom!

FIND MEAN­ING IN THE PROCESS

If you’re racked with anx­i­ety about al­ways get­ting an A-plus re­sult, you will sweat and swear your way through ev­ery­thing. So ask your­self why else you are work­ing so hard. If you are get­ting ready for house guests, don’t stress about hos­pi­tal corners; think about how much you’ll en­joy time to­gether and how even small ef­forts will make them feel at home.

CHANGE YOUR MATHS

If you be­lieve you must do ev­ery­thing 100%, choose a nonessen­tial task and shoot for 80% in­stead. (Skip a few chap­ters of that book-club book, or buy ready-made pas­try to make a pie.) See that the re­sults are still good and you’ll re­alise how much time and en­ergy you waste try­ing to per­fect in­con­se­quen­tial de­tails. That’s en­ergy you could be us­ing for more sat­is­fy­ing things.

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