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You Don’t Have To Be Perfect, You Can Be Good

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect, You Can Be Good

Life is stressful. We have to keep up with work, school, friends, and family, not to mention washing dishes, cleaning the house, and cooking meals. Every day, we face so much pressure from outside influences, particularly the media, to be perfect that it often feels like we just don’t measure up. We let ourselves believe that if we just achieve a certain look or a certain lifestyle, we will somehow be happier, more accepted by friends, and more loved by others.

If you’re like me, you don’t look like the model in the magazine. Or maybe you’re feeling less than perfect because you didn’t get the best grade in class; your neighbor has a newer car than you; your best friend just got an amazing job, or everyone around you is getting engaged and starting families.

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I’m here to tell you that perfection doesn’t matter. You won’t always fit into your favorite jeans, land your dream job, find the love of your life at a young age, or have the highest grade. And all of that is okay. Sometimes, it’s okay to just be good.

Stress, Anxiety, and Being Perfect

Meeting the expectations of being perfect is nearly impossible. Trying to live up to the version of perfect that you or somebody else has created can leave you feeling more stressed, depressed, and ready to throw in the towel. Nobody wants to feel like they aren’t enough. Nobody wants to feel like a failure. This kind of stress and anxiety works its way into other areas of your life and can manifest itself as arguments with your loved ones, unexpected tears, and general unhappiness. When you feel that way, it’s okay to admit it. Recognize it, but remember that these problems are rooted in your quest to be perfect.

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Accepting Your Imperfection

As previously mentioned, our lives are already stressful with long hours at the office, not enough sleep the night before, bills to pay, and household chores. These problems are multiplied when you’re also faced with impossible-to-meet expectations. Stop pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion because you’re worried about what other people might think. You are not perfect, and you don’t have to be.

The next step is accepting your imperfection. Take a deep breath, relax, and start focusing on what is good in your life. Being good is enough; don’t worry about being anything more than that. As Maya Angelou said, “You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”[1]

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Perfect Won’t Make You Happier

Stop searching for perfection in what you don’t have. Fitting into those jeans, driving a new car, getting a promotion… These things will not make you happier. Why? Because once you have them, you’ll want more. There will always be something else in your life that isn’t quite perfect. Something more to work on or to improve. Achieving these social expectations is not evidence of your self-worth.

Criticize Yourself Less Often

Again, you do not have to be perfect. Being good, being you, and accepting the not perfect version of yourself is enough. Criticize yourself less often and stop comparing your life to others. To do this, try thinking about what in your life makes you happy now. Every morning, think of something good from the day before.

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Don’t give up your struggle to be a better you, but do give up the idea that you should somehow be perfect. Be realistic in the goals you set for yourself. Remember, nobody is perfect. Love that about yourself. It’s what makes you unique from the rest of the world.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pixabay.com

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Amber Pariona

EFL Teacher, Lifehack Writer, English/Spanish Translator, MPA

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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