“Good enough”; it’s a concept my friend and counselor (I think I can use both labels together), Gerry Desobe, introduced me to a few years ago.
We were talking about parenting. Like a lot of folks, I have my laments and regrets. (It’s something that we 1s [or “Perfectionists”] on the Enneagram are particularly good at: seeing how things could be better… or could have been better.)
At a pause in the conversation, Gerry introduced me to the concept of “good enough.” None of us is a perfect mother or father. On the other hand, most of us are not abusive. Our kids have turned out to be productive and usually happy as adults. Can’t there be a middle ground in which and by which we can affirm that your parenting has been ‘good enough’? (The concept, by the way, was first coined by British psychoanalyst and pediatrician, Donald Winnicott. His ideas were captured and conveyed in a book by Bruno Bettelheim, A Good Enough Parent.)
Since then, I have come to frame a lot more of my life as “good enough.” Imperfect days aren’t automatically bad. They can (and indeed, most are) “good enough.”
Even this post. It’s not perfect. I had to fight the notion that it wasn’t profound enough or earthshaking enough (or any other number of qualifiers)… But, it’s “good enough.”
It’s among the charms of Niebuhr’s “Serenity Prayer” for me. There at the end – after we’ve prayed for serenity, courage, wisdom, taking it one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, etc – it concludes along the lines: “[we pray all this to the end] that we might be reasonably happy in this world and supremely happy forever with you in the next.”
Yes, dear Soul, “reasonably happy” is “good enough.” In fact, if you will accept and embrace it as such [dropping all the inordinate control and perfectionism], it can be pretty darn good!