Please define a “good” day. A good day should have sunshine and rainbows, a completed to-do list, a clean house, happy children, a happy spouse, and a healthy, home cooked meal on the table. Did I miss anything? Wait did I define good or perfect? When evaluating day to day life, many of us, myself included, are holding our day to impossible standards. Instead of seeking out perfection, what if we perfected the art of being OKAY. Okay is attainable, manageable, and leaves room for all our imperfect emotions as the chaos of the day unfolds. So how do we perfect the art of being okay?
Let Go of Perfection
Hello! My name is Dawn and I am a recovering perfectionist. So maybe I am not in complete recovery, but at least I can now admit that perfection is unattainable. I remind myself daily that only one perfect person walked the face of the earth and He has moved on to far better things. When the only path to happiness is perfection, you are left with disappointment for what should have been. Should is an extremely dangerous word. Focusing on what should be does not leave room for what actually is. It is better to be present than focused on an unattainable future goal.
Embracing the Spiritual Flow of Life
Have you ever heard the saying – life is what happens when you are making other plans? A truer statement has never been said. Life has a flow, a give and take of spiritual energy. We have zero control over what direction life is going to take. We make our to-do lists and schedule out our days and then something off script lands in front of us. It is time to change our priorities.
The priority becomes the thing we did not plan for and something else needs to be moved aside for later. The law of spiritual energy wants us to be present in the now and adjust to the flow of life. Stay in the now and avoid the thoughts of what you should be doing instead.
Pick Our Priorities
In our current global environment, picking our priorities is difficult. COVID-19 shifted our work, home, and school lives all together, housed in the 4 walls of our physical houses. Defining our time and picking our priorities is more difficult when everything is happening simultaneously in the same place. Keeping all the balls in the air is a chore and when one falls it is easy to lose the whole rhythm. We still have a few choices here and there to make things more okay.
For myself, I let some of the less important balls drop when I need a break. What does that look like – no home cooked meal today, DoorDash to the rescue; no need to put the toys away tonight, I will walk over them on my way to bed; the kids did not complete every assignment, they made it to all the required zooms and we will catch up tomorrow. Come up with a short list of balls that can drop once or twice a week and make the decision that the world will not come to an end when they do.
Take a Minute for You
I hate the words self-care. The whole concept and all its marketing just make me crazy. Please do not give me yet another thing for my to-do list – thank you very much! That said, it is important to take care of your own mental health. The important part is to not make it work.
Your minute of self-care can be hot coffee in the morning before work and school start for the day. It can be a bath full of bubbles and salts in the evening – you have to clean your body anyway, make it cleansing for your soul as well. Read a book, listen to a podcast, or browse Pinterest while the kids enjoy some screen time. No one needs to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is okay to put productivity on the shelf for a couple minutes a day. The world will not come to an end. I promise!
Remind Yourself that Everything is OKAY
When life zigs, when you planned to zag, remind yourself that it is okay. It takes practice to look at what we have done instead of what is not done. I write what I did on the to-do list at the end of the day and cross each item off. It reminds my tired soul that I accomplished a great deal and what is left can be moved until tomorrow. The first emotion that comes to mind when looking at an unfulfilled list is disappointment. Taking the time to remind my brain of everything I accomplished brings me to a new emotional headspace.
Accomplishments Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Remember life has a flow and perfection is an unattainable goal. Your accomplishments will come in all shapes and sizes. Taking care of a sick child is an accomplishment, even if you called in sick to do it. Making a deadline with multiple children at home is an accomplishment. It does not matter if the children were living on screens while you completed that work. Do not negate your accomplishments by adding ancillary items. Remember no should, we focus only on the present. Focus on the present and say – Today was OKAY and I am happy with what I accomplished.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Thank you for taking my class on the art of being OKAY. Now how do you perfect this important art form? Practice, Practice, Practice. Letting go of the unattainable and living in the present does not come easy. I fight the perfection demon every single day. But I will not let the demon win. I will look around at the dishes in my sink and the happy children playing video games with their dad and say – Everything is OKAY. And it is!