Perfectionists make themselves unhappy.

By David Joel Miller.

Trying to be perfect causes pain.

Unhappiness

Unhappiness
Photo courtesy of Flickr (Family O’Abé)

Some people believe that the way to achieve happiness is to be perfect at everything. Unfortunately trying to be perfect leaves you chasing an unattainable goal. The closer you get to your goal the larger the gap between what you have accomplished and perfection will appear. Often perfection seekers become so focused on their errors that they become blind to their accomplishments. In students, we often find the B student is far happier than straight A student. These perfectionist habits can follow people the rest of their lives and create a lot of unhappiness.

Here are some of the reasons why people who aim for good enough may be happier and enjoy life more.

They focus on learning the big idea stuff, not every detail.

Students who attempt to get straight A’s often try to memorize large masses of data. The average student is more likely to try to grasp the concepts and may be better applying those ideas to other novel situations.

Outside of school perfectionists can’t let go of that focus on detail. Some parents are so busy trying to create the perfect birthday party for their child, the right napkins, the right gifts, the right guests; they forget to include some fun things for the child.

They enjoy what they have.

The B average student who occasionally gets in A is likely to be delighted. The student with an all A’s record gets one B, is likely to consider themselves a failure. Their effort to be perfect interferes with their ability to be happy with what they have.

Many adults are unable to enjoy their successes. The matter how much you accomplish someone else may have done more. Perfection is a yardstick that keeps stretching. When you focus on an imperfection, it grows to you can’t see anything else.

They can take the time to enjoy the process.

All A students frequently sacrifice their friends, family, and social relationships because they feel they must study constantly. Students with lower GPA’s often can enjoy a better school life balance.

When you focus only on getting everything right, the stress can become unbearable. The matter what you do you’re likely to be miserable. People who enjoy the process can cut themselves some slack.

They don’t need to always be right. Fewer conflicts.

Students who are driven to get every answer right find themselves arguing when they get a question wrong. Students who are less grade motivated more easily entertain other possibilities. They are better at developing learning relationships rather than conflicted, I am right, you are wrong, relationships.

In the workplace, perfectionists find it difficult to admit their errors, to themselves and to others. There are likely to develop resentments and blame others when things don’t go right.

They see possibilities, not rules.

Students who attempt to get all A’s are likely to seek for absolute rules. Other students are more capable kicking around alternative possibilities. They may better grasp how to apply principles to varying situations.

Perfectionists tend to have lots of rules for themselves and others. They live in the land of tyranny, of the must’s and the should’s. This inflexibility creates conflict. People who attempt to live life on the “good enough” basis are more open to change and new experience.

They can think for themselves.

Creative students can see how to take what they’ve learned and applied it to other areas and other situations. Students are motivated to be perfect are likely to look for the page number on which the correct answer appears.

At the heart of creativity is an openness for novelty and new things. When you continue to do things the way they “should be done” nothing can ever change.

They can apply information from other disciplines.

B students may know a little about many things. They often are motivated by trying to see how the past knowledge applies to the current issue. It may also look for ways to take what they are currently learning and apply that new knowledge to the things they already do.

Allow yourself to be open to new possibilities. You may well discover that trying something new will bring you a lot of happiness.

They get to know themselves.

Learners who seek internal validation learn because it makes them happy to do so. They’re able to test new knowledge against what they already know and see how this connects with their values and goals. Students who are highly motivated to find the “correct answer” may lose who they are in their effort to think like the master.

When you stop trying to come up with the right answer for others you may find the right answer for you.

They see things as they are.

Students who are motivated by high grades often believe that their self-worth is measured by their GPA. Students who are more internally motivated, avoid the delusion of thinking that a particular score on a test in any way measures their worth as a person.

As an adult, being open to possibilities, allows you to enjoy the process of life by avoiding focusing on who or what is not perfect.

They know when to keep at things and when to cut their losses.

B students tend to put the effort to get big picture ideas. They know that beyond a certain putting in more time studying results in ever decreasing returns. Spending large numbers of hours trying to memorize every fact in a book made increase their final grade by a point or two, but memorized facts are likely to be soon forgotten.

Throughout life knowing when to stick to something until it’s finished and when to give up on something that will never be possible is an important skill. Far too many people stay stuck in an unhappy situation because the only option they know is to keep working harder trying to get everything perfect.

One key to happiness is to strive for your very best while accepting that your best is good enough.

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Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

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Playful.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Play with a Bubble

Playful.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Playful.

“It is a happy talent to know how to play.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.”

― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

“Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, making sacrifices, singing and dancing, and then a man will be able to propitiate the gods, and defend himself against his enemies, and win in the contest.”

― Plato

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Cheerful.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Cheerful picture.

Cheerful.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Cheerfulness.

Mirth, and even cheerfulness, when employed as remedies in low spirits, are like hot water to a frozen limb.

– Benjamin Rush

Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within, as on the state of things without and around us.

– Charlotte Bronte

“The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up.”

–  Mark Twain

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Joy.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Joy

Joy.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Joy.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

― Dr. Seuss

“To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.”

― Mark Twain

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

― Oscar Wilde

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Top marriage mistakes you may be making.

By David Joel Miller.

Making these mistakes creates unhappy relationships.

End of Marriage

Marriage mistakes you may be making.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Everyone begins a new relationship expecting that this relationship will be a happy one. Even the best relationships will have some unhappy times. From the large number of relationships that fail it seems clear that having a relationship, by itself, will not make you happy. Having a good relationship is hard work. Here are some relationship mistakes that are guaranteed to produce unhappiness. How many of these relationship mistakes are you making?

Expecting to change your partner.

Often the very things that attracted you to a partner are the things that drive you apart. A man is attracted to a woman because she is outgoing and flirts with him. After they are in the relation, he becomes upset because she is too outgoing and flirts with other men.

A woman meets a guy, is attracted to him because he is spontaneous and excited after a while together she decides he is irresponsible.

In both cases, they likely got together expecting that their partner would change. Happy relationships invest the time in getting to know each other beforehand. They also accept each other as they are without planning on making extensive renovations to their partner’s personality. Getting into a relationship expecting your partner to change results in a lot of unhappiness.

Thinking they will make you happy.

Two unhappy people do not make for a happy couple. You need to be happy by yourself before you can be happy with someone else. If you are frequently unhappy, entering a relationship will just give you someone to be unhappy with. Happiness is an inside job.

Involving your family in your relationship.

It’s common, when people enter a new relationship, to vent their frustrations with their partner to family and friends. Once you have involved your family, gotten them to take sides about who is right and who is wrong, they’re not likely to ever forgive your partner for their mistakes. Getting other people involved in your relationship will either damage your relationship, or it will end your connection to your family and friends. You may forgive your partner’s mistakes but they may not.

Insisting on being right.

If every time you and your partner have a disagreement you insist on proving you are right, you will become a very difficult person to live with. People who always need to be right end up right-fighting which results in a very unhappy relationship. Some of the conflicts you will have with your partner are not a matter of right and wrong. Allow your partner to have their own opinion.

Expecting nothing to change.

No matter how wonderful a relationship is in the beginning, things will change. Stressful times come along. Having children fundamentally changes the relationship. Not having children when your friends do, changes your friendships. There will be stressful times. There will be sickness, sometimes minor and sometimes major.

Making it all about the children.

Couples who shift their focus to be all about their children, often find once the children leave home to start their own relationships, those parents no longer have anything in common. Couples who do not continue to build their couple relationship may not have one once the children escape.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Amused.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

amusement

Amused.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Amused

“I have found that the key to being happy — well, one of the keys, anyway — is to be easily amused,”

― Wil Wheaton

“amusement is a sort of relaxation, and we need relaxation because we cannot work continuously.”

― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”

― Will Rogers

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Satisfied.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Satisfied

Satisfied.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Satisfied.

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

“Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.”

― Martin Luther King Jr.

My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.”

― Winston S. Churchill

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.