Never Happy Enough, Never Good Enough

Posted By on May 10, 2011

It’s never enough it seems.

A guy running for president says he was born in the U.S., and it’s not enough. His birth certificate isn’t enough. The word of his family and a family friend, who happens to be a state governor, isn’t enough. He has to release the long-form birth certificate that no one else has to produce.

I laugh since as an adoptee, I am not even allowed access to my original birth certificate – the one listing my name as Yvonne Townley and my birthparents. Technically, the birth certificate I have is the amended one listing my mom and dad as my parents. In politics, it wouldn’t be enough even though it has been enough for the government to recognize me as a citizen and for me to get such things as a passport and driver’s license.

The Navy Seals kill the most wanted terrorist, and it isn’t enough. There are demands for photos, videos and details. Did the wife lunge at the Navy Seals, or was she used as a shield? Did he shoot back or not? As Jon Stewart pointed out in a recent show, even if the photos were released, it wouldn’t satisfy us as we would probably claim the photos were doctored and wouldn’t believe them if we saw them. One of my Facebook friends quoted someone saying, “If a Navy Seal says he’s dead, he’s dead.”

Two young Royals get married in England. The media decided we must know every bloody detail about the wedding, but most of the details weren’t really known until…well, the actual wedding. Two or three months ago, ABC News asked the question: Is the wedding coverage too much? Well, you’re the ones who keep talking about it. The wedding coverage wasn’t too much because it only increased since they asked the question.

Most of the people I know didn’t get up at 4 a.m. to watch the wedding, but when we saw the pictures or video, we murmured a “how nice for them” and “pretty dress.” The media decided we needed more and more detail.

We’re even not satisfied with a simple hamburger. We have to add extra patties, cheese, bacon and doughnuts for buns.

I could make a case that women and minorities have to prove themselves more than your average white guy. I could make a case that our political system is more about taking sides, assigning blame and ignoring what the other side is saying. I could make a case that our 24/7 media’s need for information is ridiculously insatiable. But it’s more than that.

These three “cultural” events are only symptoms of the same issue. We are Not Happy, and Nothing is Good Enough. It seems like we are never satisfied with what we have, and we always want more. Once we get more, we want more. Again. It’s a never-ending cycle.

I keep thinking of comedian Louis C.K.’s riff on Conan about “Everything’s amazing and Nobody’s Happy.” His message is how we live in an amazing world with amazing technology, but we’re still not happy. Watching this video reminds me to be grateful for what I have.

I see this time and time again with my organizing clients. Some are looking for the perfect time management solution, the perfect way to file paper, the perfect way to raise their kids, the perfect…well, you get the idea.

I tell them perfection is a myth, done is perfect, and it’s going to be okay. It’s okay to take it down a notch, take a breath and be happy. I have to constantly remind myself to do the same. And then I watch Conan or The Daily Show to laugh at myself.



3 Responses to “Never Happy Enough, Never Good Enough”

  1. Janice Simon says:

    Julie, you always crack me up! I love what your mother says to you. That’s brilliant, and we should say it more often to ourselves and others around us!!

  2. Julie Bestry says:

    You’re so right, Janice.

    I mean, Yvonne. :-)

    Wait, you’re wrong. How can I be sure you’re perfectly right? Heck, how can I be sure you’re even American? How can I be sure you’re a real person and not a computer? Sure, I’ve met you and talked to you on the phone and hung out with you, but I need more proof.

    But seriously, I do love that “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” routine, and I completely agree with you about the importance of “enough”. From the time I was a small child (right through until sometime this afternoon), my mother has always said to me, “I love you and I’m proud of you before you even get out of bed in the morning.” The idea that you’re already enough needs to be heard loudly and often; only when we feel we are enough will everything else be enough.

    You rock! Some people might say you’re so great, you’re too much. But I say, with full praise, you are enough! ;-)

  3. Ellen Delap says:

    So true! Until we define for ourselves what is “good enough” we will struggle and struggle! Thanks for sharing this!