Archive for February 2nd, 2009

I love reading the comments that my readers post because they frequently get me thinking and help me along my own healing journey. That was my reaction when I read the following comment, which was posted on my blog entry entitled Channeling your Intensity after Child Abuse:

part of me is very intense too – especially when a task is to be done : 100 % . however, a person i greatly respect once told me that 80 % is good enough. when he said that another part of me felt such relief that maybe the possibility existed for us to “let up ” a little. we tried the 80 % idea and it opened up a new world for us, it allowed us to look beyond what we had previously narrowed to a fine focus point, it allowed us to step aside from black and white and – yes – it allowed us to see that trivialities are actually a significant part of life. maybe the egg-shell blue relaxes a little more than the half-white. maybe what someone had for lunch with xyz matters because it helps us to understand more about their personhood and maybe that matters because it helps us see life outside of our direct experience zone and when it all boils down to it life is about relationships and relationships can best be understood when the seemingly trivial are taken into account. Onepiece of soil is nthing on its own but many maketh the world. ~ Gracie

I have been thinking about the suggestion of downshifting to 80% ever since I read this comment. I wonder if I have the ability to do this. Then, I got to thinking about the areas in my life in which I have relaxed the standard.

I used to believe that I had to be the “perfect” parent. My therapist kept trying to get me to see that perfection was not possible or required. My son has special needs (the most difficult being attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD), which made it significantly harder to be a “perfect” parent.

I finally accepted that being a good parent was going to have to be enough. I also had to accept that part of being a good parent was cutting myself some slack and giving myself some breaks. I am now much happier in my role as a parent since I downshifted to 80%.

I have also done a pretty good job in cutting back my work time to 80%. As a stay-at-home mom of a child with ADHD, trying to work after school hours is pointless. So, I cram in a ton of work during the hours that he is at school. I finally recognized that I deserved a lunch break just like anyone else. So, even when I am super-busy (which is most of the time), I stop and watch a TV show or read a magazine while I eat lunch. When I added up the time, it realized that it was about 20% of my non-kid time, which is working at 80% and not 100%.

I have also cut back on my professional blog at Adoption Under One Roof. I used to post every day on that blog. Now, I am only posting on weekdays like I do here. That was like cutting back to 80% as well.

So, I guess I really can do this in other parts of my life as well. Wish me luck!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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