Perfection is Overrated

“If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.”
― Leo TolstoyAnna Karenina

Hello, my name is Cass and I’m a perfectionist.  Or rather, a recovering perfectionist.

Are you, like me, one those people who, when asked in a job interview what your biggest weakness is, resort to your old faithful friend: perfection? “Oh I would have to say, being a perfectionist. Sometimes I just don’t know when to stop/quit/let a good thing lie.”  You know who you are.

The thing is, that was the old me. I have learnt in recent years, that perfection is overrated.  Sometimes you need to settle for 95%…maybe even 90% (sorry, I struggle to go any lower than that – I’m only in recovery after all).  And that’s perfectly OK.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s good to set high standards, push yourself and achieve the very best you can.  However, sometimes we’re at risk of crossing the line into the realms of unhealthiness.  Like the quest for the perfect body, the perfect partner or even the perfect kids.  In the quest for perfection, sacrifices inevitably need to be made – be it your health, well-being or happiness, or those of the people around you.

A big part of this is learning acceptance.  I think the serenity prayer below sums it up quite well.

Serenity Prayer

Striving for perfection is also actually quite time-consuming. Letting go of it frees you up to enjoy the ride and take pleasure in the small, imperfect quirks of life along the way. I truly believe it also lets you have better and more fulfilling relationships with the people around you – not only do you accept them for who they are, with all their flaws and imperfect human qualities, you also give yourself the same allowance. Because let’s face it, us perfectionists could be a lot kinder to ourselves.

It’s no wonder that aiming for perfection is number one on the Positivity Blog’s list of 7 Common Habits of Unhappy People:

  1. Aiming for perfection.
  2. Living in a sea of negative voices.
  3. Getting stuck in the past and future too much.
  4. Comparing yourself and your life to others and their lives.
  5. Focusing on the negative details in life.
  6. Limiting life because you believe the world revolves around you.
  7. Overcomplicating life.

So there you have it, I’m now officially an imperfectionist.  It’s much more fun.

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His and Hers at Eastnor Pottery

There’s something quite nice about making things with your hands, getting a bit grubby and being creative. Earlier this year we went up to Eastnor for a long weekend and stayed in a cottage in the middle of no where.  The internet was via satellite (no cable!) which was terrible and I had no 3G on my phone.  The perfect opportunity to disconnect.

While we were there, we popped into Eastnor Pottery, a small workshop run by husband and wife duo, Jon and Sarah.  After a lazy pub lunch we spent Sunday afternoon working with clay, hanging out and drinking tea out of Jon’s homemade mugs. Lo and behold, we made some art:

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Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s soup season! Cold nights curled up on the sofa call for a lovely big bowl of steaming soup. After I made my Chinese-style roasted ham, I used the resulting stock to make some rather delicious chicken noodle soup. I usually have very limited success with noodles for some reason – but in this instance, I nailed it (if I do say so myself).

It was really pretty simply. I removed the star anise from the stock and mashed up the soft cloves of garlic and ginger into a paste, which I then returned to the liquid.  After thinly slicing some boneless chicken thighs (I find these much tastier than chicken breasts), I added them to the pot to boil in the stock. In the meantime, I sliced some pak choi and oyster mushrooms, which also got added to the pot once the chicken was cooked.  Seeing as I had a tin of bamboo shoots in the cupboard, they got thrown in for good measure too, along with some soy and oyster sauce for flavouring (as the stock was already quite salty from the ham, it’s important not to over do it on the soy front).  Towards the end of cooking, I added some fine egg noodles, which only took a few minutes to soften in the broth.

Usually I need something with soup for lunch, like a sandwich or buttered roll. But this was so filling, it did just the trick and kept me going until dinner time:

chicken noodle soup

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Chinese-Style Roasted Ham

I’ve taken to roasting my own ham this year and recently tried something different. Although I do prefer my good old honey and mustard version, Chinese-style wasn’t too bad either (and very, very easy).

Same method as before, but this time I boiled the ham with star anise, stem ginger, garlic and peppercorns. Before roasting, I covered it in a good amount of honey for extra sweetness. A nice twist on our usual ham (and the stock was great for chicken noodle soup, recipe coming soon):

Chinese-style ham

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‘Tis the Season of Christmas TV Adverts

In recent years we seemed to have developed a new phenomenon – the Christmas TV advert. This regular showdown, typically kicking off around mid November, is normally dominated by the two usual suspects, John Lewis and Marks & Spencer.

This year they’ve gone one step further, but both in the same direction. Introducing:

Sparkle the M&S dog

VS

John Lewis Bear

John Lewis Hare

So who’s it going to be? #MagicOrSparkle or #bearandhare?

I guess it doesn’t really matter as long as you buy their stuff.

Bah, humbug, etc.

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