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Issue #17  //  Perfect Doesn't Exist; Aim for Good Enough 👌

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” 

- Brené Brown

From Gill:

Our last episode was on perfectionism, and I secretly hoped that talking about it would magically cure me of it.

Melia and I discussed how perfectionism is the root of most of our internal obstacles and can hold us back from trying new things or pursuing our goals. We shared research on why perfectionism is dangerous and strategies for embracing self-compassion and striving for good enough. 

With all of this, surely now I will be enlightened and free from my harmful perfectionist tendencies, right? Hahaha nope.

This past week, I’ve had a particularly hard time following my own advice. I’ve gotten frustrated when reality didn’t meet my unrealistic expectations. I’ve stared at blank screens and struggled to find the perfect words, instead of just starting. And I’ve let self-criticism take over my inner monologue – drowning out compassion, mindfulness, and gratitude – because come on, I should know better!

But, like most of what we talk about on the podcast, overcoming perfectionism is an ongoing practice. Even when we know better, it still takes work to do better. So I’m trying to pause and reset, reflecting on what I’m struggling with right now and revisiting the strategies I know will help. I’m not doing it perfectly, of course, but the mistakes really are part of the process.

🎙 Latest Episode: #25 - Perfectionism & Self-Compassion

In our culture, we often talk about perfectionism like it’s a positive character trait. The classic example is answering the dreaded job interview question, “What’s your biggest weakness?” with “I’m a perfectionist,” as a way to show how hardworking and attentive you are.

But perfectionism is actually self-defeating and harmful – and its antidote is self-compassion. We share research on the dangers of perfectionism, our own experiences with it, and strategies to help manage it.

👉 Steal This Tip: Aim for good enough.

Perfectionism cultivates an “all or nothing” attitude, that either something is perfect or it’s worthless. This perspective can keep you from finishing a task, or even starting it in the first place.

Ask yourself what good enough would look like – for that family outing or that first draft or that morning workout – and aim for that. Remember that perfection doesn’t exist, and reaching a satisfactory level will feel far better than not doing it at all.


Episode #22: Why We Procrastinate & What to Do About It🎙

We often think about procrastination as a time management or productivity problem – but it’s actually an emotional issue, a way to avoid feeling triggered by our task lists. We share some of the ways that procrastination creates roadblocks in our lives, as well as strategies to overcome it.

Listen to the episode.

😄 Things We Text Each Other

via @fromthebottomofmypurse

😍 Stuff We Love Right Now

On the Interwebs  🖥

From Melia:

  • Geek Out for Free at MIT
    I miss the thrill of opening a fresh course catalog in college, scanning the hundreds of classes I could take, basking in all of that potential knowledge. Turns out, you can get this experience with the click of a mouse when you access MIT’s free, self-guided online courses. Linguistics and Philosophy! Brain and Cognitive Sciences! What a beautiful way to open up access to higher education.

From Gill:

  • Small Kitchen, Big Thanksgiving
    I very much relate to food writer Alison Roman’s relaxed, unpretentious style of cooking and hosting. The New York Times filmed her prepping Thanksgiving in her small Brooklyn kitchen (that is actually bigger than our Barcelona kitchen), and the result is funny and mouthwatering. I share her philosophy: “To avoid unnecessary personal meltdowns while cooking this meal, I’ve learned to match my expectations with my reality. This means nothing is getting done more than three days before Thanksgiving, and I refuse to panic about it.”

In Our Ears  🎧

From Melia: 

  • The Habitat
    What happens when six volunteers seclude themselves in a mock space station on a fake planet Mars for a year? This experiment was designed to help NASA understand what daily life will be like for astronauts who live on Mars in the future. Host Lynn Levy documents the year through audio diaries: the ups and downs of the team’s relationships, their joys and frustrations as they live and work together in close quarters. It’s a fascinating study in human behavior, and I couldn’t stop listening.

From Gill: 

  • Bedtime Stories
    A few months ago, I was having trouble sleeping, so I started relistening to the Harry Potter audiobooks at night. I set a sleep timer on Audible so it automatically shuts off after 15 or 30 minutes, and I drift off to a beloved bedtime story. I’m now up to Book 6, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, listening when I can’t sleep or my brain needs a rest from all the nonfiction I’m consuming. It’s incredibly calming and comforting.

On Our Plates   🍽 

From Melia: 

  • Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
    There’s something so satisfying about sinking your teeth into a chocolate chunk cookie – and even better, a rich and comforting chewy peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie. I’d recommend making these smaller than the recipe suggests; you’ll end up with 36-or-so medium cookies instead of 24 large ones.

From Gill: 

  • Autumn Vegetable Soup
    This soup is rich in savory spices and just what I want for dinner during a cold snap. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredient list; the recipe is very flexible. I usually make it with squash, sweet potatoes, and any other root vegetables that strike my fancy, subbing garbanzos in for the lentils.

If you like the Semi-Together podcast, why not share the pod with a friend who would enjoy it? You can also become a patron here.  

Until next time! 


Melia & Gill 😘😘

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