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  • High ambitions are noble and important, but there can also come a point when they become the sources of terrible trouble and unnecessary panic.


  • One way of undercutting our perfectionist impulses was pioneered by a British psychoanalyst called Donald Winnicott in the 1950s.

    其中一種削弱我們「完美主義衝動」的方法,由英國心理分析學者 Donald Winnicott 在 1950 年代所提倡。

  • Winnicott specialised in relationships between parents and children.

    Winnicott 專門研究親子關係。

  • In his clinical practice, he often met with parents who felt like failures:


  • perhaps because their children hadn't got into the best schools, or because there were sometimes arguments around the dinner table or the house wasn't always completely tidy.


  • Winnicott’s crucial insight was that the parentsagony was coming from a particular place: excessive hope.

    Winnicott 最重要的發現為,父母的苦惱來自某個特別之處:對自己的過度期望。

  • Their despair was a consequences of a cruel and counterproductive perfectionism.


  • So as to help them reduce this, Winnicott developed a charming phrase: His parents needed to feel that they were "good enough parents".

    為了幫助他們減輕這些痛苦,Winnicott 創造了一個迷人的片語:他們需要認為自己是「足夠好的父母」。

  • No child, he insisted, needs an ideal parent; they just need an okay, pretty decent, usually well intentioned, sometimes a bit grumpy but basically reasonable father or mother.


  • Winnicott wasn’t saying this because he liked to settle for second-best, but because he knew, from first hand, the toll exacted by perfectionism,

    Winnicott 會這麼說,並不是因為他喜歡退而求其次,

  • and realized that in order to remain more or less sane (which is a pretty big ambition already), we have to learn not to hate ourselves for failing to be what no ordinary human being ever really is anyway.

    而是因為他知道,完美主義所需付出的代價,還有了解到為了保持一定的健康心態 (其實這已是很大的企圖心)我們必須學習不去討厭未能成為不平凡者的自己。

  • The concept of "good enough" was invented as an escape from dangerous ideals.


  • It began in relation to parenthood, but it can actually be applied across life more generally, especially around work and love.


  • A relationship may be "good enough" even while it has many dark moments.


  • Perhaps at times there’s little sex and a lot of heavy arguments; maybe there are big areas of loneliness and non-communication.

    或許有時會缺乏性生活和發生嚴重爭執;也可能彼此間有著寂寞與難以溝通的時候 。

  • Yet none of this should lead us to feel freakish or unnaturally unlucky.


  • It can be good enough.


  • Similarly, a good enough job will be very boring at some points, it won’t perfectly utilise all our merits; we won’t earn a fortune.


  • But we may make some real friends, have times of genuine excitement, and finish many days tired but with a sense of true accomplishment.


  • It takes a good deal of bravery and skill to keep even a very ordinary life going.


  • To persevere through the challenges of love, work, and children is quietly heroic.


  • We should perhaps more often sometimes step back in order to acknowledge in a non-starry-eyed but very real way that our lives are good enough, and that this is, in itself, already a very grand achievement.


  • Did you know that the School of Life is actually a place?

    你知道「The School of Life」其實有實體據點嗎?

  • Ten places, in fact. Campus is all over the world, from Melbourne to London, Taipei to Istanbul.


  • With classes and books and lots more, please click on the link below to explore more.


High ambitions are noble and important, but there can also come a point when they become the sources of terrible trouble and unnecessary panic.


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