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Dear friends,

Life doesn't need to be perfect to be great. We think we already know this, but for many of us the perfectionism is so deep-seated we don't even realise we're life-long perfectionists.

We desperately want the people we love to be healthy and to live forever; when we buy a product, we read reviews for days on end to find the best model; we constantly complain about our governments and the countries we live in; we are deeply into self-improvement because we're never satisfied with the state we're in; we want our partners to be exactly who we want them to be; we want to find the perfect job and we want to do what we absolutely love for a living; we want our food to taste good all the time; we want to read every book on our shelf and tick off every item on our to-do list. It goes on and on.

Perfectionism happens when we become fixated on how things should be (wherever we get the ideas from) and when we're infected with fear -- the fear of suffering, of losing control, of never being enough.

We take our first baby steps towards real happiness when we learn to discard our perfectionism in all areas of our lives and learn to embrace the idea of being "just good enough".

God knows how intimately I am acquainted with this problem of perfectionism. It's the reason why I took so long to write this new issue (I kept thinking I could do better, write better, but where does the ceiling end?). It's also why I haven't done so many of the things I want to do. It's why I complain about my job sometimes, wondering why I don't get to only do interesting photography work. It's why I walk around my house grousing about how it needs to be neater and more organised, and it's why I constantly think I am not good enough a sister, a friend, a partner.

Because I keep forgetting that I don't have to be perfect.

Life can never be perfect. It was not made to be so. In fact, the very essence of life is its changeability. From the biological at the micro level, to the political at the macro level, to the stars in the skies, no one thing is at rest. Everything is in motion all the time. So it's silly to think we have much control over life at all. Life is a river and we're on a boat. We have oars in our hands and we can steer in the direction we want sometimes, but we'll always have to follow the flow of the river. That's the law.

So I think we're better off flowing with the river. In fact, it'd be nice to take the weight and burden of perfectionism off our shoulders and throw it into the bin for good.

To do that, here are some things we can stop doing:
- We can stop trying to "figure out" what we should be doing with our lives and instead gravitate towards what we simply enjoy doing. In other words, we can start playing again.
- We can stop taking life so goddamn seriously.
- We can stop trying to achieve the perfect work-life balance or the perfect morning routine.
- We can stop wanting and buying the latest gadgets.
- We can stop wanting to be famous/powerful/rich/an important person.
- We can stop striving so hard to be happy (who is perfectly happy all the time?!).

And some things we can start doing:
- We can start relaxing into being our perfectly fine imperfect selves.
- We can start exploring new paths with a light heart, without hoping for it to become THE thing we should do with our lives.
- We can start disregarding time and losing ourselves in, for example, reading a good book, without worrying that we might never finish reading all the books on the shelf (because we will never be able to do that anyway).
- We can start being kinder to the people we love (or even the ones we don't quite love) because no one is perfect and everyone's a little broken.
- We can start accepting our negative emotions and the low points of our lives, knowing that it's a perfectly normal part of life.
- We can start enjoying the high points of our lives and all the good times.

Because we have enough. And we're good enough. And life doesn't need to be perfect to be great.

 

Some inspiring things

1. A Monk's Guide to Happiness.

2. If you're concerned at all about your online privacy, use Brave together with DuckDuckGo.

3. I use this to-do app because it mimics the way I usually organise my to-do items on paper.

4. CJ Chilvers on being alone without being lonely.

5. The beautiful shared online diary of the artists Elein Fleiss and Nakako Hayashi.

6. Just finished watching the entire season of Ricky Gervais' dark comedy "After Life". Cried. Felt. Intensely and deeply. Ricky Gervais is a genius writer.

7. Currently reading: "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown

8. Quote to think about: "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." -- Wayne Dyer


About

I'm Rebecca Toh. I write on​ rebeccatoh.co.

I am a 
photographer who works around the world shooting for clients such as The New York Times, Facebook, Monocle, Conde Nast Traveler, etc (if you like my work you might even want to hire me!)

I am also half of the LITO Podcast.

This is where I am and what I'm doing now.
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