Last month it was my daughters’ 6th birthdays. We hadn’t had a party for them since their first birthday (which, to be honest, was more for my husband and I to celebrate surviving the first year, than for them (they were only one – what were they going to remember?).
Anyway, up until they started school, they happily thought that a party was when the four of us crowded around two birthday cakes and sang ‘happy birthday’. But now that they had started school, we decided that this year we would have a bigger party and invite their school friends.
I am a bit of a dichotomy when it comes to arranging and hosting social events. On the one hand, I believe that simple is good enough and there is no need to go over the top and have a lot of crazy decorations and fancy food. However, on the other hand, I want the event to be nice, people to feel welcome and not to look like a cheapskate.
I also felt that just because I don’t care for a fancy party, my children might like this, so I should try to make a bit more of an effort than I would for my own party. Just because all the party trimmings weren’t important to me didn’t mean that my children wouldn’t like them.
As a result, I wanted to make sure that my daughters had a wonderful birthday party – great activities for the children, food that all of the kids would enjoy eating and fun decorations that would create a festive spirit.
As my natural tendency isn’t really to care about all of the details, I was feeling very stressed and wasn’t enjoying the lead up to the party day. All I could think of was what I still had to do and wonder about all of the things that I might have forgotten.
My vision was like this:
I was zooming in on the imperfection – what wasn’t right; what I hadn’t done.
I was talking to my Mum (a very wise woman) about the party and obviously showing my stress. My Mum looked at me and said that the children won’t notice what was missing from the party. She said that when they came into the hall (my daughters were having a gymnastics party), they would be so excited about being at the party and seeing all of the equipment they will get to play with. They wouldn’t look for the decorations or at how the table was set. She said that some of them would be so excited, they would barely sit down long enough to eat anything.
I realised that there were only some things I needed to get right (like a safe venue, accurate invitations, some snacks and the birthday cakes). Everything else wasn’t important.
There will always be some imperfections, but if I zoomed out and looked at the whole picture…
… it would be beautiful.
Up close you will see all of the imperfections – what could be better. You can focus on them so much that soon, that will be all you see. But adopting the attitude of near enough is good enough and expecting some imperfection, significantly reduces the pressure of trying to get everything right.
If you are feeling stressed out about a situation, try stepping back. Zoom out to take in the whole picture and see it as it really is. The imperfections will still be there, but they will now be part of the bigger picture instead of the whole picture.