In Season 2 Episode 7, The Most Disappointed Man, we see several characters worry about being the perfect spouse, parent, or person in general. Kevin breaks up with Sophie in fear that his addictions will continue to follow him and he won’t be able to be there for her and their future children. Beth and Randall stress over making the best decision possible for Deja. Rebecca and Jack try to prove to social workers and judges that they are the best option for baby Randall. Confused about life and mixed up with the wrong crowds, William tries to make good decisions for his life and judges try to give guidance to both William, Jack, and Rebecca to help them write a good story.
What is interesting about these struggles is the fact that good enough isn’t an option. The best and perfect is what these characters are aiming for. The fact that Kevin has difficulty in his life, he decides, disqualifies him for happiness. If he can’t be a perfect partner or father then he thinks he shouldn’t be one at all. Beth and Randall end up judging Shauna for not being the perfect parent for Deja and then hold themselves to the expectation to make the perfect choice for her even when they’re not really sure what that is. Rebecca and Jack put the pressure on themselves to be perfect parents when social workers come over. Rebecca is concerned with the house being in perfect order and afraid of what the social workers might think of her parenting. William decides that since he has made bad decisions in life and situations have gotten him down the best thing for him is to give up and go to prison. He doesn’t give himself room to be human and hurt over the death of his mother, girlfriend, and loss of his son. The judges in this episode worry about their ability to see the future and pick out the best future for the people that step into their court.
In reality, all our kids, spouse, and friends need is for us to be good enough. As long as we are good enough parents, good enough spouses, good enough friends, we have succeeded. We shouldn’t expect ourselves to be perfect – it’s not possible. A lot of times our desire for perfection keeps us from entering the relationship enough to make a positive impact in the first place. In fear that we will mess things up we remain disconnected. Take the risk. Give yourself room to say the wrong thing or make the wrong choice. Our friends and family will see how much we care when we try for better the next time.
SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER
- Do you expect perfection out of yourself in your relationships? What does it look like to be good enough in your own life?
- How is aiming for perfection actually causing a problem in your relationships? What barriers does that goal create between you and your loved ones?