The other day one of my colleagues was telling me a story about her kid. Her kid, she said, loves to sing. He sings in the shower, sings during a car ride, and sings at the dinner table. He sings and sings and sings despite the fact that—his own mother admitted—he isn’t very good at it. He just sings because he loves it.
When she told me this, I thought man, I miss that feeling.
It’s only natural for people, either in person or over social media, to want to share the best versions of themselves with the world: their happiest moments, their most flattering photos and their biggest accomplishments. But sometimes I think the cumulative effect of being exposed to everyone’s best, most filtered selves is the mounting sense that your own (messy, imperfect) self isn’t good enough: that you should only share or even pursue things at which you excel.
I think there can be an implicit pressure to “wake up like this”—to be instantly, effortlessly perfect and to be so proficient at our hobbies or passions that we’re almost professionals. It’s hard to present an imperfect picture to a world that seems flooded with perfection. It’s more than hard, it’s downright vulnerable.
But it’s valuable too. There is value in just being okay at something.
I’m an okay yogi. Just okay. I love it and I’ve been practicing a couple times a week for years, but my heels still don’t touch the ground in downward dog.
I’m just okay at makeup. I think it’s fun and I have spent [redacted] amount of money at Sephora, but I have never once been able to draw on eyeliner such that my left eye perfectly matches my right.
The food I cook tastes great, but it only ever looks okay. I have never mastered presentation. I take pride in making something with my hands that will nourish my loved ones, but I know it will never be Pinterest-photo-worthy.
I love these things, and I am just okay at them.
There is a power and a child-like purity in doing something not for the way it looks, but for how it feels and not because it’s impressive, but because it’s enjoyable.
So, if you need a mantra for the weekend, try this: passion does not require perfection. Sing your heart out. Just be okay.