Looking for Fulfillment? Don’t Hold Out for Perfect

For the past seven years, I’ve had a love affair with the self-help genre. I’ve devoured books like Only French Women Get Fat and The Flex Diet looking for solutions to my body hate. I’ve gobbled up books like Introvert Power looking for validation. I’ve read and re-read books like Naked, Drunk, and Writing and The Boss of You, chasing career success. I’ve turned to cliche classics like Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in order to manage my mood.

There’s a lot of hate out there for self-help books, from people saying they provide false promises and lead readers to fruitlessly pursue perfection. And while I don’t look at these books as the answer to my everything, instead opting to apply what resonates with me and leave the rest, there’s definitely truth to the fact that people have a hard time being happy unless they feel they’ve achieved it all.

The other week, J. Maureen Henderson of Generation Meh wrote something on Salon that resonated with me. She described happiness as a jigsaw puzzle we could only lay claim to “once we’d carefully laid all of the pieces — careers, relationships, sense of self — into their rightful place.”

It was something that rang true.

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