Alison Hunter Therapy
Counselling, Psychotherapy, Coaching in Glasgow Southside & Online

Why being good enough is enough

We all know how easy it can be to offer kind words to others, letting them know what a good job they’re doing and yet find it so hard to follow the same advice for ourselves.

Something I’ve found to be a real relief to discover when we have an unrealistic expectation we should be able to do everything perfectly is the idea that being good enough is all that’s needed. The term was originally coined in the 1950s by the psychotherapist Donald Winnicott to offer support to new mothers struggling to gain confidence around their parenting skills. Although it may sound at first like settling for less, or accepting failure, in fact, it’s quite the opposite, as it frees you from the unrealistic goal of perfection.

Perfection is actually a way the mind has of stopping us moving forward - “I can’t take the next step because I haven’t done this one perfectly yet”. Of course, one never will do it perfectly; one can always find a flaw, and that’s the point.

Not only was Donald Winnicott saying that being good enough is all that is needed, the term goes further to highlight that such an aim is actually healthier for everyone than trying to be perfect.

In the 'good enough' environment, according to Winnicott, a new parent is encouraging their baby, as they get older, to adapt ever so slowly to their changing needs. Though still being empathic and caring, a parent can help their child to experience small frustrations such as waiting a minute longer to attend to their cry, that enable them to ‘cope with the immense shock of loss of omnipotence’ and develop an ongoing and more realistic relationship style. Without this, Winnicott said that family relations would be based on a fantasy bond that prevented genuine relating and encouraged the emergence of a false self, which will always look to others for completion.

And it’s easy to see how being good enough can be applied to so many areas of our lives: at work; in a relationship; learning a musical instrument. The pursuit of perfection is extremely limiting, you are creating unrealistic expectations of yourself and probably other people. It is a goal you will never reach and so disappointment and struggle will be everywhere. Being good enough stresses that you are putting in the work and effort yet liberates you from feeling you need to be it all.

My Location

My counselling, psychotherapy and coaching practice in based in the Southside of Glasgow. It is within easy reach of Shawlands, Pollokshields, Giffnock, Newton Mearns and the city centre.

I work with clients both face-to-face and online. Please contact me to discuss what may work best for you.


Counselling and psychotherapy are talking therapies that can help just about everyone, regardless of age, race and gender.
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“I approached the counselling process with a certain level of trepidation and anxiety. However Alison was able to be supportive and reassuring, creating a safe environment. The sessions were undertaken at a pace I felt comfortable with and it was clear Alison was able to respond to my individual situation which was multifaceted. I found the process helpful and beneficial.I would be more than comfortable approaching Alison in the future should the need arise.” Anonymous, Glasgow