My therapist wants me to let go of the idea of perfection. She seems to think that it’s perfectly acceptable to make mistakes, that I have to accept that I’m human. I’m sure she just doesn’t know me that well. Because obviously, it’s OK for people to make mistakes as long as they aren’t me. Aaaaaand, if I’m being honest, as long as those people aren’t around to disappoint me.
I’m kidding… kind of… mostly. Intellectually, I’m on board with mistakes and imperfections. I understand that I’m human, and the nature of humanity is to be prone to errors. “No one’s perfect,” they say.
I’m not alone. Perfectionism is a real issue in our culture. And there is little space between perfectionism and carelessness. So given a choice between being a perfectionist and carelessness, I choose to be a perfectionist. But that’s a false dichotomy, isn’t it?
The truth is, no reasonable person expects me to be perfect. That’s all on me. But it is sooooo ingrained in my psyche.
So what do we do about it, those of us for whom perfectionism and our own unrealistic expectations continue to put barriers up? Ha! I don’t know. If you figure that out, let me know. I don’t have any solutions. But I do have some working thoughts. So here’s what I’m telling myself:
1. It’s OK to want things to be good.
2. You don’t have to be ashamed for wanting the things you do to positively impact people.
3. Your mistakes are never enough to ruin everything. It might feel like that, but it’s not true. NOTHING is beyond redemption.
4. Making mistakes is an opportunity. There is no better way to improve something than to epically fail. And it’s an excellent opportunity to model positivity in failure for the young people in your life. (And the not-so-young people.)
Take it easy on yourself. You’re worth it.
Pastor to the Neighborhood