A long time ago, in a magical land, I lived happily with no self-criticism and no desire to be perfect. Those things didn’t even cross my precious mind, and I actually thought I was okay just the way I was . . . Better than okay.
The magic didn’t last long. I got shoved right out of that enchanted mindset when a snotty little girl decided to bully me for being a “goody-goody pants” and make me feel like a gigantic loser. Truth be told, I wasn’t even close to being a goody goody pants or a loser, but I believed her and it changed me.
I was a sensitive kid and all that swirling, mean-spirited nastiness hurt me to the core, but I covered it well with a quick wit and sarcasm. My mother wasn’t particularly proud of my coping mechanisms or the fact that she’d birthed a wise a** but she dealt with it like any good Christian woman with a vice would. She smoked like a chimney and gave to the poor.
She wanted me to be ultra proper, conservative and laugh without snorting and spit takes, but I couldn’t do it. Though I did have excellent manners and amazing powers of diplomacy, I was a tiny bit bawdy and liked long-haired boys and liberals.
And so began the impossible journey to becoming a less goody-goody, more accomplished, less snorting, more lovable, less bawdy, more Republican-loving, be all things to all people, perfect human being.
Thank you for coming. Hope you enjoyed the show...
I have succeeded at many, many things in my lifetime but being perfect isn’t one of them. It’s certainly not for lack of trying! If there was any possible way one could be perfect, TRUST, I’d be drinking Mimosas at the Perfectly Perfect Sunday Brunches right next to Mary Poppins.
We were meant to be real, not perfect.
Why didn’t someone tell me?!!
Real doesn’t feel like you’re trying hard enough. You’re supposed to strive for more than that. I mean, you can’t put “Totally Real” on your resume and get a job!! . . . Can you?
We’re trained to aspire to all the “should be’s” and cover up what we think are our shortcomings with a pumped up, super-sized persona that will get people to slap us on the back and say “Wow, sweetheart! You’ve earned the right to be lovable!”
If we don’t do everything right, we won’t get our piece of the prized pie so we get caught in this vicious cycle of trying, failing, beating ourselves up, trying some more and failing again. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s exhausting.
But what the heck is perfect anyway? Everyone’s standards and definitions are different. My mom wanted me to be perfect in HER way. Her parents wanted her to be perfect in THEIR way. There are probably as many definitions of perfect as there are people.
Perfect is just a compilation of all kinds of crazy expectations and values passed down by our equally neurotic and dysfunctional ancestors! And we’re playing along with this for what reason again?
It’s time to stop the madness!
We’re all broken in some way and every one of us is trying to put the pieces back together again with the pixie dust of love, but we keep trying to earn it by being something we’re not.
Perfection doesn’t fix broken. It widens the gap because we lose the real glue that heals and connects us to each other: our humanness and vulnerability. That's where the magic is.
Emotional injury, shame, insecurity, fear, imperfection... These are real to everyone. This is our common ground... This is the place where our hearts can meet with compassion, empathy and grace... Where we can say “Oh God, me too!” and remember we belong to each other. Without it, we’re just a bunch of disengaged beings.
If we can soften towards ourselves and make peace with the dreaded “should be’s” and perceived imperfections, we can make peace with each other and the world. It doesn’t mean we don’t seek to improve, grow and evolve; it means we stop beating our heads against the inadequacy wall and start appreciating who we are!
Maybe I am a goody goody and a wise a**. Maybe I do snort a little when I have a good belly laugh.
Maybe I like long haired boys, liberals, off-color jokes, potato chips and drinking wine for hours with my sisters. I kind of like that about me.
What do you like about you?
Let’s take a trip back to that magical land where there's no self-criticism or requirement to be perfect. We just get to be real. It’s friendlier there and way more fun!
Perfectionism... I quit you! Won’t you join me?!
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