Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Legend of Perfection

Have you ever stayed up later than you should have worried that you aren't good enough?  It's an isolating feeling, but ironically many of us feel this way.  When we were children, it was easy to know if we were doing a good or bad job at most things: praise or discipline from your parents, report cards, trophies, certificates, etc.  We grew up with others helping us to excel, and we usually stayed in a hobby or sport we were good at.

As adults, we are given a gift and a curse.  We are given the freedom to study a skill that can become a job, we can stay up as late as we want with no one yelling at us, and we can sneak a candy bar for lunch without getting grounded!  But, as adults, we are given responsibility.  We may not be in a job we love because we need that paycheck for bills, to pay a student loan, to feed and clothe our children, and to make sure we aren't kicked out of our homes.  We might have to give up a hobby in order to spend more time with family or deal with a critical illness.  We lose sleep, we forget to take our vitamins, our anxieties increase, and we lose our patience easily because there never seems to be enough time in the day.

We are left thinking, "I wish things were perfect."  Oh, how I have always longed to feel perfect, to be the woman who can do it all flawlessly while looking glamorous.  I feel the more I think about it, the more this idea of perfection is so far out of my reach.  I go through regrets in my head like a hamster wheel.  "I should have done this, I could have been this, if I had just done this than life would be better..."  Is this a healthy thought behavior?  Not at all.  Is it a tool to keep me motivated to put on pants every day and be an adult?  Yes, but it doesn't have to be that way.

I have hard days where I feel like I am failing as a mother, wife, employee, and adult.  This only becomes a slippery slope of self pity and frustration.  So I have a new goal that is better for my life.  I am going to stop chasing perfection.  I will do my best to find the lessons in every up and down I experience day in and day out.  I think through learning as much as I can, that will make me a better person, not perfect by any means, but better than I was the day or year before.

I think it's time to be more patient with ourselves, to actually say to ourselves, "I forgive you."  I have priorities, and as long as those priorities are taken care of then maybe I am not failing after all.  The things I can't control should have no control over me.  None of us are perfect and 100% happy with every single thing in our lives, but that is okay.  I am now officially an okayist (yep I made that up) instead of a perfectionist for my own peace of mind.  At least in my life, perfection is a legend.