I’m a perfectionist. I like to get things right. I like my apartment to be nice and tidy. I finish what I start, no matter what (even when it doesn’t really matter). I am constantly trying to be better. A better mom. A better wife. A better daughter. A better global citizen.
However, I’m not perfect.
I’m not perfect, because I’m human. Humans by definition are not perfect – nor should we strive to be. Sure, we should strive to be better, but not perfect. It’s unattainable.
It’s taken me a long time to realize this and I still have moments of forgetfulness when I get sucked into perfectionist mode.
For example, when I decided to take a leave of absence, I was trying to be really diligent about cutting costs. So I removed the data plan for my phone. Yesterday, I got the phone bill and it was $50 more than usual. I didn’t know that I was still syncing data (didn’t think it would be allowed without a data plan!) and I had racked up a lot of fees. I felt so foolish. I messed up!
I had to spend considerable time consoling my hurt perfectionism after this “disaster” and convince myself that it was not a big deal. Yes, it’s a lot of money, but it’s not the end of the world and life goes on. I had to remind myself that it is OK to make mistakes.
Admitting to myself that I am not perfect, and that I never will be, is rather liberating. It won’t stop me from trying to get better, but it’s a journey of improvement rather than an end goal.
I’ll leave you with a fitting quote from the movie Avatar:
It is hard to fill a cup that is already full. ~Moat
If we think we’re perfect, we can’t grow. And that’s what’s being human is all about.
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