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I don´t know.
Gifts on the day … in my backyard an Eagle and a male Cardinal! Signs of Spring, which fill my heart.
When I was in grade school, I came home proudly waving an Arithmetic test with a grade of 99, my father wanted to know : “What did you get wrong?” It took me a long time to get over this kind of upbringing, plus a natural tendency towards perfectionism (Elaine, I am also a one Enneagram, as is Richard Rohr. but at this ripe old age I think I have a handle on it. We miss out on so much if we insist that it all be perfect.
Hi Dolores! I’m at a pretty ripe old age myself (75) and just when I think I have a handle on it, I discover another level. It’s been interesting to observe Richard’s transformation over the decades. He’s been an informative one companion 🙂
I am plagued by a predisposition to focus on the what is missing rather than what is present. (If you’re attuned to the Enneagram you will recognize that I’m a One 🤪). This is a kind of perfectionism and it gets in the way of enjoying, appreciating, loving. The possibilities of letting go results in even more joy. Even more gratefulness. Even more love. Prayers of transformation ongoing.
My problem has always been that I got the message that if I was not perfect, I was not worthy of love. My religious upbringing taught me that even to be loved by God, I had to be perfect. It seemed like nearly everything was a sin and anything you might enjoy had to be bad for you. The mantra, “Lord, I am not worthy” was grilled into me. I cannot pinpoint the exact time when I realized the difference between “being worthy” and “being of worth” but it was a groundbreaking discovery that has framed the life I do my best to live today. Everyday I do my best to let go of perfection but it still creeps in and tries to find a seat at the table. One moment, one hour, one day at a time, I do my best to recognize its presence and refuse its invitation to dominate my behavior. I am of worth. I try to forsake the need to be perfect and practice the gift of being present. Presence opens the door of awareness and foster eyes to see and ears to hear what Life is offering me NOW. Sometimes it’s a new possibility. Many times its the willingness to let go of something that no longer serves my growth.
After thought: I don’t think Life calls us to be perfect but does encourages us to ripen!
Carol, I went to a Catholic school (2nd thru 7th) in the 60’s run by the sister if Notre Dame. I know the “Lord, I am not worthy” line well. We attended Mass every school day morning and then on to catechism. The three R’s then followed.
Joseph, I can’t say all of my experiences in Catholic school were bad but the dogma was very detrimental to my well being!
I cannot think of anywhere in my life that I seek perfectionism….maybe I am wrong…and just cannot see it. I try really hard to take very good care of my 2 cats, and dog, my home and my husband…but I don’t think anything is ever perfect. When I was a child in Catholic School..I was taught…that only God is perfect! Now as an adult…and an old adult to boot…I find myself questioning much of what I was taught in Primary school!! Perfect…I will never be. I try to do a good job …When I was working as a nurse and nurse practitioner…that was one place I always tried to do my best- the welfare of those I cared for was vital and an honor. Something for me to think about today!
Nannette, Your response today reminds me of Toltec Wisdom’s Four Agreements:” Be impeccable with your word; Don’t take anything personally; Don’t make assumptions; Always do your best.” I have found that if I keep the first agreement (Be impeccable with your word), the other three agreements just automatically fall into line. I think that Life never asks us to be perfect but does appreciate our willingness “to do our best.” Hope you’ve mae it to Louisiana and are settling in! It’s Mardi Gras time!
Hello Carol! and Thank you…I do know the Four Agreements. I try hard to remember to “Be impeccable with your word”…I often fail!
Yes…we are in Butte LaRose (near Baton Rouge) for a few more days! Indeed…The King Cakes are all out in the grocery markets! We won’t make it to Mardi Gras…we will be on our way toward Texas (and the parades are lovely—from the side lines 🙂
Letting go of perfection would give me the gift of time.
A small example for me: I reread my work emails two or three times to make sure I’ve conveyed things in a way that’s both clear and kind, especially if there’s any kind of tension or difficult issue involved. Since we’re all necessarily imperfect and since I have no control over someone else’s feelings or reactions there’s no way it’s going to land perfectly, be understood perfectly, function perfectly to move the conversation along.
I also review a lot of things my staff produces, striving for everything to be perfect. Some of this comes from having been a professional copy editor at one point, some from my caution around how our words advance understanding, some from necessary concern for legal issues.
All of this takes time! I need to let go of this level of control, trust others to do good work, provide access to the training that will help with the legal concerns and the nuances of our communications. That would give me more time to do higher-level thinking and my emails would be just fine. Our work would be acceptable.
Recently I wrote a post-it note that now looks at me from one of my monitors: Done is better than perfect.
Perfection is something I struggle with. It stops me from starting. But sometimes doing a mediocre job with what energy I have at the time is better than doing nothing at all and I need to come to terms with that.
Lovely Poppy, Well said…doing my best can vary from day to day and sometimes moment to moment..willingness to try, to make an effort, is a goal within itself.
Perfection is something that still creeps
in sometimes, but I’ve mostly embraced
Imperfection. And it seems that the pursuit
of perfection is mostly an ego driven
exercise anyway. I like to joke that I “strive for
“ Don’t let the perfect become the enemy
of the good”. -Voltaire
Charile, my beloved mentor got very frustrated with me and my need to be perfect and one day in frustration, he said, “Why do you have to be on top of the mountain or at the bottom of the barrel? Why can’t you find the path of mediocrity????”
What I practice gets stronger! I am trying not to get ahead of myself, since the future looks really tough but to let it unfold.
My mentor use to say, “Let go and see what life has in store for you.” Ah, the “art of letting” is a life-long lesson that we learn one step at a time! Also, so glad to know that you to will be taking the Grateful Living Facilitator course. Look forward to sharing that experience with you.
I am trying to find an area if my life in which I am trying too hard to be perfect. No,I can’t think of one, besides my habit of vacuuming my small kitchen floor every night, and I’m not about to end that in order to get to bed 5 minutes earlier!
Mauve, I wouldn’t give that up either!
Well, I can’t say there is one area of my life where perfectionism reigns at this point in time. Perfectionism served me until it didn’t. I have confessed on this site that I am a recovering perfectionist. Letting go of perfectionism was important and not easy. For me, it just made my life more fun. And I think it made life more fun for some around me. And, I still really like hitting a home run now and again, Joseph.😉
Mary, I hear you loud and clear! thanks for sharing
How did you let go of perfectionism Mary? I would appreciate the insight.
I am a perfectionist as well, I drive myself crazy trying to get it right all the time. This is not achievable and then I beat myself up and am angry with myself all the time. I feel it is not perfectionism itself that is the issue but how we react when we are not perfect that is the issue. In my case, if I’m not operating at 100%, I will slide and operate at 0%. All or nothing. I need to a balance, to feel good at 70%.
Journey, The dangers of “All or Nothing” tend to invade our thinking way to often. Sigh!
I have to think long and hard to find an area of my life in which I aspire to be perfect: child rearing, no; relationships, no; professional, no.
I realize that there are many aspects to my life and I am sure there is at least one that has screamed for perfection, so I’ll have to think on that, and also ask my wife what she thinks.
There is some irony in the fact that I spell checked this answer!
Thanks for the chuckle
This is a good question as I relate to being a perfectionist [especially at work]. I think what it opens up is less stress – which everyone needs these days.
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