Friday, February 4, 2011

Realizing the Obvious

Lately I've been (finally) realizing some things that are really quite obvious: I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. I cannot do everything. And... No one expects me to be perfect. No one expects me to do everything.

These are things that I would have said that I knew for a long time. I knew them, but I didn't feel them. I knew that logically I could not be perfect, but I still expected myself to never fail... at anything, ever. And I would view any little mistake as failure. Ironically, my standards were so high that they were unreachable, so in my view I was constantly failing. That's a hard way to live your life.

Somehow it's really been sinking in that no one expects me to be perfect. If I make a mistake that doesn't mean that I'm not intelligent, conscientious, hard-working, or kind-hearted. It just means that I made a mistake. And learning that I'm not expected to be perfect doesn't mean that I've lowered my standards for myself. I still aim to do my best. But I'm learning to be forgiving of myself and to recognize that I can do something well even if it isn't perfect.

I just found this quote while looking for photos for this post, and it really speaks to me. (I actually like that the word "lose" is spelled wrong in the image. I think it makes a great point.)

That is all that my perfectionism is: fear. Fear of being wrong. Fear of failure. Fear of disappointing others. I don't want to live a fearful life. I want to live a creative, joyful life.

And so, though I'm not sure if this post makes sense, I'm going to bed. Because this post, like me, doesn't have to be perfect.