Ouch

I know I’ve said it before. I’ve said it over and over again in fact. I’ve said it to friends. To my family. To strangers I’m sure. I’ve even said it here. More than once. But this time I really mean it.

I’ve made my vow to walk away from perfectionism. Again. To not try so hard. To not aim to do everything right, and best, and every other superlative I can come up with. To be easier on myself (and therefore easier on others, I guess). I know I’ve vowed this and vowed this and vowed this before. But this time I really mean it.

Ok, maybe this time I really, really mean it. Because as my daughter pointed out as she read through this post (she’s my editor), not only have I said that I was going to walk away from my perfectionism before, but I’ve said “this time I really mean it” before as well. In fact, she called me out on being a perfectionist about becoming less of a perfectionist. Ouch. I guess that’s what they mean by, “the truth hurts.”

So maybe I should just admit that I’m going to keep saying it and keep saying it, and keep really, really meaning it as well. Because my attempt to not try to be perfect is going to be stellarly less than perfect because I am going to slip back into perfectionism more often than not. Even perfectionism about not being perfect. So I’m going to have to be okay with not being perfect at not being a perfectionist, and I’m going to have to be okay with repeating myself. Over and over and over again.

The weird thing about perfectionism is I don’t even think you realize you’re doing it when you’re doing it. Hence the endless repetition, and determination, of changing my stripes. I’ve told many people in the last ten years that I was a “recovering perfectionist.” And I meant it. And I had a (perfect) list of examples that proved I no longer strove for perfection. The scary thing is that I was recovering from how I used to be. But I’m determined to recover even more. And not perfectly. I sat with a friend and told her how I was re-upping my resolve to not strive for my perfection anymore, and she said, “Isn’t it a relief?” I had to agree.

I’m not going to get dinner perfectly on the table every night. I’m not going to go above and beyond in my work duties, unless I want to. I’m going to sit and read more, and do the things I “have to do” less. I’m not going to perfectly write my blog, or my book, or my work blog (well, maybe that one). I’m going to accept myself when I get angry or upset, and not think I have to express my emotions perfectly. I’m going to let the people I love off the hook when they let me down, and myself off the hook when I let them down. I’m going to give us all space to mess up and to be messy. To be human.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to aim for errors. I’m still going to aim for my best. But my best doesn’t have to be perfect. And neither does yours. I don’t even think my best can be perfect….well, maybe sometimes it can. But it’s not the standard I’m going to hold myself to.

This time I really mean it. Hold me to it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!

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