I’ve always hated making mistakes. I’ve never been the kind of girl who could blow off a silly mishap and get on with life – be it spilling my drink at the dinner table, coloring outside the lines in a coloring book, getting a less-than-perfect grade on homework, burning dinner, messing up a sewing project, or something deeper liking making a mistake in a relationship. I just don’t like it. Somehow, I end up feeling like lesser of a person when I mess up. I allow it to define my worth as a daughter, a wife, a mother, and a friend. I don’t like it, but it’s what I do.
I’m not the kind of perfectionist whose house is always clean, whose clothes are perfectly pressed, or whose credit cards are organized alphabetically in her wallet. I’m a different breed of perfectionist.
In my recent ventures in counseling, I’ve discovered a lot more about this area of my personality. I’ve found, with the help of my counselor, that I live a lot of my life trying to make things look good for other people. I often feel the need to fully explain myself, give very specific details, and make sure that the hearer truly understands anything I might be talking about. I give disclaimers, excuses, and explanations galore. And you know, it’s downright exhausting.
Now that I’ve been made fully aware of the extent of my perfectionism, I want nothing more than to get to the root of it and make some serious changes. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling like my world has fallen apart when I burn soup. I can easily reason with myself that my world hasn’t truly fallen apart, but then the rest of my night is affected by that soup burning – I feel dejected, tense, and irritated. Not a good combination, my friends.
This perfectionism likes to rear its ugly head in other parts of my life, too. Not only do I feel bad about burning the soup, but I have this urge to explain to everyone present why the soup burned, what I was doing when it happened, and how I can do better next time, even when no one asks. It’s like I want to beat them to the punch – “Maybe they’re wondering how on earth this could have happened. I’ll explain it as quickly as possible so that they don’t have time to think badly of me.” What’s the deal with that??
I’d love to be like this: “Oops, burnt the soup! Bummer! I wonder what else I can throw together for dinner!” And then, simply be done with it. I think I can get there. I hope I can get there!
I have made a commitment, though. I figure I should take it one step at a time, so for now, my goal is to stop explaining myself to people. I don’t owe people every single little detail. And I doubt they want to hear every single little detail! Truthfully, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks. I know my heart. God knows my heart. That’s enough.
So, here’s to taking a step toward a new, less-than-perfect-and-proud-of-it me. 🙂 If anything, I’m glad to be learning this now. I’m young, my child hasn’t yet been subjected (or at least, he isn’t aware that he’s been subjected!) to my perfectionism. My husband has grace for me. It’s a good time to take action.
Of course, now I’m reading this post over again and thinking, “Did I give too much detail? Am I making excuses??” 🙂 I’ll let it go.
I’ve got a baby with a cold, and it looks like he needs a little schnoz-wiping. Any suggestions for helping a baby with a cold get a good amount of sleep? Last night was a nightmare. More on that later, though!