Do you ever read something that sticks with you? Several months ago I read an article about a woman going through a divorce due to her husband’s affair. The following was her friend’s reaction: “But you COOK WITH FRESH HERBS!” Her friend was shocked that her husband could cheat because in her eyes, her friend was the perfect wife. The perfect mother. The perfect friend. She cooked gourmet meals with FRESH HERBS for dinner every night, for God’s sake. Why would he cheat?
But we all know she isn’t perfect, right (I don’t know why her husband cheated, though I’m sure at the end of the day, it was an issue with HIM and not HER)? As hard as we try, none of us will ever reach perfection. And even though we may work our asses off to achieve it, bad things can and will happen.
As a perfectionist, I have to let go: I will never be perfect. My house, as hard as I try, will never be immaculate. I will mess up at work. I will hurt J’s feelings. I won’t spend enough time with my family. I will disappoint a friend. I will drink too much wine and I will eat an entire package of Oreos. I will spend too much money and stay up too late. I will forget to reply to a blogging email. I will spill coffee and wear wrinkled clothes and let the towels sit in the dryer too long. I will never have organized kitchen cabinets or know where to store my shoes. I’ll wear the wrong foundation and chipped nails and have flat hair. And so will everyone else.
I have written about perfection before (read about how I lost my mind over stamps here), so, if you’ve read my blog long, you will know this is an area in which I struggle greatly. I strive for perfection in everything I do- work, home, life. And I fail miserably every day. Nothing pushes me over the edge faster than when my plans go awry. But the worst part of my perfectionist tendencies is that I expect that behavior from everyone else, too.
I listened to “Daring Greatly” on Audible a few months ago and one of the biggest lessons I took away from it was that perfectionism is a form of shame. I project my fear of shame and judgment on to the people I love. Can you imagine how easy it is to live with me? When you spend your entire day trying to not make a mistake, you think others spend their time the same. Expecting J to care about the bed being perfectly styled or not putting his feet on our white ottoman or always buying the correct almond milk is totally unfair. Most people, him included, have bigger things to worry about, as well they should.
In a world of white backgrounds, perfectly-posed pictures, and flaw-free selfies, it’s easy to get confused that everyone around you has it right. They don’t. The only thing they’ve figured out is the perfect filter. You cannot conquer or maintain it, and the sooner you figure it out, the happier you’ll be.
Releasing my expectation of perfection is coming to terms with my freak summer closet:
It’s realizing that burning dinner, oversleeping, leaving crumbs on the floor, forgetting a birthday, and not cooking with fresh herbs does not make you garbage. It makes you human.
How do you release your expectation of perfection?
<div align="center"> <a href="http://www.bourbonlipstickandstilettos.com/" rel="nofollow" title="A Beautiful Mess"><img src="http://i57.tinypic.com/2a941ll.jpg" alt="A Beautiful Mess" style="border:none;" /></a></div>