Perfectionism can be a curse! My precious little grand daughter said, when I asked if there was something she wanted help with was, “not to be so upset when I get something wrong on my paper!”
Now mind you, it is summer! We are not even in school and bless her heart this came out! Her parents are wonderful about not praising only good grades and emphasizing mistakes are for learning!
However, our school culture and society seems to be focused on A’s, 100% , and other perfect score measures as the only acceptable goal! All A’s and one B, would that be good enough? For many all the emphasis would be on that pesky B!
Years ago, when I was a Principal, I emphasized the number correct or learned be placed on the top of the paper! +9 instead of – 11! Let’s focus on what has been learned and find the answer for what was not remembered!
Many Teachers themselves, myself included,would focus on the one ‘need to improve’ comment and feel badly, rather than focus on all the other wonderful positive comments and feel great! I saw it happen over and over.
Culture helps creates the illusion- The perfect job, the perfect outfit, the perfect hair, the perfect college acceptance, the perfect party, the perfect wedding, the perfect body, the perfect nutrition plan, the perfect Christian, the perfect game, and on and on the search for perfectionism goes!
In reality we know there is no ‘Perfect’ person, family, job, church, event or marriage! But our language or comments seem to reenforce that there is.
Social media, air brushing, make up perfecting tricks, plastic surgery, make overs, do overs all emphasize things can be better! Things are better for others we can see on Instagram, Facebook, and all the other sites.
Pinterest Perfect creates a new level for birthday parties, kid lunches, showers, weddings or pulling together outfits.
So what are we to do?
How can we find balance?
How can we be happy with what is and yet work towards goals, changes, or improvement without falling in that perfectionism trap like I’m not enough, nothing is enough?
Well, first be aware that it is a problem for may people! Blessings to those who do not struggle with this area. They do not compare themselves with others. Can be happy with C’s or that one B and all A’s.
Awareness that there is a problem with our thinking sets us free to make more rational, conscious, logical.
Romans 12:2 says Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
(Perfect meaning full or complete.)
Awareness of what we think or believe will help us with not making judgments about what is perfect or not good enough in the world’s eyes, but instead focusing on discerning what God may say about what is and what is good or acceptable.
The new emphasis on Mindfulness is a wonderful concept that encourages us to be in the moment, noticing ‘what is’, not letting our minds race backwards to have regrets or race forward to be anxious. We can take a ‘prayerful pause’ and reflect.
If we can learn to be present in each moment without judgment and with acceptance we will be more content.
Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:6
An attitude of gratitude develops a spiritual practice. Practice makes Perfect!! Oops!!! See how easily perfect just slips out!?!
Truly, a practice of gratitude keeps us focused on what is, what we have, our blessings, our joy in the moment, or realizing what is truly important from God’s point of view.
Being mindful in the moment with gratitude goes a long way to help us live more contented and peace filled lives.
Nothing is perfect, so we do need pencils with erasers! Erasers can clear away in our our minds thoughts that distress us and allow us to rewrite with new awareness, acceptance and gratitude!