Friday, February 25, 2011

"I just want to be perfect..."

This week I went a little easier on myself, but only towards the end of the week.

I've always struggled with perfectionism, but recently I am more aware of how bad it is for me. I like having a clean house, an empty inbox, a stocked refrigerator and a checked-off to-do list. Is that so bad? I would like to get grades, be a good at my job, be a social butterfly, be in shape, go to cool places and have a perfect wardrobe. Is that so bad?

I am realizing it is. I really like a quote from Queen Rania:

"If you are trying to be a perfectionist, then you're always going for either 100 percent or zero, which means that you go through life averaging 50 percent," she said. "But if you accept the 70 percent, then you're averaging 70 percent in your life, which is better. Once I realized that, I started to just be a little kinder to myself. To say to myself that, you know, sometimes I won't be able to do this." source

I have activities for almost every weeknight but I still want to get up at seven in the morning and go running. The result? I have consistently laid in bed for the past weeks, trying unsuccessfully to get out of bed. Sometimes I have so many things planned and to do I have to cancel and end up feeling guilty. Aiming for the 100% makes me feel bad when I don't get it. When I feel bad, I get lazy/guilty and do 0%. Like Queen Rania, I am trying to be kinder to myself and accept just doing 70% of the things I'd like to do. Trying to LET GO...

"I just want to be perfect."
"Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go."
(from Black Swan, source)

I've heard that perfectionism is the opposite of holiness and I would have to agree. Letting go, accepting God's plans, listening to what God wants me to do... that's the beginning of holiness. NOT trying to please everyone in everything... JUST trying to please God. This summer I met a father of eight homeschooled kids that wore birkenstocks and was the most laid-back person I've ever met. He wanted to chat with me about Portugal. "I love chatting," he told me. I don't have time for chatting, I thought. I ended up going off-topic and telling him about my perfectionist worries, all the things I had to do and conferences I had to organize. He looked confused. And a little worried for me. He said, "We don't have to do anything. All we have to do is pray." Those words were really important for me.

I have been thinking about that this week. This post at Conversion Diary got me thinking about what I really think is important... what I'd like my 70% to be. And what do I need to say no to? One of the people I need to say no to is my perfectionist self.

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