Friday, January 13, 2012

Permission to be Imperfect

Have you ever heard the phrase "nobody's perfect?" And have you ever heard the phrase "nobody's perfect" and moments later started berating yourself for all the things you've recently done wrong? Do you grasp the intellectual concept that "nobody's perfect," freely extend it to others and yet still allow your own inner critic to hold you to a ridiculous standard of perfection that you just agreed is unreachable?

Ah, the mind contorting and heart piercing puzzle of perfectionism. It stinks, right?

I have a very loud and very mean inner critic who likes to point out when I fail, when I'm going to fail and can even search out the failures in my successes. "Sure, you just climbed Mt. Everest, but you should have done it faster and in a cuter outfit...that Eskimo gear makes your butt look huge." Sigh. I know I shouldn't do it and I know I'm too hard on myself but even that psycho-babble self-awareness just starts up a whole new critique from my inner Ebert (it may be Roper) on why I'm a failure for listening to the very voice telling me I'm a failure. Now, that's a special kind of twisted.

So here's a phrase I recently heard echoing in my brain and I decided that I like it. "Permission to be imperfect." Maybe all of us hyper type-A, perfectionists need to chill out and give ourselves permission to be imperfect. Because the ugly truth of the matter (at least for me) is that the only person judging me and labeling me a big, fat failure who needs a bedazzled dunce me. There's no one else demanding that I keep our homeschool exactly on schedule. There's no one else yelling at me that we're running late for an ice skating session with no time limit. (yes, I do that..."hurry up, we're going to be late even though there's no start time and we're not obligated to be there anyway.")

And there's no one besides little ol' me declaring my house to be a messy embarrassment, or my to-do list too neglected, or my curves a little too curvy. Or reminding me that my blog is late and how dare I do that to people nice enough to read it even thought they probably won't like it anyway because it sounds like some throwback 80's after-school special about a nerdy girl who learns to love herself just the way she is and ends up going to prom with the most popular boy in school.

Is there such a thing as a type-A+ personality? Cause I think I rate some extra-credit crazy here.

So here's my point...if I don't expect perfection from others, why do I demand it from myself? Now I know we're wading into some deep Freudian-flavored psychological waters here and I don't have my floaties, so I'll end with this. I would like to buy my grumpy inner critic a big box of chocolate, some snazzy new shoes and give her the rest of my life off. I'd like to run late without freaking out. I'd like to actually try and fail before I label myself a failure. Or maybe even try and succeed and enjoy it without reservation. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So while I'm out shopping (metaphorically ) I'll throw together a goodie bag (also metaphorical) for any of you with inner harpies and give you the same permission to be imperfect.

Now go mess something up...on purpose.


  1. Your humor has me lol! Hang in there. I know that is certainly easier said than done, but I will certainly keep you in my prayers. I am my own worst critic (and a perfectionist), as well, so I know how hard it is to never seem quite good enough. I guess we are all works in progress!

    I hope you have a great weekend!
    Many blessings,

    1. @Lisa...Thanks so much for your awesomely encouraging words. Have a great weekend. God bless you!

  2. You've reminded me of that extra-special episode of Saved By the Bell, when what's-her-name, who went on to become the chick in Showgirls starts taking uppers to get everything done. Because my critic responds like her when I offer then next six or so decades off: "I'm so excited! I'm so excited!! I'm so scared, Zack! Because of course Zack Morris is also an inhabitant inside my head.

    1. @Emily...I don't know you, but I adore you! That is hysterical. Now I know where Zack went after the show ended.

  3. i love you, as you are, imperfect and all. and of course, to apeal to your competitive side, I'd have to declair that I am more imperfect than you ;)