I get in moods.
I lose my cool.
I get overwhelmed.
I lose my priorities.
But I forgive myself.
I can do this because I know the intentions of my heart are good, even when I make mistakes. Truly knowing this is how I can give myself grace instead of grief.
I do think it’s important to hold ourselves to a certain standard as sort of a baseline of our values, but no one is going to meet that standard 100% of the time. Depending on how far down the perfectionist rabbit hole you are, you might even want to evaluate if the standard you hold yourself to is actually obtainable.
Whether or not you meet the expectations of yourself or others should not be the most important indicator of your caliber. Instead, base your caliber on your character and whether or not your intentions are good. Remember, perfection is impossible, but progress is the next best thing.
If you miss the target, forgive yourself and try again. As you practice grace, you might also give yourself some breathing room for unexpected (and inevitable) interruptions that occur in life, throwing us off course. We certainly can’t predict what might change our plans, but we can learn to change our view on what progress looks like.
And I can learn to be more flexible.
Truly, this is a learned behavior. I am about as perfect as I am flexible. I wish I could be one of those people who walk around open to whatever happens in a day and never get frustrated when I feel like I didn’t accomplish anything because my list is not crossed off.
Stupid lists! Yes, I get that high like so many of us when we get to cross things off or even more so at the end of the day when I have LOTS of things crossed off. But on the days that nothing gets crossed off, that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything. It doesn’t mean my progress was stalled. I did have a great talk catching up with a friend and that fills up my soul thus enhances my progress. So really, the list is not that important.
On the other side of lists is
Here are some tips for becoming more flexible so that you can continue to strive toward your personal standards and goals:
- What we’re working toward should be bigger than accolades or material items. What is the greater good you are trying to achieve? That is your “why” that is driving you this higher standard? Your “why” should be so close to your heart that when you bring your focus to it, perfection becomes less important than progress toward fulfilling your “why.”
- Align your schedule for the possibility of interruptions. I have a tendency to schedule my day as if I can teleport from one place to the next leaving me running late and discombobulated… way below the personal standards I hold for myself. Padding my schedule gives me more flexibility to be more prepared and effective at what I’m doing.
- Actually look for interruptions and try to view them as possibilities. You hear me say it all the time: Perspective is everything. We can learn from bumps in the road. When we slow down enough to truly engage, you never know what connections you might make – from ideas to people- that might propel your progress.
Finally, I can adjust my perspective.
As much as we might hate to admit it, perfectionism has so much to do with people pleasing and wanting to control how the world views us. We can pretend we don’t care, but it’s natural to care. Caring means we are in tune with the desires of others, which is powerful knowledge. But it can also be destructive when we direct on ourselves.
There are two agreements I’ve made with myself and continually fall back on when I feel my stomach twisting with angst about what others think of me.
These 2 agreemets are straight out of Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements. By far, these two have had the most positive impact on my life.
- Do not take things personally.
- Do not make assumptions.
I’m not even going to elaborate. You already know why these are true. We can not truly know the intentions of others unless they say it to us. Why in the world would we torture ourselves otherwise? If it’s necessary to resolve conflict, ask. If it’s not, let it go. BE FREE.
At the end of it all…
At the end of your life, what do you want to see? An empty facade that looked good on the outside, or a fulfilling life of impact and imperfect progress.
Today let’s refocus our intentions and give ourselves a little grace. We live, we learn. That’s the beauty of a new day! Carpe the heck out of it!
I believe in you.