From Perfection to Peace

In my bio I shared with you all that I am a recovering perfectionist. The pressure to be “perfect” is something that has haunted me my whole life. The fear of missing a step in my dance recitals or having my voice crack on stage during a performance were the kinds of thoughts that made up my nightmares; the kind you have while fully awake. By the time I’d hit high school I had full blown anxiety. I’m also had full blown denial that I was anxious. The need to succeed plagued me and I mentally and physically couldn’t bare the thought of demonstrating weakness. Perfection was my modus operandi.

Perfection brought accomplishment. But perfection did not bring peace. It did not bring growth. Then I began to fail. Hmmm, not began. That would imply that my failure was intentional. It wasn’t. I mean, no one wakes up and says “I’m gonna suck today”. At least I don’t think so.

The first thing I failed at was a relationship. A marriage, actually. It hurt like nothing I’d ever experienced. I got married in my early twenties to a guy I met with when I was just 15. We dated through college, married, bought a house, had a baby, did it all “right”. But while all these accomplishments were happening, we grew to be two incredibly incompatible people. We tried to make it work, but it didn’t. By my mid-twenties, we were divorced, had gone through a short-sale on the house we purchased together, and were doing our best to co-parent.

Enter failure number 2. Not the co-parenting, though thats had its difficult moments. Truth is my Ethan is blessed to have a great Dad that cares about him and is involved. Many kiddos aren’t so lucky. Failure number two is parenthood in general. It’s my greatest joy but is also a very real-time reminder that perfection does not exist. Each one of my boys has tested that and I fully expect them to continue to do so. This gig is hard! And the external pressures telling you how to raise your kids certainly don’t make it any easier. Stay at home/work outside the home, vaccinate/don’t vaccinate, private school/public school, breast/bottle…it’s enough to make your head spin.

Then there’s work failures. Too many to count, honestly. You try your best, you hold good intentions, you work your butt off, but missing the mark can and will happen. And when you manage people, guess what? You will let some of them down. You will. And if that hasn’t happened yet to you, wait. You’re human. And if you’re like me, it will come in the form of wanting something for someone they don’t want for themselves. It’s a lot like parenthood come to think of it.

It wasn’t until maybe the last 6 years or so that I’ve been able to be ok with failures. The growth part is what got me there and the peace part came later. I met my match. (Pun not intended here but I did meet Andrew on match.com). Andrew has an unwavering fire within him to always be right. Legit like nothing I’ve ever seen- except when I looked in the mirror. And so the growth began. After all, we couldn’t both be right all the time. And so it works. It just does.

I said the peace part came later. It’s still coming. With every moment of humanness I am working to find peace in my imperfections. It’s hard and I, instinctively, resort back to old habits when I’m unsure or uncomfortable. The kind that tell me to be, act, live a certain way. Peace doesn’t mean not caring. It actually means caring a lot. But caring about yourself. Caring about how you feel verses being weighted by the false notion that you are perceived one way or another by those around you. Don’t get me wrong, you should care what others think of you. But at what cost? Not if it robs you of your peace.

I remind myself of this regularly. I work at it and with each failure am given the opportunity to grow in this. My growth happens in this world, but my peace is not of this world. My Peace is inside me. My Peace tells me that I am imperfect but that I am worthy, I am loved.

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