Why Bother Being Imperfect?

Why Bother Being Imperfect?

I am a recovering perfectionist. People like me find it difficult to be content with anything less than the very best, whether in performance or dress. Equally important is the fact that although I like people, sometimes I like order and control more. Additionally, I naturally resort to measuring most everyone, including myself, with an unrealistic and somewhat unattainable standard. 

I know that recovery is a long road because change takes time. Ideally though, I honestly thought I’d be squeaky clean from this shortfall of mine by now. But I am not. 

To Be Human 

I did not come by my perfectionist thinking all on my own. I picked it up along the way as part of my family’s heritage. My parents, and other adults, did not proclaim, “you must be perfect or else.” But there were small hints throughout my formative years that gave me the clear message that some behaviors were much more admirable than others.  

As the sixth of seven children, I can tell you though that I lucked out somewhat. I did not get the full unabridged version of perfectionism that my older siblings received. Maybe that is why I am on the road to recovery and they are not. Still, I grew up with some of the same expectations that dangled over everyone’s heads, and not just the older ones.  

For instance, one of the phrases which was intolerable to the adults in our household was made up of three little words, “I don’t know.” I have no idea why these words were so dreadful, but they were. Lying was also unacceptable. So if you honestly didn’t know something, and you lied so would not have to say “I don’t know,” either way it was a horrid spot to be in. 

I was an adult for quite some time  before I felt comfortable saying that I did not know something. Two of my siblings still won’t say the words, “I don’t know.”  Instead, one carries a pocket dictionary and atlas in her purse so she will always be in the know. The other sibling will search the internet until she finds the answer. They’ve yet to start their journey of recovery.

I used to say, “I’m only human,” whenever I made a mistake in front of my siblings. This was not so much an excuse as it was to remind them of my condition. 

Why bother being imperfect? To be human is to be imperfect. To be human is to be uncertain. It is not an excuse. It is just my present state.