Ask anyone, and they’ll agree that, “Nobody’s perfect.” We know that as humans, we’re all going to make mistakes.
But we don’t really live that belief in our daily lives. Instead, we have thoughts that go against that belief.
Nobody’s perfect, but…
- I can’t forgive myself for not spending more time with my grandfather before he passed away.
- if he really loved me, he would know what I’m thinking.
- I would have a better job if I had not of changed my major.
- if I hadn’t of been thinking about my money woes instead of paying attention to the road, I wouldn’t have hit that car this morning at the intersection.
- it’s easier for me to list my flaws than it is for me to name my strengths.
- instead of focusing on the parts of my body that are great, I constantly think about the parts that don’t look like an anorexic model. (Those models never smile when they go down the runway. What’s up with that? If I had a perfect body, I’d smile in my sleep!)
- if I had started saving money in my 20’s, I’d have more money saved to put down towards a house.
Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why is it easier to give the benefit of the doubt to a stranger in the grocery store line than to ourselves? Why is it easier to love others in spite of their imperfections, but we can’t stop loathing ourselves for not being perfect? And why do we let our fear of not doing it perfect keep us from ever trying to do something?
Simple: we judge others at their best and ourselves at our worst. We don’t hold others to the same standard as we hold ourselves. We know what we’re capable of, and when every cake we make doesn’t turn out beautifully, we start to wonder if we’re any good at baking at all.
“Nobody’s perfect, but if every thing I do doesn’t match my standards, then I’m a terrible, bad, awful person who can’t do anything right.”
See how silly that sounds? You know that isn’t true. And you’d tell a friend that wasn’t true and then list all of the great things they are good at doing. But we often can’t do that same favor for ourselves. So when one less than perfect thing happens in our life, then everything is wrong.
So how do we get past this?
Focus on your strengths.
I believe that all of us have strengths. They may not be the strengths we wished we had, but they are strengths nevertheless. And some of the best strengths to have in life are some of the things that we don’t find in the Olympics. Or at Awards Day. Or as a career. Things like…
- being a great listener.
- making money stretch in your budget.
- turning trash into treasure.
- creating a warm and inviting home.
- bringing plants from the half-dead rack back to life.
- not killing houseplants (I can kill peace lillies- THAT takes talent).
- encouraging others to not give up.
- finding ways to explain things that others can understand.
- never giving up.
Once we learn what our true strengths are, then it’s time to let them work for us. Every strength has a purpose. Every strength can make your life better. Many can even make you money. Actually, all of them can once you really learn how to let them work for you. The fun begins when we do what we do best!
Remember: Perfection is boring.
Do you know how boring the world would be if we were perfect? It would awful. You would live in Stepford. None of us would have jobs, either. Think about it: every job in the world exists because there’s a need. There’s a problem to solve. There’s some mess that needs to be cleaned. Dentists care for imperfect teeth. Doctors heal imperfect bodies. Plumbers fix clogged pipes. Landscapers address yards in need of TLC. Teachers, well, they seem to be expected to fix everything! So perfection would mean poverty and boredom. And that would be no good for any of us.
We learn the best lessons by trial and error.
How many of those great Pinterest tips that you’ve pinned to a board can you recall? Now, how many of those great Pinterest tips that you’ve put into action can you recall? Many more, right? We learn by doing. And we learn even more when something doesn’t go the exact way we had planned, and we have to dig deeper, try harder, and look at things differently.
Instead of viewing the things that don’t go perfectly as a flop, view them as a learning experience. The first time I made a cake from scratch, I left out the baking power. It looked like a frosted pancake! I’ve never made that mistake again. No one in my family probably remembers that vanilla cake with pale green frosting. But I can still see it sitting in all of its flat glory on the counter- looking mighty pathetic. And while my cakes since then have had other flaws, they’ve always had baking powder!
Your challenge: view yourself the same way you view others. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. And stop trying to be perfect. Be you!