I’ve written before on how important imperfection is. Even shared an inquiry on perfectionism to help students investigate how to beat it. And this is one of my favorite Brene Brown quotes: “[Perfectionism is] a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
Despite all that, two events over the last 24 hours had me stop in my tracks in recognizing just how hard perfectionism is for me to quit.
#1: During lunch with my 3 little ones, my 8 year old asked if she could feed some of her pasta to her 1 year old brother. Before I could tack on my “be careful,” she added, “I’ll make sure I don’t make a mess!” Then I watched as she painstakingly fed him, fork in one hand, paper towel in the other; she also kept cooing things at him as she fed him like, “We don’t want to make messes, right?”
#2: Coming across Seth Godin’s post, “What do you aspire to be?” He writes,
“The problem with perfect is that when you fail, you have none of the other more flexible human traits to fall back on.” (emphasis added)
The two combined to shake my shoulders a bit with regards to how much I still cling to perfectionism. Turns out what I love about perfection (lack of mess) creates its own kind of mess anyway. Mess is where the learning happens for us all; denying that through thinking that “perfect=ideal” is destructive because it ultimately denies us the very experiences that make us more capable of connection, self-awareness, and empathy.
I think today, we’re going to make some messes at our house. Who knows, maybe we’ll cultivate some of those “flexible human traits” along the way.
featured image: DeathToTheStockPhoto