Monday, February 7, 2011

Perfection Is My Enemy

There's a song by  Francesca Battistelli which some of you may have heard.  It's called "Free To Be Me" and has a line that reads "perfection is my enemy".  This line from her song remains in my mind, popping up from time to time.  I suppose I have to say that it "speaks to me."

It likely speaks to each of us to some degree, if we're honest.  After all, who doesn't aspire to achieve greatness throughout their endeavors?  Even a two-year-old desires to hear "Good Job!"  Naturally, we don't grow out of that.  

As we grow into adulthood, however, we learn that achieving sufficiency is all that is required.  But how many of us come to terms with that?  We still strive for the accolade, by now a little voice in the back of our mind that has learned to say "you can do better." 

If we've gleaned healthy outlooks and habits we may learn to be contented with the average requirements.  However, there are many reasons why we don't settle for mediocre.  Sometimes the idea of mediocrity smacks of inferiority.  But why?

Setting aside the obvious, that there are indeed times when we certainly should reach the heights of our potential, my point in this post is about our daily expectations.  Every day, Monday through Friday, January through December, you get where I'm going here?  The question I'm proposing is this, when is it not appropriate to achieve and expect more?   This is plain weird for an American to hear, more so to answer.  But we do wonder.  I think that sometimes we need a break from "being more."

For instance, in my life with children and schedules, I find that I criticize myself because I don't have everything done, like:

1.  Have the laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away.
2.  Keep a presentable home, e.i. dishes, table, counter, floor, etc.
3.  Prepare homemade meals each day and
4.  Serve my family at the table.
5.  Attend each of my children's athletic events.
6.  Keep a tidy bedroom.
7.  See that the kids make it to each Scout, youth, 4H, etc.  (...okay, need I go on?)

I'm not so off-my-rocker that I don't know you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, nobody does all that!"  But I also know that many of you recognize the symptom of self-criticism that I've demonstrated.  

We all have a litany of our own that is notoriously recognizable.  We have it memorized.  I bring it up because I think that average can be okay.  It has it's place, too.  Our aspirations can and should be more, but our expectations shouldn't be synonymous.  We do ourselves in!  Not to mention what we do to our children, our spouses, etc.  After all, haven't we found the cost of "more" and "better" too high, too often?  So, why do we keep after it?

Perhaps it's time to step back and evaluate what we are modeling to our children.  Maybe we should all just stay home once in awhile to play a nice, long game of Dino-opoly as a family after a Tombstone pizza dinner with sliced apples.  We're not perfect, and it's very good!

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As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!