I’m hoping that by now you have finally accepted the reality of the proposition that I’m going to write about today. You know the one that says you aren’t perfect and most importantly, that no matter how hard you try you never will be.
I don’t think you have any trouble accepting the first part, but you do seem to bust a gut trying to be better at things. Not because you want to be better than other people, but because you don’t feel you can’t settle for less and you believe that you should always try harder. If you’re not getting it right it must be your fault. There must be a new discipline, a better way, a more determined attitude that would get you there.
There isn’t. You are, by your very nature, imperfect. Like the rest of us.
Until you took an enneagram test earlier this year you were always quick to say that you were not a perfectionist. It was a label you disdained. You can see the futility in striving for perfection in any area of life.
But as you considered the results of that test you realised that you are a perfectionist. Not with other people or things, but with yourself. You think you should be able to be the best mum you can be, the best wife, the best worker, the best friend, the best host, the best encourager, the best daughter. And you never meet your own standards.
And you want the world to be a just and fair place where the right things happen in the right order at the right time. Where good is rewarded and evil punished.
And that doesn’t seem to happen either.
So how do you plan to live the rest of your life? It’s a difficult tension you are living in.
There’s something I want to tell you that might help.
You are doing the best you can.
You make mistakes. Plenty of them, and some of them are really big. You need to stop blaming yourself when you are less than perfect. See the good stuff you do, don’t focus on the negatives.
Extend to yourself the same grace you extends to others who aren’t perfect, and maybe accepting the fact that you will never get it all right will allow you to be more and more accepting of others who don’t get it right too.
Until the next letter