I was reading a book recently that talked about the traps we can so easily find ourselves into…and one of them is the trap of perfection.
That is one that quite often traps me!
If I’m going to do something, I want it to be absolutely right…absolutely perfect. I grew up with the philosophy that if something was worth doing, it was worth doing well. I internalized that to mean that it should be perfect. But that’s not what doing something well necessarily means.
It means giving my best, but if there’s a glitch or something isn’t 100% accurate, that doesn’t mean that I’ve done something wrong.
I can play the organ pretty well, but I have never played a church service or recital without something going wrong. Sometimes I’m the only one who knows it–but I either didn’t completely pull the registration I had planned on…or my finger (or foot) hit a wrong note. I can focus on the things that went wrong and let that drag me down–or use it as a learning tool to see what I need to focus on next.
When I listen to a friend of mine play the organ, there is no way that I can compare with her. She’s marvelous! And yet she also knows that every time she plays, something will happen. But that doesn’t mean she stops playing.
I’ve discovered that if I spend too much time comparing myself with someone else, I can talk myself out of doing anything! Someone else is a better writer than I am…or a better organist…or a cleaner housekeeper…or a better teacher…or…
As a woman, it’s also an easy trap to fall into wanting to look perfect. I can look in the mirror and see my flaws–hips are too big…too many extra pounds…hair doesn’t do what I want it to. The flaws seem to be magnified when I look at some of the pictures of celebrities in magazines–whose makeup looks flawless, and whose figures are incredible! But would they really look that way if I saw them in person? Or am I envious of an air-brushed, photo-touched-up picture?
So…perfection isn’t required! Doing my best is. That’s what I need to keep reminding myself!