Progress Over Perfection

I have struggled all my life with perfectionism. Sometimes, I read those words and I wonder if that is someone’s “humble brag”. For me, the struggle with perfectionism does not mean I struggle because I am perfect. I do believe in having high standards and if I am going to do something, I want to do it right. My struggle is believing that my lack of perfection means I am lacking. To not be perfect is to feel like I am not worthy or enough. Because deep down, I struggle with believing that I am enough, just as I am and that my worth lies in who I am not how well I perform.

That’s not working for me. I’m working on that.

The thing that has helped me is learning to value Progress over Perfection.

What is great about valuing progress is that there is not a set destination or amount of progress one has to make before recognizing progress. One step. One day. One moment. One choice takes us in a direction we want to go. Perfection requires an end, a standard. Progress requires me to show up and try…and fail…and learn…and keep going.

I have always loved to create. I love words and how they can create an image or an emotion. I love how words can connect with people and bring people together. And I haven’t really written much of anything in months, partly because I was struggling with whether my writing was “good enough.” But then I remembered that I never began writing for an audience. And I still don’t. Yes, I hope what I write somehow leaves you feeling like you know me better, or knowing that you are not alone. I also love creating art – painting, drawing, working with clay. I am not good at it. My art is not something I would want to share. My grandmother was a painter. Her works are in my home and they are beautiful. My brother is a very talented artist too. And so, I often hesitate to share because I compare myself to those talents in my family.

That’s not working for me. I’m working on that.

As a parent, I struggle so much with this. On one hand, I judge my parenting hard. I feel, most days, like I am stringing together a whole series of mistakes. I wish there were do-overs. But then they do something so kind or say something so wise and I realize that my job is not to be a perfect parent. It is to model progress. It is to model growing, gracefully making mistakes and correcting them. It is to model being the kind of human I want to show up as. Because at the end of the day, that is exactly what I want them to do. I want them to make progress, to grow, to make mistakes and learn from them, to apologize when the hurt someone and then do better. I want them to stay those kind and wise souls because the world needs more of them, not more “perfection”.

Today I welcome back the kind and wise staff with whom I work. They are some of the best models of progress over perfection.

I am going to keep learning, to keep progressing. It won’t always look graceful or pretty. It won’t always be big or noticeable. But progress is messy. And even a single step in the right direction is progress.

I wish you all a wonderful day.

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