Release Your Expectation of Perfection
Releasing the expectation of perfection in yourself and in others may be one of the most difficult tasks we must accomplish as women. I’m not sure how or why so many of us grew up desiring perfection; especially, in what we all know to be an imperfect world. In theory, we accept that we’re imperfect people and yet, we still try to reach perfection in nearly everything we do and we tend to have the same expectation of others. It is generally our expectations of others that fail us; not the actual person.
I am a recovering perfectionist. I phrase it that way because perfectionism is like an addiction and it can be incredibly difficult to kick the habit. When I first married in 2003, I didn’t realize this about myself. Whenever Keith would point out an area he thought I could improve upon, I would immediately turn the tables around and point out a similar area in which he could use a little growth.
The desire to be perfect was one of my greatest flaws in the early years of our relationship. So much so that it made me defensive and made Keith reluctant to share his less-than-positive thoughts with me. That was, until I had an ‘aha’ moment. I realized I can never change or improve upon another person; that must be their own work. I can only change and improve upon myself. I didn’t need to point out his imperfections as a defense mechanism to keep him from pointing out mine. Being perfect, I discovered, was A-okay; it was simply a reminder that I was only human.
Welcoming constructive criticism from my husband -who I know loves and adores me to pieces- rather than resisting it, has made me a better person. Reminding myself daily that I’m a work in progress (W.I.P.) and will never be perfect (nor should I ever strive to be) has allowed me to fully enjoy life without this unrealistic burden.
Sharing with my husband areas in which I believe he still has room to grow, while allowing him to do it in his own time and at his own pace, let’s him know I love him exactly where he is today. And he, in turn, does exactly the same which frees me to just be me…one million flaws and all. I’m able to spend my time basking in everything wonderful about him and know that his flaws will lessen as time goes on (just as mine will).
There is something oddly freeing about focusing on what is great about those around you while simultaneously accepting constructive criticism about yourself from those who love you. Not because you want your closest friends and family to point out every area in your life that could use some growth. But rather because inviting this type of feedback allows you to hear what others are likely thinking but may not be transparent enough to say.
Accepting you are a W.I.P. takes the pressure off of you to be perfect, which in turn, removes your expectancy that other’s too will be without flaws. And when you let go of your hope for other’s to be perfect, a similar grace is naturally bestowed upon you. Release your expectation of perfection in yourself and others today and watch the dial on your happiness meter continue to head north.
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
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