When I was a kid, I remember one thing about my parents, and that was that they always seemed to know what to do. They always knew the answer to anything and ran a ship that always seemed to be fully operational...now, this does not mean that things were perfect at home, but I always assumed that they had it all together. They both worked, we has sit down home cooked meals every night, and my house was always clean, we went on vacations out of the country every year...
Now, looking in from the outside, it seems like I had it made right? Only it didn't feel that way to me. For as long as I could remember, I have been crippled with an insecurity so deep that it's taken me YEARS to get rid of. Why? Why with all of this, mentioned above, would this be a problem? Well, I'll tell you. After all of these years, I realized that I was haunted by the crippling virus of perfection. It may seem like this is not a big deal, but this was deadly to my self esteem: because I was under the impression that I had to do it all. Be it all. Control it all, and basically be super human.
My house had to look a certain way. My kids had to act and look a certain way. I could not speak look or act a certain way...and the list goes on and on. To the point that I would get so worried about what others would think about me, my house, my kids, and everything else, that I was miserable. I used to lie awake some nights, with judgments of things that I could've, should've, would've done better. I criticized and judged any and everything. I incessantly looked for approval and validation - it took over my life. Then one day, I could not take it any more. I don't really remember the moment that it happened only that I became very aware of the fact that it was taking over my life. I could no longer live my life, according to these expectations that were set so long ago. I could not cripple my kids with this sense of unattainable perfection, so I set out to let it go.
The freedom in allowing myself to be ok, when everything was not perfect was a beacon of light in my life. I was no longer tied to having to do everything, and everything being just right.. I learned to be okay in the midst of craziness. I began to appreciate the smaller things. The mess in a science lesson turned into colored rice all over the floor. My kid's dirty faces from exploring mud pies, in our yard.
The magic comes in the form of imperfection. The moments when you feel like if nothing is working, and then you let go. The realization that when I am comforting one of my kids, the crazy crying moments, where I want to scream - and somehow I've learned to keep it at bay, allowing them their feelings, and myself the right to not strive for perfection (not crying, not feeling) is when I realize most of all, that everything is right. That we are unlocking our stories together - mine of the need for perfection, and them their need to feel and be.
The greatest difference however, came in the ease in which my life started to flow: because not only was I NOT holding myself to an impossible criteria of perfection, but I was not holding my kids to it either. And I allowed myself to love them for who they are. Not by who I think they should be...and myself as well.
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