Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Perfection

When you are a first-born, only female, raised by TWO first-born parent's.....you become a Type-A, perfectionist, who believes that House Beautiful & Ms. Stewart ARE the goals in life!

Straight A's, Master & Doctoral degrees, overachiever with tons of ribbons and trophies, and a HUGE insecurity that you STILL could do it better!! You probably also own a least one book on every subject imaginable, and you could loan out self-help books by the box and still have some left over.

The struggle is real my friends! It spills into everything - marriage, parenting, work, our faith. The verse: "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might", is a life verse that we memorized when we were 2 years old. We quote it, live it, and have it highlighted in all 10 translations of the Bible that we own. (Why would you only own one version or translation? You might miss something!)

We do not believe in rest, creativity, mistakes, or failure. We will always get it right, or kill ourselves trying. God help the person in our world who doesn't not GET this is a reality and dares to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the wrong end, or folds the towels the wrong way (even though after five years of you patiently showing them very single time they are washed!), or forget that garbage night was moved because of a holiday and now you have to set bags of trash next to the cans because there is no room!! What will the neighbors think!?!?

For 2016, I picked the word 'creative' as my life word. I also discovered some truth's about myself that are very uncomfortable. I ADORE the creative process! I also HATE the results of virtually every creative thing I do! I want it to look exactly like the picture in my head, and yet somehow, my hands can not re-create it. The need to get it right, or do it PERFECTLY, messes with my head and my heart!

Let me share an example: I discovered Bible Journaling. It is beautiful, creative, and so much less type-A than I am. I watched picture after picture pop in my feed, all done by my very creative friends and acquaintances. I studied, thought, watched, and finally decided I wanted to do it too! Then the dread struck! My handwriting wasn't as pretty. I can't draw anything but tree's and vines, really. I don't 'do' messy art, it has to be lined up, all neat and tidy. I didn't think my 'notes' lined up with the beauty I was seeing.

Worse yet....I realized I was becoming very envious of my friends who had the magical gift of hand-lettering. So began the descent into not living up to the ideal. Perfectionism was taking over my experience. I fought it valiantly at first! I practiced, pondered, thought, and then practiced some more. I doodled, watched more video's, and lost the joy I had begun with!

I told a friend about this journaling thing I was doing, and she wanted to see pictures. Since I trust her, I willingly shared. She kept going on about how amazing everything I had done was, while I sat there embarrassed because my doodles didn't even come close to the amazing ones I had seen. She thought they were all amazing. Sigh....

As I struggled with this, I realized that something I read early on in my research was a BIG truth - this isn't about perfect. It's about the meaning. It's about the expression. My uber-creative daughter reminded me, after a chat with some of her friends, that art is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I will never live up to my own expectations of myself. The bar will always be set too high, too far, too extreme. I thought I had conquered this a few years ago, but realized it will be a life-long battle.

I had a second example of this, after I finished up a project that came to me in the middle of the night. I liked what I had done, carefully 'staged' everything for the photo, and still saw flaws in it all. After posting online for God and everybody to see, other people responded with amazingly positive statements. I realized that once again, I was judging myself by my own impossible, perfectionism.

My goal for the remainder of 2016, is to remind myself everyday, that creativity is a gift from God. I may not be great at hand-lettering, or staging the 'perfect picture' for everyone to see. I CAN be creative though, and find beauty and meaning in my world. I can release the need for perfect and relax into the contentment and joy of a moment or a meaningful experience. I can embrace the truth that I don't have to excel at everything....and remember that there are other's that wish they could possess some of my talents.

We all have different strengths, gifts, abilities. We should embrace what we CAN do, and not worry so much about what we can't. We should be as willing to treat ourselves with kindness, as we treat others. We should always remember that someone else may be envious of OUR strengths...the ones we think we still haven't mastered.

Here's to 2016 and CREATIVITY!!!


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