When I was growing up, I wanted to be perfect. My mother was an intolerable woman, (which is a long story for another time,) and my dad was a good man in a bad marriage who dealt with his lot in life by working long hours and volunteering in the community, which kept him away from home as much as possible. As children are hard-wired to do, I believed my mother. I believed it was my fault that my Dad was away from home so much, that he didn’t want to be around me because I was bad. I believed that I was a constant disappointment to my mother because there was something wrong with me. So I always tried to be the best at everything, to prove to my dad that I wasn’t bad, and to show my mother that I was not unlovable.
This mindset – that I had to be perfect to earn love – carried over into my adult life. I was so wrapped up in the endless pursuit of perfection that I even hated myself if I failed. It bothered me for years, and just a little still, that my college GPA was 3.96 and not 4.0.
When I failed at things, and I did as everyone does, it was life-changing for me to realize that my husband still loved me, still supported me, still believed in me. I began to see that most of the time good enough is good enough. Striving for perfection in every little thing you do will wear you down and make you feel inadequate because nobody’s perfect.
Do your best. Love yourself. Accept your limitations. Think hard on which things in your life really truly need to be perfect, and accept a passing grade on the rest. Trust me, you will live a longer, healthier, happier life if you do.