Hi. My name is Courtney and I am a perfectionist.
In some ways, I am doing better. Like, my house is just an accepted mess. However, when it comes to projects or work or my life or my girls. I have unhealthy expectations.
The first step is being aware right?
I come by it naturally – my precious father will basically spit shine his cars and you can eat off the floors or counters in his house. His toes – oh his toes – I have never seen a man so clean. I love you Dad! 🙂
I see so much of him in me. I got his drive. I got his hard work. I got his ambition. I go for things that are tough and don’t back down until they are completed with excellence. I am so grateful for this trait.
“Every strength has a corresponding weakness.” – David Salyers (VP Marketing, Chick-fil-A)
My old boss mentored me so much and encouraged me to be aware of my strengths, but careful for the flip side. This is one of those. Being a perfectionist has its pros – but it has cons. For example, I am at the beach and cannot relax. The “to do” lists never stop swirling.
It’s OK and not urgent for me personally, but when my CHILDREN inherit the trait ….the urgency escalates.
This is not a joke. BOTH parent/teacher conferences this year revealed that my girls were a little too obsessed with being perfect.
Uh, red flag mom. They needed new pages when they made a mistake. If they didn’t get something right, it upset them. I am not in a tizzy over this. I am just thankful I am aware.
So, this happened in the Spring. The perfectionist in me would’ve done this post “real time” when it happened. I went to the beach with my girls in May and asked them how to fix.
All were helpful, but Kylie said some things that struck me.
You’ve got to teach them how to make beautiful things out of mess. Isn’t that what God has done with each of us? And will do with them?
We talked about having them draw something over the mistake. Talking through failures. Laughing off spills in the house. Grammy always says, “some days it happens!” I love that. Do their really mean to spill stuff? Questions like, did you do your best? vs Did you get 100?
Just after this, I went on a walk and noticed … the only shells left on the beach were the broken ones. All of the early birds had picked up the PERFECT ones. I was so excited God gave me this perfect illustration for my girls.
I walked and prayed. I am truly grateful for who I am. Being a perfectionist is part of my journey. I just want God to make me aware of when I push them too hard. When I require too much. I asked for his help to show them how to brush it off – be OK with imperfection.
Amber had the BEAUTIFUL idea to take back our shells – break them more and glue them around a mirror. Of course, I didn’t get to that. But I did tell my girls the story. This has so many layers of lessons. Their beauty. Their performance. Their school work.
I don’t expect perfection. I want them to do their very best.
In my heart that is how I feel, but are my actions and words telling them differently? I want them to learn early that we are all broken messes in desperate need of God and striving towards the impossible is pointless.
So, if you’re looking for something to do on your next beach trip … grab some broken shells and snuggle up with those kids on the beach. There are plenty of those shells to be found. And there are plenty of us broken, imperfect people around for God to love.