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.
LOVE this! This is something I struggle with too and have noticed it in Jack. I have noticed this year that Jack, like a typical perfectionist, will opt not to try something rather than risk failing and *not* being perfect. That is a trait I have seen in myself and it saddens me to see it in him. It is a daily struggle to recognize when I go too far in my desire to be perfect. I’m thankful the Lord is patient and even more so that he has given me Melody, who constantly reminds me that it’s OK to just try. Such wisdom in such a little girl.
sweet melody. love it. thanks my friend.
I am a recovering perfectionist too! It was no fun as a kid, and I don’t want to pass that on to my daughters. There is such a fine line between encouraging kids to do their best and pushing for perfection. I have been taking some art classes that show the whole creative process-like midway the teacher would say, oops I don’t like this. Here’s how I am going to fix it. It has been a great lesson in process and so freeing!
you are right anna – encouraging vs pushing is a fine line. so tough -but glad we are paying attention to this.
Love it court.
Court – your blog post was perfect timing. As you know, I too am quite the perfectionist and I have started to see this trait in Robert. I need to be cautious with how he and Ansley perceive my actions and expectations. Thanks for inspiring me to model how to brush it off and to show them that imperfection is okay. We are heading to the beach this weekend and I will be looking for some broken shells.
i am so glad my friend. you are so good at what you do. definitely a strength of yours. love you!
I LOVE your message in this post, and that song is one of my favorite! Your shell analogy is awesome in reminding us that even when we’re not perfect we’re still useful. I think we all just want to feel relevant and well thought of. Our kids, especially, need to know that when they mess up, they’re still loved. Thank you for this reminder!
Thanks Traci – “useful” and “relevant” are such perfect words. There are days I surely don’t feel either of those. I love that God can remind us that He can use just as we are – in so many different ways. Some in the blogging world and some from home diligently raising precious children and some in the marketplace influencing coworkers.
Hi Court. This is your “perfectionist” Dad. I thought that you would like to know that in your inscription in the sand the “ea” in the word Breaking is in lower case while all other letters are in caps. Just kidding my precious daughter. I am so on board with the purpose of your post. I love you more than words can express.
oh dad. this thrilled my heart. i love you so much. thanks for making your comment debut! you are the best. thanks for giving me such a perfect life. 🙂