During my kickboxing class a few weekends ago, I caught myself saying “practice makes perfect!”, as I was guiding members through a new combo. Immediately after it came out of my mouth, I realized that’s not true. Practice doesn’t make perfect because no one and nothing is perfect. Practice makes you better, not perfect. It helps you get stronger, it makes things easier, but if you strive for perfection, you’ll be striving for something unattainable.
It’s funny because literally as I was starting to draft this post (yes, I realize I started this weeks ago and am just getting it up for you today), I checked my email to find the last Bikini Rebellion email from Neghar. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen some deeper than normal posts, right? If you’re not an Instagram-er- here are some examples: Self Radical Love, being more than a number on a scale, only your opinion of yourself matters, etc. Day 14 of the challenge was all about perfectionism, and how we are not and will never be perfect. We are enough- right this instant you are enough.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the notion of perfection. If we can just run faster, do better push-ups, make healthier meals, be the best spouse/parent/child/friend/etc., be more positive, things will be perfect, right? Wrong. All my life I’ve strived for perfection and only am I recently recognizing that there is no such thing.
But just because no one is perfect and perfection is an unattainable goal doesn’t mean we should throw in the towel and say “eff it!”… it just means we should accept where we are right now, how far we’ve come and what we do on a daily basis that makes us who we are. We may not always get things right, we may say the wrong things, we may not have motivation to clean the house/grocery shop/workout, we may not always be working to our very best potential… but that’s totally OK. We are living, we are learning and we are experiencing new things that help us build character, develop new relationships and new passions. And some days might be easier than others, but that’s just the way life works. It ebbs and flows and if we expect things to always be perfect we are just setting ourselves up for disappointment- where’s the fun in that?!
Quick side story- A few weeks ago RM and I were going to look at some apartments and I took us to an address in Somerville, not Medford. Traffic was terrible and we were already late. RM asked if I had the person’s name or phone number, which I didn’t. How could I be so dumb to not get those specific, necessary details?! Long story short, we didn’t get to see either of the apartments we set out to see and I was SO MAD at myself. How could I screw up so badly? How could I not just think to have asked for those few simple details? How could I have wasted our time like that? And why did I take it out on RM by yelling at him for my mistake? RM asked why it bothered me so much and reminded me that people make mistakes and it’s not a big deal. My response? “But I don’t make these types of stupid mistakes! I’m so mad at myself for being so stupid!” Really, Monique? Looking back, it’s laughable how upset the whole situation made me. But the thing is, I strive for perfection and those mistakes are not an example of perfection, so it bothered me. I’m really working on ditching the perfection thing and just living. Accepting myself for who I am because I am enough, whether I get everything right or totally screw up. We all have good days and bad days, but it’s all about how you deal with those days that is the big thing. I’ll be the first to admit that I need to work on handling the bad days better, but it’s hard! And won’t be an overnight change.
So, to sum it up: practice doesn’t make you perfect, it makes you better. Whatever that thing is that you’re working on- don’t give up or get frustrated because you can’t nail it right away or even after some practice. Just keep practicing and you’ll start to see changes. You’ll run faster, you’ll lift more, you’ll relax more, you’ll cut yourself some slack… it may take some time and you may have some “one step forward, two steps back” moments, but practice will always make you better, so don’t give up!
Questions for you: How do you handle situations when you screw up? Do you strive for perfection? If you could give me a tip to help me learn to let go of my strive for perfection, what would that be?