Be ye therefore perfect, even as you Father, which is in heaven is perfect

Matthew 5:48

I don’t know when the first time was that I heard that scripture in a talk or lesson in church as a child, but I remember how it made me feel. I felt discouraged and inadequate. I wanted to give up without even trying to be perfect like God. I had already been trying to be perfect at so many other things and failing miserably.

It is easy for me, as a gifted person, to get stuck with a fixed mindset. I want to be the best at everything. I am used to being better than average at most things, and I have a difficult time not beating myself up when I don’t master a new skill immediately. I’ve always wanted to be perfect.

But, I’m not perfect, and it really bothers me.

I repeat the mantras to myself often, but I’m still working on believing them 100%.  “I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. I’m allowed and expected to make mistakes, that’s how I grow.”

I can hear my inner critic cackling. It’s hard to ignore her too, because she’s pretty loud.

I thrive on tangible metrics. They also feed my perfectionism.

As a child, I wanted to be a perfect student, and know all the right answers. Straight A’s could prove that I had perfectly mastered the material. 100% is a perfect score. I was ashamed to earn less than an A.

A perfect student should get A’s.

As a teenager, when I competed in DECA, I wanted to win first place. I wanted to be the best. First place is perfection. Winners should be perfect. Second place is the first loser.

At 25, I wanted to be the perfect Starbucks store manager. I wanted 100% mystery shops, the highest reviews from team members and customers, and the most profitability in our area. A perfect manager should be awarded manager of the quarter. I wasn’t a perfect manager.

At 30, after struggling with infertility and giving birth to triplets. I wanted to be the perfect mother.

A perfect mother should… (fill in the blank with some preposterous expectations heaped upon you by others and yourself. )

There are so many shoulds.

That’s when the weight of my perfectionism consumed me. Be ye therefore perfect. Maybe, I should be perfect, but I’m totally not. 11+ years and 4 brilliant boys later, and I don’t know that I have mastered one specific part of parenting, let alone perfection.

My boys had ice cream for dinner this week… twice. One of my boys, who shall not be named in this post, didn’t shower for 6 days straight last week. I was too tired to argue with him.

Maybe you struggle with not being a perfect parent also. It’s probably in a different way than I do. That’s what makes it challenging.

I’m looking at you with your organic, lovingly crafted meals, and well groomed children. You’re perfect.

And you’re looking at me as this spontaneous, free-range parent… At least I hope you are. Spontaneous is better than scatter-brained, and free-range is better than frazzled.

True story.

I’m finally recognizing that it’s okay that we’re not perfect people or parents. What I didn’t understand or know until recently, is that be ye therefore perfect doesn’t mean without fault or error. The Greek for perfect in that scripture apparently translates closer to whole or complete.

So, the next time someone compliments you on your “perfect” gifted child or your “perfect” parenting skills, smile and say thanks. You are doing a better job that you’re probably giving yourself credit for. Our lives as parents are messy. Sometimes, it’s even a hot mess. The messy parts of our lives make them whole or complete. The messy parts are perfect.

The messy parts of our lives make them whole or complete. The messy parts are perfect. Click To Tweet

This post is part of Hoagies’ Gifted Education monthly blog hop on perfectionism. You can read more about it from my brilliant friends by clicking here or on the graphic below.

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