One of my greatest regrets in life is being a perfectionist. Maybe "perfectionist" is a nice way of putting it. If you've ever been called
- a "good girl"
- a control freak
- or a micro-manager
As 2012 dies a quiet death I've decided to pitch out a bunch of miscellaneous papers that have lingered around my room for months. I came across this letter to myself, written one night after a soul-wrenching conversation with Mom that probably had something to do with me freaking out over college studies. It was probably past midnight, I was crying, and these are the words I scrawled down, raw with pain and regret.
Stop taking everything so seriously. You don't have to be perfect at everything. You're too hard on people—good people who you think could try harder and be better—and on you. You're not a joy to be around when you're kicking yourself. God's not happy with you—He's given you all of this and you're not happy with it? That's pride.
How good will you have to get before you're happy? When other people do things well, often that is their thing. We all have different circumstances, it all comes at a price.
You can reinvent yourself. You're known as the critical perfectionist, but you can change your habits without losing your identity. Emphasize those other parts of yourself.
It's OK to quit something and move on. You don't have to finish everything or maintain it indefinitely. Learn something and move on. Life is not a bullet list or a fight—it's a story. It's not a question of how well you scored, but who you are.
Are your goals shaping you into the kind of person you long to be? If not, change them. There are so many things you can and will do, but not all right now. You probably have years and years ahead of you. Don't borrow trouble from tomorrow or next week. Set your highest priority—1 or 2 great things—and pursue that instead of overloading your buffet plate.
God gave you something special to give the world. Don't envy others' gifts, thank God for them. Thank God for your strengths and work in them. Remember that most "carefree" people seem to do the most amazing things and are beloved.
Does your soul need freedom from the clutches of perfectionism and blind achievement?
Is 2013 the year you throw out the baggage and discover grace?