Monday, 13 July 2015

Not being perfect

Just come across a promo for this book:
Breaking Up with Perfect: Kiss Perfection Good-Bye and Embrace the Joy God Has in Store for You by Amy Carroll

Looks good.

Trying to be perfect is the biggest lie there is: only God is perfect, and we try to be God! I find this perfectionism rears its ugly head in so many areas of my life, in subtle, seemingly insignificant ways. One of the worst is in any kind of conflict, whether with people, ideas of how I look, how I spend my time...deep inside is a desire to 'get it right' and that colours my choices and responses.

The ONLY remedy I have found for this is to recognise this desire to be perfect for the ugliness it is and remind myself that I can only 'be' perfect because of Jesus. He sees me for who I am and loves me anyway: I don't have to DO or BE anything except the best I can. And that, though definitely not perfect, is definitely Good Enough. If I'm Good Enough for God, I can be Good Enough for me!

And, when paralysed by an attack of perfectionism, I rather like this advice.

Everything Is Awful and I'm Not Okay: questions to ask myself when I'm down.

Are you hydrated? If not, have a glass of water. 

Have you eaten in the past three hours? If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts or hummus? 

Have you showered in the past day? If not, take a shower right now. 

Have you stretched your legs in the past day? If not, do so right now. If you don’t have the energy for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the block, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather’s bad, drive to a big store  and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip. 

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it. 

Have you moved your body to music in the past day? If not, dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song. 

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends or friends’ pets. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them. 

If daytime: are you dressed? If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress. 

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep? Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again; no pressure. 

Do you feel ineffective? Pause right now and get something small completed, whether it’s responding to an e-mail, loading up the dishwasher, or packing your gym bag for your next trip. Good job! 

Do you feel unattractive? Take a goddamn selfie. Your friends will remind you how great you look, and you’ll help fight society’s restrictions on what beauty can look like. 

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still being a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial. 

Have you over-exerted yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually? That can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment. 

Have you waited a week? Sometimes our perception of life is skewed, and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then. You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.