Wednesday, July 17, 2013

'Practice makes Perfect!'

‘Practice makes perfect!’

The line rang out from the lips of a very sweet 8 year old, directed at my 6 year old daughter regarding some project they were working on. I’ve heard it a million times in my own life and never really thought much of it. But today I did. And I decided it’s a terrible phrase.

What exactly constitutes Perfect? Who decides?  And is it even truly achievable?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about working hard and progressing in life. But I have an issue with being setup from a young age to think Perfection is something we’re supposed to achieve to validate our efforts. Or that your end result isn’t good enough if someone (including yourself) thinks there may be room for improvement.

Maybe not everyone else got caught in this trap. I know I did. And what joy is lost in life because of it? While I’m out watering my garden, I see the need for more mulch, more or less order, the spots on the leaves, the dead heads of the spent flowers. There’s awkward chicken fencing around the beds to (try) to keep the chickens, dogs, and yes, even children, out. I look at the fruits of my labors and all I can think about is how great they will be in time.

What about now?  What about in this moment?

I have a yard, the space alone many in the world would envy. A place for my kids to play, my dogs to run, my chickens to range. I have fruit trees and fruit bushes, several raised beds that provide food for my family. And still extra space to have many of my favorite flowers. Does it look like something out of a gardening magazine? No, not to me anyways. Should it? A part of me still wants that. But I understand now it’s not only unrealistic, it’s unhealthy.

Because it’s more than just gardens. It’s a whole life outlook, feeling not good enough. That other’s are watching and finding me wanting. And all the self-imposed limitations set based on that perception. What things did you not try because you didn’t think you were good enough? I was afraid to sing, to learn an instrument, to pursue painting and writing. I never bothered applying to my college school of choice.

Of course there’s no telling the impact that perception and fear has made in my life at this point, but I think it a fair estimate to assume there may have been some big things. I wouldn’t change where I am or who I am now, but I would like to change who I am going forward. If only to shake the fear I’ve allowed to dictate my life for far too long.

First up, cello lessons.    


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