PRACTICING COURAGE IN THE WILDERNESS
Based on Living Compass “Practicing Courage with all your heart, soul, strength and mind”
“The only true perfection available to us is the honest acceptance of our imperfection.”
It is hard to underestimate the damage that the “disease of perfectionism”does to the well-being of ourselves and to others. Perfectionism creates deep feelings of lack and inadequacy in ourselves, sending us on an endless and impossible search to correct every perceived flaw. It can also create harsh criticisms, which can then become the justification for the mistreatment of others who are judged to be “less than perfect” in some way.
Perfectionism is not in any way the same thing as striving to be our best selves and striving to do the right thing. Perfectionism can actually cripple us and prevent us from striving to be our best, like when a child who is constantly criticized for not living up to some perfectionistic standards may eventually give up and stop trying.
The Bible is full of stories of people who, when first called by God, respond by stating their inadequacies. Each of them knows their imperfections all too well, and thus believe God would be better off calling someone else. God’s response? Our imperfections are not only accepted, but often become the way God works through us. As people of faith, our belovedness is not something we earn or achieve. We are beloved by God because we are God’s children. Knowing and truly internalizing this is key to letting go of perfectionism.
Do you or have you ever struggled with perfectionism? While it is wonderful to strive to be our best selves, perfectionism can cause us to stumble. Are you aware of the harmful effects of perfectionism, either in how you treat yourself or in how you view and treat others? What might help you to let go of perfectionism?