Parenting Is About Progress Not Perfection
Dr. Deborah’s Thoughts
Many parents including myself, have suffered from perfectionism. It is often defined as the need to appear to be perfect, or even to believe that it is possible to achieve. In a world where success and capitalism are the order of the day, perfectionism is often seen as a positive trait. However, over the years, I have found it to be unhealthy and unattainable.
Dr. Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, describes perfectionism as a 20-ton shield we carry around to avoid being hurt. Regardless of how you describe it, trying to be perfect or just pretending to be perfect sets us up for failure.
So why do so many parents struggle with perfectionism when the reality is that none of us moms or dads are perfect? Some therapists ask us to “imagine what life would be like if we decided to take off that 20-ton shield and begin to show up each day, in every area of our lives, comfortable in our own skin, and free to express who God created us to be? How would we look? How would we feel? How would our authenticity impact our stress, self-esteem, the quality of our relationships, and our happiness?”
The first step to overcoming anything is to become aware of it. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you see anything less than perfect as failure?
- Are you critical and point out imperfections?
- Are you motivated by a fear of failure or underachievement?
Pay attention to your thoughts and patterns. Try to focus on the positives and challenge yourself to identify things that you appreciate about yourself. In addition, learn how to receive criticism and don’t take it personally understanding that constructive criticism can help us all learn and grow.
Finally, allow yourself to make mistakes. It’s okay to not have it all together, none of us do but God has given you grace maybe you should give yourself some too. Remember, being perfect doesn’t matter….being purposeful and making progress does.
Dr. Deborah L. Tillman