Thursday, January 01, 2009

Forgiveness, Perfectionism and The New Year

I'm a fan of Flylady and today she sent out an email that I found particularly poignant for me. 

Do you ever look back on your life, on the last year, and have regrets? Flylady says that "regrets are just perfectionism in hindsight."

That was a bit of an 'a-ha' moment for me. Mainly because as soon as I read it, I recognized the bells of truth clanging in my head.

I am a perfectionist. It took me a long time to realize that I was a perfectionist, because I wasn't perfect at anything! I thought perfectionists were those women with the lovely, perfectly decorated, white-glove clean homes. I didn't think perfectionists every looked like me.

But, apparently, they do. 

Flylady also says that grudges are another form of perfectionism because they arise when we aren't treated the way we think we ought to be treated. Having just spent the last few days nursing a grudge against my sweetheart (which I've already let go of and sought forgiveness for) this one hit a nerve.

And Flylady offers a cure.


We ask others to forgive us for holding grudges against them - for expecting them to live up to the unbelievably high pinnacle we can't reach ourselves. But have you thought about forgiving yourself? 

Forgive yourself for expecting too much of yourself. Forgive yourself for beating yourself up when you turn out to be ... ta da! ... only human.

Flylady counsels us to laugh every day, even if it's at ourselves. We are, never have been, nor will we ever be, perfect. So laugh, forgive, and be at peace. Flylady even has an affirmation for us: "One baby step at a time, peace is mine in 2009." 

So can I do it? Can I forgive myself for my shortcomings, my weaknesses, my imperfection? Can I laugh at myself, and learn to love myself, not just in spite of all of my yuck, but maybe even because of it? Because my shortcomings are part of what makes me, me, right?

My shortcomings highlight my strengths and bring gratitude into my life. I'm grateful for what I can do, what I am good at, even though there's so much I would like to be better at. I'm grateful for my shortcomings because they cause me to reach out for help, and my life is more rich because of the good people who help me out and lift me up. 

And if you didn't have your own shortcomings, there might not be any way for me to serve you, to be your friend, and that would be a real loss for me. 

So, yeah. I have a lot of things I'd like to do better in 2009. But, I'm not going to beat myself up for what I failed to do, or didn't do well, in 2008. I do love myself, and I will practice forgiving myself of always expecting too much of myself and of others. I like Flylady's affirmation, so I'm going to make it my own this year.

My baby steps include getting a hold of my home and all my to-do's, using the flylady system; getting my two completed works-in-progress tidied up and ready for readers and then submission. Others, too. Homeschool. Church stuff. But I'm not going to list them all, because I just want to be better, not perfect. Right?