I Don’t Want to Be Perfect!
“I don’t want to be perfect!,” Beth yelled at me as we walked home from our Saturday morning breakfast.
“I can’t be, even if I wanted to. It’s not fair to you or me,” she continued.
I had no idea what she was talking about. I thought what I asked for was reasonable.
For the past several days, I’ve been working specifically on some deep-seated beliefs around forgiveness and accepting. There seems to be a boundless reservoir of issues around these two beliefs for me. The impetus to address them came up rather suddenly in that Saturday morning argument.
I didn’t think I needed to forgive Beth. We have an excellent relationship – better than it’s been in decades – but I had an unmistakable urge to forgive her.
It’s amazing how, when we are open to listening to ourselves, we can hear our thoughts clearly and learn so much from them, which is why I heard Beth differently this time in the disagreement about perfection.
This certainly wasn’t the first time we’ve had this argument, but I was more prepared to listen to her. This time, I listened and heard what she was saying from her perspective. I had essentially asked her not to make a mistake when we were arguing. As I write these words, I’m thinking about how silly that request sounds.
When we argue, we want to win. We also might feel under attack and choose to attack back. Sometimes we play fair, and sometimes we don’t. I was asking Beth to always play fair.
It was a perfectly reasonable expectation from someone perfectly in control of himself. In other words, a completely unreasonable expectation.
I realized, it’s not just my expectation of Beth being perfect that was the problem, but it was a rich vein of unreasonable expectations (also called beliefs) that I’ve been living with forever. I expected everyone to be perfect, my definition of perfect!
As we walked home 10 feet apart and in silence, I thought through what just happened. Even though I’ve had these expectations before, and even though we’ve had this argument before, this was the first time I was able to see my limiting beliefs that kept reinforcing this repeating pattern – my expectation of others to meet my definition of perfection.
That was just a few days ago. I wish I could tell you that I’ve overcome those expectations and beliefs, but that’s not true. I still have a ways to go. The first step is to be aware – and I’m finally there.
Now, my challenge is to look for situations when I invoke those unreasonable expectations. Then to see what it feels like and if I can adjust.
Repeatedly changing my thought patterns and acknowledging that the beliefs behind the thoughts are no longer serving me, will allow me to replace the limiting beliefs with ones more filled with forgiveness and acceptance.