Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life Lessons


To be honest, the answer isn't jumping out at me. Maybe it's the fact that I don't like to admit my struggles publicly or dwell on painful experiences, and this question is asking me to do just that. But maybe, the answer to this question lies in my feelings about it. It's okay to have limitations and acknowledge them. It's not only okay, it's essential. To feel guilty or ashamed for being imperfect or making mistakes is something like a tree beating itself up for dropping its leaves in the fall.

Imperfections are part of what make us human. Nobody's perfect. No one. Not friends or relatives who are blessed beyond their wildest dreams, not celebrities, not our mentors or heroes. After all, we're all human. Simply put, perfection is an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation to strive for. Expecting perfection is a setup for disappointment and frustration.

The following example illustrates how early in life this pattern can take root. At the age of two years old, my parents dressed me in shoes with laces. My little brain would look down and see that one side of the bow and tie was longer than the other. It wasn't perfect - and in my little world, lopsided laces it were NOT OKAY!
Lopsided loops like these caused serious chaos in my childhood home,
until I learned a few magic words.

This caused endless meltdowns - hissy fits, tantrums, fixations - until my Dad taught me the following mantra:  "One's too long and one's too short but I can manage". Thank goodness for an attitude shift and a little common sense.

These days, it's someone's bossy tone of voice or selfish behavior that's more likely to set me off. Until I remember..... hey, I've acted that way too. Probably a lot more recently than I'm willing to admit. A dose of humility and a generous helping of compassion go a lot further than rigid, unforgiving expectations. 
By letting go of the perfect ideal, we free ourselves to appreciate the imperfect reality. When we look at ourselves and the world with forgiving, loving eyes, life is more friendly and fun. I started learning this lesson when I was two, and 33 years later, I'm still working on it.

What life lesson did YOU learn the hard way? 


  1. I think there are to many lessons I learned the hard way. Especially in my 20's...New follower from Speak Up hop. Love for you to follow back when you can ;)


  2. I'm coming to find you! Thank you for the comment. :) I look forward to following. :)