Today is for the perfectionists. I never used to think of myself as a perfectionist, and it is true that I often times am throwing dinner together and hurried. So, here’s a better question: who likes to be wrong? Who likes failure? No one, right? I HATE it. Man, if you tell me I’m wrong, you’d better be fleet-footed and have a good place to hide! Some children are perfectionists, and some don’t care. Both have their pluses and minuses. While the perfectionist may get their work done well and not be as much trouble, it can be completely devastating when they make a mistake. And, let’s face it: mistakes are inevitable.
Failure is an interesting idea. It’s painful because it strikes at our pride, but it’s one of the best teachers that there is. You don’t learn much from success, but you learn a lot from failing. I can tell you, because I’ve done a lot of it lately. I guess what I’m trying to say is for those people that have children that struggle with perfection, it’s important for them to know how to fail. It’s great to do a good job and want to do your best, but it isn’t the end of the world when you don’t make it. Bruce Lee once said, “What is defeat? Nothing but education; nothing but the first step to something better.” So, failure is a form of education in itself. I think many perfectionists never try things that they are afraid of failing at, when in reality those are the things that teach you the very most. Fear can completely cripple a person if it’s allowed to grow. And besides, who wants to be afraid of anything? So, here’s a challenge for you and your children the next time you are scared of something. Ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen? People laugh at you – they will anyways. You might as well be laughing too! People ridicule you – they will anyways. Why are we so concerned with pleasing people who care so little? This does so NOT apply to parents and family, by the way. If I’ve learned anything lately, it is to live life to its fullest no matter what people may say. They will judge you, and you will make mistakes, but that’s ok. And truthfully, I have never found anyone who judges me nearly as hard as I judge myself. It’s part of being human and making mistakes means you still have the chance to do it right, and you’re alive. Take life a little less seriously, because we’re all just struggling little humans here.
What are some of the symptoms in children of perfectionism? Everything is perfect! They’re room is perfect. They’re homework is neat. They play on the safe side. They are probably the “good” students. Again, there’s nothing wrong with this, as long as they are prepared for the inevitable failure. How do you fix this problem? Well, I’m still working on that myself, but I would say that the realization that it’s ok to fail helps the most. Knowing that your family will still love you if you dye your hair purple, or your friends will still be there if you get a bad grade on a paper. (Personally I think some of my friends are happier when I get a bad grade on a paper, just saying.) And how are they going to know that? Show them, tell them. The nicest things in the world that I have experienced on a bad day is a hug from a friend, a smile, and a “this too shall pass.” Here’s to having a little slower, sloppier, happier, day, perfectionists! You only live once!