“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
As I have been refocusing on writing, I realized I have numerous blogs that I never posted and forgot that I had written. In Britney’s words, “That is just so typically me!” So I decided I should do a mini audit of the site to plan what to post and what to write, etc. In reviewing my “50 favorite words,” I discovered that in classic Jen style, I missed #4. Just like there was a typo on my dissertation cover page - that’s right, I spelled my name wrong. I make mistakes, small ones, but at times when I so wish to be perfect. This is something that I do not particularly love about myself.
Indeed, at a certain level there is a disconnect between who I would like to be and who I am. I would like to be someone with an organized office. I would like to be someone who doesn’t lose things (like keys and important papers). I’d like to be someone who hung my clothes up every time. I’d like to be the person in the house who screwed the top back on the peanut butter properly. Someone who hopped up to help regardless of how tired I was. Who did all of my work instead of doing a deep dive reading about something that catches my eye. I would love to not have a messy handbag, to not always wrinkle my outfit or spill on myself (especially when I am borrowing my fastidious wife’s clothing)…but alas, I am kinda messy, a little disorganized, deeply immersive in my moment and ever slightly impulsive.
I recently had to apologize to someone I work with and whom I adore for a small mistake that I had made. In my apology I said something to the effect of “I’m so sorry, I just want to be perfect for you.” She very graciously and I believe sincerely said, “We don’t want perfect. We want you, just as you are, committed to being your best self and helping us in all the ways that you do.”
This got me thinking. Now, of course I know there is no such thing as perfect. That most of us are so hard on ourselves. I tell people this all the time. I don’t think I am a perfectionist. But what I never realized was how often I notice my imperfections and believe they reflect limitations instead of strengths. Yet, the duality of my imperfections prove to have worthwhile tradeoffs. Yes, I can make small mistakes, but that comes with my getting lots and lots and lots done - most of it quite well. I can be forgetful and late, but that comes with an ability to be fully present in a way that I think brings great value and deep connections. I am sincere and trustworthy and strive to do my best - which perhaps is closer to my “perfect" than the organized, prompt, well-ironed woman I have yet to grow into.