Have you dealt with perfectionism? Read below for a “not” blog by one of our awesome alumni and recovering perfectionist, Dan Smith.
Thin Lines or Oceans is about the journey. That’s what God told me when He had me start this thing. “Show them your behind-the-scenes. Your in-process.” But I don’t like the process. It’s always too long. And it always fills up with tiny, gritty imperfections like tiny grains of sand in a shoe. There’s been a lot of life-sand in my life-shoes the past few months and that really stresses me out.
I just want to talk about what I’ve learned after I’ve fully learned it. Then I can craft my presentation of it with a spritz or two of charm and good feelings. But process often refuses to be pretty.
Here’s something: self-patience is a term I made up as of writing this sentence. But I think it’s kinda nice because it describes the process I’ve been going through. Also it’s super possible that someone else coined the phrase before me, but I don’t feel like Googling it. Let me know what you find if you do.
What is self-patience? It’s the place between two unhealthy extremes:
- refusing anything but perfection in me, or
- permanently accepting my every flaw.
Side thought: did you ever notice how it’s easy to describe extremes, but difficult to describe a balance between two extremes? We have specific words for overboard one way or another, but we often don’t have specific terms to describe a healthy balance between them? It’s like the human brain, when left to its own devices, always settles into an all or nothing mentality. Hm.
So self-patience is a practice I am currently devoting a lot of attention to. I feel a little silly because I feel like I have to keep relearning the same lesson:
Stop killing yourself over every mistake (self-hatred),
but don’t give up on growth entirely (self-apathy).
The irony of perfectionism is this: when you require perfection, you introduce a flaw in that same moment. Perfectionism is by nature imperfect. So we know perfectionism is bad. But apathy is not the answer. It has to be self-patience. Patient growth. What does that look like? Don’t ask me that question. I’m still figuring it out.
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you?
Thin Lines or Oceans is a collection of valuable truths God has shown me mixed with some of my own ramblings. A patchwork of the parts of my life that I’m proud of and the broken parts I wish I could be proud of. It’s the process I am currently going through more than it is the process God has already brought me through. It’s not a blog, because who wants to read a blog? It’s an open-invite conversation. So let’s talk!