Practice Makes Perfect Sometimes

No one is perfect. Practice makes perfection. Confusing, right? On the one hand, we’re told that perfection is beyond our reach. Yet on the other, we’re encouraged to keep at it until it’s perfect. For someone like me, it’s a seriously mixed message. Of course, I understand that the act of being flawless and performing error-free are two different things but my brain has trouble distinguishing between the them.

The stress that I put on myself to never make a mistake is exhausting and quite frankly, unnecessary. I live in fear of making public mistakes. My heart races and stomach clenches. I was raised by a parent who seemed to value performance over effort but as I grow older, I’m not too sure this was true. It’s possible that he thought that I could do better than I was and didn’t know how to encourage me without sounding critical. I have to give him the benefit of the doubt because he’s no longer here to ask. I may have internalized the message incorrectly and now suffer the consequences of my own misinterpretation.

That brings me to today. Is it possible for me to change the way I self-flagellate whenever I make a public mistake? Is it possible for me to accept heartfelt compliments even when  I’ve not met my own expectations? By being overly self-critical, I rob myself of the opportunity to feel proud of any accomplishment if I perceive it as being less than perfect. I would never berate anyone I love the way I tear myself to shreds when I’m stumble and bumble a bit. Perhaps it’s time to be kinder to myself and learn to enjoy the act of creating and remind myself why I do the things I do in the first place. Enjoyment, a sense of accomplishment and the love of taking on a challenge. A wise friend once told me that when receiving a compliment all I need to say is thank you. Perhaps it’s up to me to silence my internal critic and just revel in the act of doing the things I love.

About Julie Brandon

60ish poet/playwright/blogger living near the Windy City
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