October 5, 2010

The Art of Forgiveness

I have started and erased this post about a dozen times.  I’m not sure how to say the things I want to say.

Single Dad Laughing wrote a blog entry last week about the disease of perfection.  How it renders us nearly disabled as we founder in its clutches. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how perfectionism can be crippling in regards to keeping your house, but really striving for perfection is about more than that.  I mean, sure it manifests in the house.  It makes it difficult for me to work effectively because I can’t ignore the minute details for the bigger picture.  But in thinking over perfectionism I realized something about myself.

In other people, I find faults endearing.  I adore the Princess’s habit of saying the most inane off-the-cuff things (The news is as boring as a frozen squirrel!).  I love Littilebit’s impatience.  Of course, I call her exuberant and excited.  Not impatient.  I smile when she beseeches  us to “Come on!  Come on!” when she can’t wait for us for one more second.  I love Baby Bee’s determination, even when things end badly.  I love Big Daddy’s vague “absent minded professoritis”.  I love when he has to wait for his buffer to catch up to hear what someone has just said.

And yet, I’m nearly completely unforgiving in similar traits myself.  I get frustrated and angry with my own impatience.  I hate when I forget things.  I don’t find it endearing at all.  The focus that Babe Bee exudes as she tries to learn something new, frustrates me in myself as I find myself distracted whenI’m away from my chosen task and angry if I feel I’ve spent too much time on it anyhow.  The Princess’s rash, stormy emotions have always been a part of her and I love that she loves big and hates big.  But I get frustrated and unhappy at my own storminess. I annoy myself with my love it/hate it attutide.

Why do I consider myself so unworthy of the care and consideration I give to the rest of my family? Why do I consider myself so unworthy of the care and consideration I give to other people.  When people are flighty, I smile indulgently. When I’m flighty, I berate myself.  When my children or my husband make mistakes, I help them right the wrong.    I rarely get angry.  I pick up the pieces.  But when I make mistakes?  There’s no forgiveness.  I beat myself up.  Over and over again depending on the severity of the digression.  I’m mean to myself.  More mean than I would ever consider being to anyone.  I could never consider being so mean to another human.  To my family.  To my children.  But I’m plenty mean to myself.  Daily.

I hold onto my litany of sins.  I keep no list but write them into my mind where I go over and over them each time I do something I personally consider to be a failure of any sort.  When I make even the most minor of mistakes, I recount the number of times I made similar mistakes.  I would never do this to Big Daddy.  I would never stand over the children as they were cleaning up a mistake they made harping over them about how many times they’d made a similar mistake in the past.

And the truth is, Big Daddy and the girls don’t expect me to be any more perfect than I expect them to be.  Big Daddy grew so tired of be berating myself   out loud, that he actually got mad a time or two at the way I spoke to myself.  He said he wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk to me that way.  It wasn’t acceptable and it wasn’t right.

I try every day to be kinder to myself.  I try hard to forgive myself more often.  I try not to write my mistakes in my mind in indelible ink.  I try to realize that I really don’t have to do it all.  I try to hold on to the idea that the people who love me most think my best is good enough and I don’t have to do one thing more.  But, old habits die hard.

Tied Up 5 Replies to “The Art of Forgiveness”


5 thoughts on “The Art of Forgiveness

    Author’s gravatar

    I know exactly how you feel. I think that we do ourselves more of a disservice sometimes by trying to be perfect than the good that comes from it. I’ve actually created a new blog that’s just for me and all I do is write… I don’t care about spelling, grammar, or ANYTHING, other than getting my thoughts out. I don’t even go back and read it most of the time…

    The funny thing is, the people who love us don’t even see our imperfections and just the way that those are the things that you love about them, those are the things that they love about you!

    Author’s gravatar

    it runs in our family that and the all or nothing we are the way in and if we faulter a little its over…..hugs

    Author’s gravatar

    I think that every. single. person. that reads this post will completely identify with you. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was right there with you…. old habits do, indeed, die hard.

    Author’s gravatar

    This is such a good post! And yes, isn’t it so hard not to be hard on ourselves? I think women are almost always our own worst critics! It’s great that your hubs helps keep you in line and reminds you to be nice to yourself. I sometimes need that too. We all need to give ourselves the kind of grace that we give the other people in our lives that we love!

      Author’s gravatar

      Big Daddy is pretty easy going, so when he starts yapping, I know I need to look at my behavior. I’ve actually gotten a LOT better about that part of things. Not great, but better.

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