Organic Wisdom :: Are We Teaching Perfectionism?

On occasion, I like to share some of the quotes I post on Twitter and Facebook, with some of my expanded thoughts on it here.

“Organic Wisdom” is what I have found speaking to me in those quiet moments, that guides me and that echoes Truth in my life. Please feel free to download, or share this image in any way you’d like.

Many of us know what a curse perfectionism is as adults. It keeps us working too hard at a job that doesn’t fulfill us, criticizing ourselves for our natural limitations, or judging ourselves by the talents and strengths of another, instead of by our own. Or it keeps us feeling hopeless, unwilling to even try since we know we can never attain that elusive perfection we’ve been convinced is the only thing worthy of our attention (or the attentions of others).

We know what perfectionism is. We don’t like it. We actively talk against it to other adults.

Every time my own perfectionism rears its head I remember what Thomas Edison allegedly told the reporter who asked what it was like to fail at inventing a practical lightbulb 1,400 times:

“I didn’t fail 1,400 times; I created a lightbulb in 1,400 steps.”

Mistakes are good, necessary. They are a part of learning, a part of being human. I could even argue that it’s the reason we are here, since the only way we truly learn what does work is by understanding what doesn’t.

They should be honored as pathways to deeper awareness and growth as human beings.

But we tell children from the time they’re infants that mistakes are bad, that multiple mistakes are worse.

We curse children with perfectionism without even realizing it.

Punishing a child for a mistake made is punishing them for being human.

It sends a very clear message that “you’re not good enough”, that “Who You Are is bad”, that “it’s not okay to make mistakes”.

Punishing a child for mistakes – whether it’s through grounding or shaming or any other means – can teach them to never take risks, since risks are likely to lead to mistakes.

“Play it safe, mediocre even.”

“Don’t stand up or rock the boat or you’ll be punished for it.”

“And whatever you do stay aware of how others are judging you and do everything in your power to look perfect in everyone’s eyes or you will be judged, unloved, and ultimately left alone.”

A better idea is to love them when they make a mistake, wrap them in our arms and ask them what happened and how it happened and listen as they talk. And with your presence and engagement, ask them what they’d like to do next.

Show them mistakes happen, and that the best way to handle them is with love, patience, and support from those we love.

You don’t have to be a perfect parent either.

It’s a myth you’ll never attain. But that hopefully won’t stop you from learning and growing as a parent.

We have so many mamas (and even non-mamas looking to sharpen their relationship skills!) joining us on MONDAY, SEPT 17TH for the Organic Parenting e-course to do just that – learn, grow, have fun, get support and release our triggers (and our guilt).

Click here for a sneak peek!