[Monday Message] Patience vs perfectionism

Part of the challenge of living in the United States is the myth that anyone can “make it” if they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It villainizes marginalized people and neighborhoods. It causes us to value ourselves and others based on what we produce, rather than who we are. It creates a level of perfectionism where people think if they just did a little bit better, they too could be on top of the heap. It leads to people falling into the quick get-rich scheme, or putting up with working dehumanizing conditions, or putting up with abuse in their personal lives because they think they deserve it, because they’re not perfect. People stop having patience for themselves. They stop having patience for others. They lose the patience to put in effort and get good at something, or to follow their heart song, because they think they are supposed to be ‘there” now, wherever that is.

This attitude is insidious. We stop having patience for our spiritual and emotional growth. If we can’t be perfect now, why try?

Be patient. Celebrate your successes daily, no matter how small, so that you become aware of progress.

Where did you touch someone’s heart today?
How did you make someone else’s life easier today?
What did you teach someone today?

What have you learned to do differently that you got to demonstrate today?
What fear did you walk through today?
Where did you catch yourself today and decide to have a different, more positive thought pattern today?

Perfectionism is the enemy of growth, the enemy of self-care and self-confidence, and the enemy of knowing what enough really means.

This post is part of a new series called Monday Message, based on that day’s reflection from 365 Days to Enlightenment (authorized versions are currently out of print, working on a new edition). Check back next Monday for another one! You can also sign up for the Daily Message on my mailing list if you’d like to receive a new reflection every day. I also often post them to Instagram, if that’s a medium you enjoy.

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