Those pesky p-words

I just realized, for the millionth time, that I have been waiting until I feel like I have it all together, like I really get “what’s going on”, like I have a solid, poured-concrete foundation, before I will feel like it’s time to share my story.

My ego really does not like the idea that I might share something that feels true now, only to find out later that something different is “true”. I see, though, that I will be waiting for the rest of my life if surety is a pre-requisite for feeling comfortable sharing my thoughts and ideas about life. I am constantly changing, as I guess all human beings are, and it is not something to feel ashamed of. To the contrary–it seems instead something that I could celebrate wildly. The opposite–no change at all–would make life very, very boring.

I have been waiting to share my ideas because I am scared of being judged when you or I find out, down the road, that the things I thought were true or valuable are no longer relevant. This is sort of hilarious because both of those things are almost certain to occur.

I am scared of finding out a year from now that I was wrong about myself or the world…which is also pretty frickin’ likely.

I am scared of realizing a month from now that my old perspective was narrow(er) than my current one, and then “Oh God”, what will people think of me? What if they judge me based on who I have been?

What if people think, “oh, wow, she still has a lot to learn”, when they read what I wrote. What if they notice that I used the wrong word or incorrectly stated a fact.

What if I only proof-read my piece ninety-nine times instead of one hundred, and I dont notice that I forgot an apostrophe, or added an extra, comma?

What if they think that I think I am presenting a work of perfection…and then it turns out that it isn’t perfect after all? And then, what if I make that mean that I am not perfect either…all the while still believing that I am supposed to be.

Or what if, to the contrary, I share something that I know isn’t perfect, and people judge me. What if they think I am stupid. “Oh wow, if she thinks this is presentable, she must really be blind.” It’s like I need to clarify either that I am a work in progress, or that it’s a work in progress.  Is it a given that my focus is on getting my words out into the world where they might make a difference, expressing myself as opposed to focusing on my editorial skills?  Do I need to wait to share until I am sure that it is perfect, therefor avoiding the possibility of attack?

It seems I have been waiting to share my words until I can be sure to avoid criticism or judgement. I have been waiting to share myself until I can be sure that I will not experience pain. I have been waiting until my fortress of perfection is unshakable, and therefore I will be safe. The only problem with this plan is that the kind of perfection I am attempting doesn’t actually exist, neither is it the vaccination against criticism, judgement or pain.

In the past, the plan has gone like this: If I share something that is impeccable, then I will be untouchable. And I will finally have proved that I am worthy, that I am good enough, that I deserve to exist. And I will not be vulnerable to criticism or judgement. No one will be able to harm me or hurt me. No one will be able to tell me that I am not good enough, that I am a failure or that I don’t have what it takes, because I know that I am perfect. That is where this endless search for material perfection as access to safety, security and success trips and falls flat on its face.

There is something that I mistakenly adopted as the truth at some point in my life. I collapsed my own innate divine (im)perfection with the quality of the things that I produce in the world. Somehow I learned, incorrectly, that my success as a human would be judged on the level of perfection I achieved in my “production”. I decided that if I created perfect products, it would prove that I was good enough. That I was worthy of love and attention. If I wrote the perfect paper, or played the sonata perfectly on the piano, or did the math sheet with no errors, then I would finally be able to relax, and rest assured that I would be kept around, at least for now. That my place in the tribe was secure for the moment. That I would be loved and respected.

There are a few major issues with this strategy as a way of life. The first is that perfection doesn’t exist. At least not the kind that I was striving for. Now, I don’t actually have proof that this is true, and a month from now, I may have found out that I was mistaken. It may be the breaking story on the daily news: “Hundred year-old author writes the perfect blog post; achieves perfection; is assured life-long love, acceptance and respect.” (what she’s got left of it)  But as of this moment, in my reality, perfection is unattainable as an end goal.

The other issue with putting my eye on the golden key of perfection is that it means I miss out on the glorious mess called process. And process is where the good stuff lives.  I also miss out on sharing myself with the world, and making connections.  I miss out on the opportunity to be of service, to add value to the world and to my communities.  When I put the goal back into the realm of love, removing it from the fear-based kingdom of perfection, not only do I give myself a gift, I also am able to contribute to the lives of others.


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