“The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.” — Arthur Koestler
Many of us like me believed that we should strive for perfection, and often this means imitating someone whose life seems exemplary to us. We take enormously high standards from outside and we soon begin applying them to ourselves. I find that in my mind I obsessively check all the things people in my life may need or expect from me. Many of these thoughts and self-assessments reveal failure(s) on my part. I realize that I then begin to pre-plan the reaction. My pattern is I then start to beat myself up for my failures.
When we fall short, we berate ourselves. We become convinced that because we aren’t saints, we must have fallen from grace; imperfect, we come to despise ourselves. Surely, no one is as worthless as we are! We’ve failed again. Relapsed maybe, or acted out perhaps. Who could love us if they knew who we really were? When we take part in healthy relationships, we are not seen as we see ourselves – the shortfalls, the failures, missed opportunities, or any of the other negative ways we see us. Good and healthy people filter the way they see us and the filter is love.
So why then, do we insist on being judged by impossible standards? Why, oh why would we want to be like someone else? Why should we not search for what makes us original, precious, and worthy of care and love? Then we don’t have to go around with our eyes on the ground; we can look the world in the face because we know who we are. Who? Ourselves!