Oh, the curse that taught us we have to be perfect! Many of us spent too many precious years of our lives striving for perfection, oblivious to the fact that perfection is simply not possible. What was it that made so many of us try to overcompensate and to convince ourselves that perfectionism is a quality?
Very late in life, I learned to embrace the phrase, “I am enough!” When I embraced that, I found freedom in my life. I found release from my own expectations. I found that I was liberated from an all-consuming desire to have the approval and admiration of other people.
It is, of course, worthwhile to teach our children to always strive to be the best they can be and to dream expansive dreams. But it is just as important to teach them, “You are enough just the way you are.”
Here’s what I see as I look back on my life: Everything did not have to be perfect. Every project did not have to be flawless. Every sermon did not have to be profound. The house did not have to be impeccably decorated and spotless. My child did not have to excel in all things. I did not have to give everyone the impression that I could not fail.
One does not walk into the forest and accuse the trees of being off-center. Nor do they visit the shore and call the waves imperfect. So why do we look at ourselves this way?
– Tao Te Ching
A blessing of older age is the honest belief — finally — that I am enough!