Tag Archives: Perfect

Looking Back

7 Jul

“True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”  Ernest Hemingway

Life is a process of continual learning and every new situation brings with it parameters we must figure out and find our way through.  Sometimes we get the answers right the first time, and other times we may take a wrong turn that takes us somewhere we don’t want to go but teaches us something new.  There is no life manual with an answer key to help us through.  We find our way as we go step by step.  Sometimes our choices are complicated and take us through situations we’d rather avoid but each turn, right or wrong, gives us tools to go forward more effectively.  Constant change occurs not only in the world around us but within us and moves us a little further down the road to our destination.  As time passes we may look back at our former selves and the decisions we made.  Because we have additional wisdom and understanding we might wonder what we were thinking when we chose the wrong road.  But we are where we are at every moment.  If we do the best we can with each step, even if we falter, we will find the way ahead.  True nobility comes as we gain the attributes we desire most and continue to move forward.

There are moments in our lives that are nearly perfect.  Things go well and we are happy.  Those moments cannot last forever but while we’re in them we can’t imagine how things could go wrong.  But life is ever changing and nothing stays the same forever.  When our situations change and we face difficulty or challenges that feel beyond what we can manage we may lose our confidence in the future.  Even in our darkest hour when it seems nothing will go right we can have faith that things will change.  We are stronger than we think we are and there really isn’t anything so powerful that it will overcome us.  We can endure difficulty, even disaster, by taking it one step at a time.  Nothing can keep us from prevailing and as we struggle we gain strength and wisdom to take forward on the road ahead.

Looking back we may see decisions we made that cause shame and heartache.  We may struggle to forgive ourselves for choices that brought hardship to us or those around us.  Nothing can change the past and it’s better to see the situation as it is, accept the choice we made, and learn as much as possible from the experience.  Then we can let it go and move forward with renewed confidence carrying with us all the knowledge we’ve gained and increased insight for the road ahead.  Life is complex and nobody is perfect.  We will all falter at some point.  We may forgive ourselves and move forward with renewed confidence learning all we can from the past.

Today if you’re looking back and are disappointed in a decision you’ve made, learn all you can from the experience and let it go.  You are wiser now than you’ve ever been and you can make excellent decisions.  Leave the past behind and look ahead to the destination you seek.  There isn’t anything you can’t do and do well.  You have everything you need to succeed and find joy.

Leave and Take

26 Jan

There is a famous line from the movie “The Godfather,” that says, “Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” It’s given just after someone has been murdered and the killers are leaving the scene. Evidently it didn’t matter if the gun was found, but the connoli was treasured and not to be left behind. Although we will probably never be in a situation where we’ll use this same phrase in the same way, there will be times after an experience when there’ll be something we’ll want to leave behind, and something we’ll want to take with us. Every experience in life teaches us something. Sometimes the lesson is easy, and sometimes it’s hard and difficult to navigate. When we’ve been through something difficult, something that shakes us and makes us sad, worried or regretful, it helps to think about what we can learn from the experience and take with us. We don’t need to take the pain and disappointment, and can leave that behind. Every lesson we learn gives us something going forward that will shape us into who we become. Since we’re constantly changing, those lessons are continuous. If we learn all we can each time we struggle and take that with us, chances are we won’t have to learn the same lesson again.

Nobody wants to suffer or be in pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Physical pain can often be treated by a physician and medication can take the edge off and make it bearable. Emotional pain tells us something is wrong as well, or that we’ve made a mistake. Unfortunately, there is no medicine that will eliminate emotional pain, and generally we must endure it until we find a way around it. Our friends and family may try to comfort us, and sometimes that helps, or we may try to shake it off and let it go, and sometimes that helps too. But when we’re hurting, if the pain is intense, it can be hard to get through and see that it will end. During those times it’s helpful to think about what we can take away from the experience that may help us going forward. There is always something to be learned, and something to be gained when we’ve been hurt.

It seems that life would be so much better if nobody could hurt us or make mistakes that bring us discomfort. But we are human beings and we aren’t perfect. There is no way for us to be perfect and we’re going to falter. We will all hurt ourselves and sometimes we’ll hurt others either intentionally or accidentally because of choices we make. It’s unavoidable. We don’t know everything, we can’t see the future and sometimes even our very best guesses are wrong. Getting hurt is part of life and although it’s uncomfortable and we don’t want it, if we are wise and try to learn everything we can from our experiences and take all we can learn away with us when we go forward, we’ll be in a better position to prevent the same pain from returning. There isn’t anything we can’t handle. If we focus on what we’re learning when we’re managing problems, we will find something positive in the end. And finding something positive in the depths of sorrow will bring us comfort.

Today if you’re going through a hard time and you’re suffering, try to see the situation objectively and find the one good thing you can take away with you. You will leave this trial behind you in time, and all the pain that went with it. Take away the best part – what you learned from the experience. You’ll become wiser and you’ll feel stronger knowing you have gained something new. You can handle anything that comes. You’re strong and capable. Be confident and go forward learning all you can.

Finding Fault

12 Dec

We all make judgments in our lives. We decide what we think is right and wrong, and what is true or false. We base our judgments on our personal paradigms and values, and what we perceive as facts. We make judgments about situations and decisions, but we also include people in those judgments even when we don’t have all the facts. And we never have all the facts when others are involved. Unless we are the ones in the situation we’re judging, chances are good our speculation will be erroneous in some way. Judging and comparing are natural human responses to life. We evaluate each situation before we go forward. But loving one another and having compassion for each other doesn’t involve judging. When we love and care we can do it unconditionally. We can love each another even if we’re very different, even if we don’t understand decisions that have been made, and even if we are annoyed. Love and compassion are the highest emotions we can express, and take precedence over everything else. We can forget that when someone does something hurtful, or stupid, or whatever else we think applies. Love and compassion are higher, and they need to be honored as such.

People make mistakes. Some of us make more than others, and sometimes we falter in a huge way. We impact others with our decisions, and sometimes we hurt them badly. Nobody is perfect, and even if we’re trying hard to do what’s right, we may stumble. Having the unconditional support and love of others around us when we fall is priceless. We already know we’ve screwed up, we already know we were wrong, and we really don’t need someone else pointing it out and reminding us. But everyone does that, we all criticize sometimes when things go wrong, and all it really accomplishes is to make those involved feel worse. If we were more compassionate, if we treated others the way we would like them to treat us in the same situation, it would go a long way toward finding resolution. We could talk about it, listen openly, express our feelings, and then let it go.

What if someone makes a very bad decision that really damages us? What if we’re so angry we feel like we want to crush them? Those situations happen and when they do it’s very difficult to think before we act. But we need to stop and consider what we’ll gain afterward. If we make them feel as bad as they made us feel, where will that take us? Will it make things better or worse? If we take a moment to think about the big picture and where we want to be, if we ponder where we want the relationship to go before we act, we have a better chance of making things better. Some decisions are so egregious they destroy relationships completely. When that happens, anger and outrage will do nothing to help. But if there is a bad decision that isn’t so far reaching and we want to preserve our relationship, we can remember our love and compassion for the other person is higher than our anger and disappointment. We don’t have to condone bad behavior, but adding ours to it won’t solve anything. We can reach higher, and go forward with confidence.

Today if you’ve been judging those around you and making decisions about their behavior, try to see things from a wider perspective. If you love and accept them as they are, your relationships will be stronger and more fulfilling. Show them your heart, share your concern for them and they will draw closer to you. Having close, strong relationships makes our lives better. Enhance yours by building them today.

Just As You Are

8 Sep

We all have things about ourselves we want to change. Maybe we want to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, read more often, learn more about world events, be stronger, become more patient – the list is endless. Maybe we’re working on what we want to change now, or maybe we’ve put it off because of other priorities. Whatever we’re doing, there’s a chance we may be critical of ourselves because we haven’t yet accomplished all we want to. We’re harder on ourselves than anyone else. We push and push, and when we don’t accomplish all we think we should, sometimes we’re critical. We may expect to be perfect even though we know we can’t be. Unfortunately, that kind of thinking undermines us as we go forward.

I recently got a letter from a relative who included an old picture of me they had found from many years ago. When I looked at it, I was surprised at how good I looked. I remembered when that picture was taken feeling homely and undesirable. Looking at the picture now, I see a very attractive and appealing person. But that’s not how I felt at the time. I was highly critical of my appearance, and looking back I can see I was mistaken. We expect so much of ourselves, always seeing the imperfections, and wanting to be more than we think we are. We spend a lot of time looking ahead, trying to fix this or that, hoping that one day we’ll achieve whatever will make us the way we think we should be.

But what if we accepted ourselves today? Just as we are. Nobody is perfect – we all know that, but somehow it seems we make exceptions to the rule with regard to ourselves. We know nobody is perfect, but somehow we think we should be. The truth is we’re fine exactly the way we are. We’re the right size for where we are now, we have everything we need for what we’re doing, and we’re doing the best we can for the moment. We can change things in time, but for now, we’re exactly where we need to be. There’s a lot of press about loving others and that’s important, but it’s also important that we love ourselves. We’re here, we’re living our lives, and we’re exactly as we should be now.

Today if you’re feeling like you aren’t enough, like you should be better somehow, stop and see how wonderful you are right now. You do many things well and some things very well. Recognize those, and remember today is the best day of your life because you’re living it. Be happy with who you are, and what you’ve done. Work on the things you want to change, but as you go forward don’t forget how far you’ve come already. You have a lot going for you. Embrace that and be confident. You really are all that.

All or Nothing

28 Jul

Most of the things we do in our lives require flexibility. Generally there isn’t much that is written in stone, and we compromise a lot. Despite that, we can get stuck in an “all or nothing” mentality. We can get lost in trying to make things exactly like we want them before we commit, and move forward. There are some things that draw a hard line. For instance we may not allow someone to be hurt physically, we may require fidelity in our intimate relationships, or there may be some personal requirements we must have. But mostly, we need to compromise. Most things won’t be exactly the way we’d like them. There will be some give and take. A pattern of requiring perfection in our ideas, or needing things precisely the way we think they should be before we act can work against us.

Living with an “all or nothing” attitude can prevent us from participating, and keep us from fun and valuable experiences. If we decide to wait on every decision until things are lined up our way, the opportunity to participate may pass. Rarely will the timing for everything be perfect, the plans exactly as we want them, or the situation ideal in every way. If we wait for those things to happen before we move forward, we may find ourselves stuck.

This attitude affects our personal relationships, as well as our routine activities. No relationship is without disharmony from time to time. People disagree and agree, they argue and they get along, and there is tension occasionally. If we decide a relationship has to be completely perfect or we won’t have it, we will, in all probability, find ourselves alone. People don’t operate that way. Life doesn’t work that way. Perfection is, in most situations, unattainable.  It’s great to have a goal to be the best we can be, but the expectation of everything going without a curve or bump is unrealistic. And it’s self-defeating. Life is a wonderful gift. And the real perfection comes when we realize how wonderful it is – warts and all.

Today if you’ve been struggling with trying to make things absolutely perfect before you go forward, think about it from another perspective. If everything were perfect all the time there would be no reason to grow. We would have no reason to learn. Accept the bumps as they come along. Navigate them, and go right over them. You are capable of handling any complication that comes your way. No matter how things go, you’ll figure them out. Don’t wait for perfection. You don’t need it to move forward.