Reflection by Scott Stoner
I struggled with perfectionism for much of the first half of my life. It started early in school and carried over into youth sports, and then into my young adult life. I attached my self worth to achievement and thought that the more perfect I was the more I would be loved.
I learned in midlife that perfectionism is rooted in a lack of self-love and that as a child of God I am already loved for simply being who I am. I don’t need to earn that love and acceptance, and I can’t do anything to lose it. This is the lesson the Prodigal Son learned when he returned home after having squandered everything his father gave him.
Social media has many wonderful aspects to it, but one downside is that it can fool us into thinking that other peoples’ lives are perfect, or at least that they are happier and more successful than we are. If we are not careful, the constant and unrealistic comparison of our “insides” to the “outside images” from the lives of others can fuel perfectionism in ourselves.
The advice contained in the quote from author Roy Bennett is the perfect prescription for a healthy way to embrace our imperfect selves. “Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourselves, you’ll be much happier.” I know the truth of this myself as I have been much happier ever since I embraced that I am, and always will be, perfectly imperfect.
Making It Personal: Have you ever struggled with perfectionism? Do you find yourself comparing your life to others and feeling that some aspect of your life is not quite good enough? What helps you if or when you struggle with perfectionism, or comparing yourself to others?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.