From a very early age I tried to be "perfect" (I purposefully use quotation marks, because I think perfection is impossible--unless, perhaps, I think of it as perfectly imperfect). This coping mechanism brought me much achievement and success (and also caused me suffering). Occasionally I sense that people (e.g., students) might actually think I am perfect--that everything is bliss in my life. Yet it's important for us all to know that no one is perfect; everyone struggles; everyone makes mistakes. And that's okay!
In fact, I'll use myself as an example, and talk about some ways I am not perfect:
- I sometimes yell at the computer (in fact, I just did this morning).
- Every so often I check if a large bag of M&Ms and Internet retail therapy can bring me true happiness. [Note: It doesn't, but I keep checking.]
- Sometimes I look in the mirror and am horrified by what I see.
- I can be cranky (really, truly--ask Mark).
- I am a vegetarian who still uses leather (one example of the contradictions in some of my beliefs).
- I sometimes use unkind speech (this is especially true with myself--my inner voice can be self-critical and hateful).
- My yard is filled with weeds.
- I don't keep up with outside house projects (e.g., dealing with peeling paint on windows).
- I feel shame.
- I'm often filled with doubt and second-guessing when at the grocery store.
- Sometimes I talk too much and don't mindfully listen.
- I can be judgmental.
- I often try to control things over which I actually have no control.
- I use the machines at the YMCA for more than 30 minutes, even though it's clearly posted that 30 minutes is the limit.
- Occasionally I overeat and drink too much wine.
- Vanity sometimes stops me from wearing a bike helmet (e.g., if my hair is wet, and I don't want helmet-hair).
- I want everyone to like me (and occasionally lose my authenticity because of this completely-out-of-my-control goal).