You’re so hard on yourself. You frequently belittle and second-guess yourself. You didn’t do this right. You forgot to say that. You review prior conversations and practice future ones in your head. You see every gaffe, misstep and wrong word as an unbearable breach. You sometimes embarrass yourself with an outburst or, even worse, a silence. You hold yourself to exceedingly high standards. You never measure up to your expectations. You expect perfection; you get humanness.
By definition, being human means that we are fallible and capable of making mistakes. We are also vulnerable, able to be wounded. We are not impervious to slings and shots. We are not made of steel and concrete; we are magnificently flesh and bone, muscle and tissue. We are sensate beings; we can see, taste, hear and touch the experiences of life. Our humanness is our connective tissue; it’s what connects you with me. We are bonded by the experiential, the trial and error, and the ups and downs of life.
Because being perfect leaves no room for error, you can’t make a mistake and learn from it. You can’t earn wisdom from your experiences. Perfection does away with the smudges and shadows. There is no coloring outside the lines with perfection. Perfection calls for a definitive response; you are either perfect or you’re not; there is no in-between. Perfection is linear, very black-and-white, all-or-none. There is no wiggle room in perfect.
Mastery, however, offers a whole spectrum of possibilities. It breaks out of the confines of right or wrong, perfect or not perfect. Mastery invites you to try many different ways, build on miscalculations, missteps and mistakes. Mastery breaks out of the two-dimensional box of perfection and opens possibilities for all sorts of new creations. Mastery invites your perfectly human self to come in and play with all the colors.
“When you make the world tolerable for yourself,
you make the world tolerable for others.”