Did you have the perfect Halloween this past weekend? What does the perfect Halloween look like to you? Seeing the neighbor kids all dressed up? Going to a party and winning a prize for best costume? For me it was a quiet night at home with my husband meeting new neighbors and their children. This was our first Halloween in our new home. And it would have been perfect if I hadn’t eaten so much of that candy!
In Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection she reminds us that “Perfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfectionism is an unattainable goal. Additionally, perfectionism is more about perception – we want to be perceived as perfect. Again, this is unattainable – there is no way to control perception, regardless of how much time and energy we spend trying.”
I’ve spent much of my life trying to be perfect and have to work hard at honoring my imperfections the way Ms. Brown invites us to do. I realize now that I was just trying to gain acceptance and approval all those years. Brene also tells us that one of the best ways to counter perfectionism is with self-compassion. Owning our imperfections and being kind towards ourselves when we make mistakes is the first step to self-compassion. Ok, so I ate too much candy. Then I had a choice to accept what I could not change and move on.
So, as soon as the last of the Trick-or-Treaters was gone, my husband and I threw away the remaining candy. And then I walked it out to the garbage can, just to make sure I didn’t get it back out of the kitchen trash can (please tell me that I’m not the only person to have done that before). That was the choice I made after my previous choice of eating lots of Halloween candy. I’m choosing to be kind to myself and acknowledging me for what I did well, rather than continuing to berate myself for what I didn’t do well.
I think I had an perfectly imperfect Halloween. How about you?