Perfectionism, March 29, 2017 Daily Reflection

Homework – do your very best

Recently, I heard a student say, “I should have worked harder on that project!” One of the teachers said, “You should always say to yourself what can I do better next time?” I had a visceral reaction to it in my gut. I do agree that it is important to do one’s best at everything one does in life. However, there are many situations in life when one has to accept the action, and with loving, compassion, for one’s self, not berate or belittle. The inner voice has an unbelievable influence in our lives. When we speak words of disapproval and disdain their is never approval and always rejection of self. This is not to discount trying to do one’s best. I believe that when we have not tried our best we should face that fact, learn from it and try harder in the future. That being said, no one will ever be perfect, it is not a possibility.

In my meditation classes, theology classes, and spiritual direction, especially from Ignatius of Loyola, Thomas Aquinas, and other great Catholic thinkers, detachment is the key. If we are able to detach from this framework we can allow our spirit to be completely open to God. If we constantly belittle ourselves, and obsess with how to do better we are caught up in ego. In all things of this earth we should do our best and then be compassionate and loving with self.

A person that believes he can always do better will never be satisfied or content in this life. God wants me to be the best version of myself without harming myself, getting caught up in perfectionism, or being stuck in endless cycle of defeatism. I choose to do my best, learn from my mistakes, have a vision, but be content and kind with my choices. If I stray from God and sin, reconciliation will bring me back but not through constant self disapproval. A change is needed in our inner dialogue, one that loves, leaves room for improvement, but doesn’t expect perfection.

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