What is my measure of failure?


I am the kind of person who has a steady running monologue in their head.  Sometimes I am more aware of this than at other times. Sometimes this inner voice is like my "talker" kids, it just rambles on about nothing at all. But sometimes, like this morning, it comes in pounding hard and loud like a two year old in full-on meltdown and I hear it clearly.

This morning I was just changing the baby's diaper and I heard it loud and clear, the wail between my ears crying I am failing at everything!!!! 

Most days I agree with the voice in my head. I say to her ugh, yes! You are SO right. Can you believe how badly I responded to that kid, and how far from my ideal the kitchen is right now? Why can't you get your act together girl? It's not really that hard.

Today was a little different though. I surprised even myself and I contradicted this voice of accusation. I asked myself - define failure. I looked around and I thought - yes, I agree that I am not going to get a 100 in any area of my life right now. But I'm also not getting a zero in any area of my life either. So define failure. Is failure a 70? Is failure less than 50? 

I grew up with a perfectionist dad. Being a perfectionist is awesome when you are a computer programmer like my dad was -  a single character our out of place can ruin the whole day. You have to be critical and you have to quickly spot errors. It is a brilliant quality for problem solvers but it can be a double-edged sword, because the quality that makes you successful as a worker can make you be less-successful as a dad. Nobody likes to be constantly criticized or told that they could do better, especially a child. Especially when that child really did try but the only things that gets noticed is the errors.

I've been reading Jen Hatmaker's book Of Mess and Moxie (and posting about it on Instagram constantly) and she very humorously comments on her lack of perfection throughout the book. She fully recognizes and she accepts that she is not perfect. She writes that usually she is failing somewhere around 30% of the time and she accepts it, laughs about it even and she celebrates the part that she is getting right.

Today I hear the words of accusation that I'm failing at everything and asking myself to back up a second and remember that just because I'm struggling or all-out failing at something some of the time, does that mean that I am a complete failure? Does that mean that I am "failing at everything".

Today what I really meant was that I'm feeling stressed out and lacked direction for the day. Once Eli and I got started with school and we got caught up for the week and I watched him laugh through his dictation and watched him try to write his spelling words with zero push-back I was doing a happy dance on the inside.  And instead of automatically accepting the fact that I am failing because I'm struggling at keeping up with my son's (cyber) homeschool lessons on just the 2nd week of school I am celebrating the fact that he knew every single one of the sight words in both his basic card pack and the advanced pack. So I'm not doing everything wrong.

I  am not failing.
I am not perfect.
I accept my imperfection
and move on.

How do you practice accepting your imperfections? Lave a comment below or let me know on my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter pages. Want to chat more about perfectionism and embracing your imperfections? Check out my coaching page and request a free 30 minute call.

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