Relinquish the need to be perfect. Effort is perfection.
Imagine a roomful of babies all trying to perfect the skill of walking. What we witness is a lot of bumping into things and falling down. We don’t expect babies to get it right immediately—we don’t scold them for failing in their attempts. No. Instead, we’re warmly amused by the sight. So why are we hard on ourselves and each other for not getting it right? Babies need practice. So do we.
This is what I explained to Lorena, 24, who has a tendency to judge herself for being imperfect. She has judged herself for things like making mistakes on her new job, not following her diet faithfully, and for getting less than an A in her classes at college.
I gave her some strange advice: “If you get a C, regard it as a victory.”
Confusion was written all over her face.
“I say that because for you, an A is intimately connected to self-acceptance. It will mean progress for you when you feel self-acceptance no matter what—even when you’re less than perfect.”
Not long ago, Lorena gave me an update on her progress. She had written a report for school and instead of obsessively perfecting it “I told myself it was good enough.” For Lorena, that’s progress.