Perfection is Overrated.

Creator: NY – http://nyphotographic.com/ CC BY-SA 3.0

I was in a friendly conversation with another mom the other day. We were volunteering in our kids’ class, putting up a bulletin board outside the classroom. There was lots of measuring, cutting of big-paper and stapling going on.

I was telling her, that our crooked cutting and stapling looked “good enough” and whatever we flubbed up, it would be covered by the kid’s artwork! We were joking freely about her being a “type-A” person. She was grappling with my estimation of which mistakes were acceptable and still considered “good.”

“Well, I am a type-C,” I said. “That’s why I never get anything done.” We laughed and continued to put up the bulletin board for the kids’ classroom.

It did get done, and in good fashion… it looked perfect. No mess ups, and no disasters.
I have to wonder, is looking for perfection helping you? I looked up the actual definitions of the types (READ: I am a librarian, so that is just the nerdy-type thing that I do), and here’s how the American Psychological Association (APA) defines it:

Type A behavior pattern A complex pattern of behaviors and emotions that includes excessive emphasis on competition, aggression, impatience, and hostility; hostility increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Type B behavior pattern As compared to Type A behavior pattern, a less competitive, less aggressive, less hostile pattern of behavior and emotion.

Type C (or D) behavior pattern A constellation of behaviors that may predict which individuals are more likely to develop cancer or to have their cancer progress quickly; these behaviors include passive acceptance and self-sacrifice [worried, irritable, and express a great deal of negative emotions.]

Okay, so I am decidedly NOT a type C- I am WAY too positive for that. But if you are a type-C, this information leads me to think you should give that s**t up! Stop playing like a martyr, and just relax! I also am NOT type A. No hostility here. And if I was, I would start to chill that bit out, so I don’t just stop the heart from beating. That is key for living well , I think.

Other characteristics as we know them for Type A or B, are:

Type A:  hard-driving, competitive, and try to overachieve; focused on competing and attaining measurable goals.

Type B: laid-back, never rush, and tend to take things easy; more about living in the moment.

If you have been told that you are type-A, does that make you more type-A?

I remember reading that parents should never tell kids that they are “shy.” This makes them self-identify as “shy” and dismisses anti-social behavior as acceptable in a way. In the same vein, I have heard my friends call themselves “type-A” so often, and harmlessly say, “I just feel better when things are done right.”

Yes. We all do.

Even us, “type-B” people. We also like things done correctly. Not perfectly maybe, but done correctly.  I guess I just let myself, and others, off the hook. If it’s not perfect, it is still good. With all things. Steak not cooked perfectly: still good. Wall not painted perfectly: atleast I did it.  Kids didn’t clean their rooms the way I would have: they are learning. Marathon not a PR: at least I ran it.

I am someone who has stepped into type-A shoes before with horrible results. I became unhappily focused on details that in the bigger picture did not matter. I was unable to “roll with the punches” and it became harder for me to work with, be friends with, and generally be happy with other people. My tendency became to control things and everything around me had to be “just so” or else my day or moment was ruined.

I know and love many type-A-ers. I just want to tell you all a few things about perfection:

  1. That I am not lazy. I like things to be “done right.” Like you, I also appreciate order. The way we go about it, though, may look very different.
  2. To this end, I want my kids to see flexibility. To see options, when things don’t go according to plan. To see the good, without needing perfection. Yes, “strive to the highest my children”, but enjoy and appreciate all the bumps along the way, because they may lead to some very interesting and good places. Have a plan B. Always.
  3. I worry that you, as  “type-A” people will be unhappy. That is my nature. I want people to be happy…with me mostly, but happy in general, is really what I want. Perfection means you can’t be satisfied or happy with the imperfect. With real, authentic, unpredictable life.

No matter where you fit along the spectrum of type-A or type-B, (because there is a spectrum. You can be somewhere in between these two “types”) is that everyone has this intrinsic nature. Type-A-ers, you feel more comfortable with order all the time. I get it. I love you for it.

I just hope you have that same love for us: the yin to your yang…the “type-B”-ers. And maybe there is a happiest place, in the middle somewhere.

Food for thought.


Linking with Thinking Out Loud, Friday Five, Weekly Wrap

HAG Finds & Favorites for Friday!

This week’s finds are over the top- Check them out:

What I Made (Food):

Golden Seafood Chowder from Taste of Home. Simple ingredients and NO can-of-weirdness soups in order to make soup- I hate that. Isn’t that weird to need soup to make soup? This has some dairy that I lighten up by using low-fat versions. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I love this soup- though my picky eaters didn’t, so they get the grilled cheese if they won’t eat it! This has become a soup staple for me.

My Iced Mocha  (fast & healthy version!) afternoon-fix. Oh boy. these are clearly becoming a habit and I love them almost as much as my husband now.

iced mocha healthy and fast

Tacos, the easiest family dinner (aside from Spaghetti and meatballs). Except I ate it over salad, and everyone else did what they do: Two are normal taco people, and 1 only eats just the shell, and the other two, (because they have to do everything the same as the other) eat the shell filled with rice only. this is my family people. We are crazy [eaters].

What I didn’t make, but am slightly obsessed with(Food):

How to Make Homemade Protein Powder at Teaspoon of Spice – Can we just say “Sneaky Chef”?! This could make my picky-eater-kid grow finally, not to mention give me some muscles. It has 3 ingredients that I can buy in a normal grocery store, and NO sweeteners, so that I can add my own. Plus it’s uber-cheap. I am in.

TED Talks/You Tube/Videos I watched:

Now, this is a video I do NOT recommend. Unless you are a child. And if you want to see your children laugh at something that makes NO sense at all, and isn’t really that funny, but they are still watching it over and over, and laughing so hard they cry… then maybe watch it:

See? I don’t get it. But I watched it. Ugh.

Books Reading:

Well! I finished the Marriage Plot, and The Woman Who Stole My Life– both excellent- you can see my quickie review on GoodReads.

I am currently doing the audio-book for the sequel to Me Before You, by JoJo Moyes. This one is aptly titled, Me After You. Duh. So far, I am 1 disk in and stopped crying only for one minute. It is not for the weak, people. You need to be prepared to cry and drive at the same time…tricky, but so far, I am enjoying it.


I am also reading, and reviewing (coming soon here!) the second Romance novel of my reading life, called Because of Miss Bridgerton, by Julia Quinn. She manages to be smart, incredibly funny, and mildly (not porno-style) romantic. I am leaving the review for later, but stay tuned, or read the first one, which I reviewed here before, called The Duke and I:

I am participating in Book Riot’s Book Challenge this year.

This is really a fun way to change up what you normally might choose to read and also give you some direction on what to read next. So far, my abnormal read picks, have yet to be read, but they have a whole list (get a pdf here) of books types like Read an author from Southeast Asia, Read a food memoir, read a play….so you can pick whatever book you want that fits into the criteria- so there is freedom, but a little direction, and even if you are a book snob, you can expand your horizons! I am loving the challenge of it. Plus it is yet another way to motivate me to read more this year- always a good thing!

Shows watching:

See my post last week… Still watching…and onto Ray Donovan on Showtime. Oh Liev Schrieber…be still my heart.

image via: Wikimedia Commons

Buying:

  1. Groceries. It isn’t all fun and games, my friends!
  2. Birthday presents for kids. Here are some of the requests, and some things that I just like!
    Follow Hardly a Goddess’s board Kid Gifts: Birthday Ideas on Pinterest.

That is it!

This was fun! Sharing is good! Did you like this read? Then share it below or give me your comments and have a great weekend!