One day my friend Amber tried to trim her son’s bangs. Things got a little uneven so she tried again. And again. Then again.
Girlfriend didn’t know when to quit.
Every time I see this picture I laugh for at least 3 hours.
A few days ago I needed to cut Poppy’s bangs. The twist and cut is a bold faced lie and her fluffy red hair plopped down weird and uneven.
I started to trim the uneven parts, but stopped. “Know when to quit, unlike Amber” was my mantra. I put down the scissors and reluctantly walked away.
This is rare for me. One time I googled how to make a perfect bow to wrap the perfect gift. There was a small flaw with the tape on the back which created a cascade of over corrections that led to the most ridiculous looking gift ever wrapped. I sent a picture to my friend Susannah.
“You never did know when to quit,” she said. Few words describe me (and Amber) so bluntly and accurately than those.
A lot of people declare their perfectionism as if it’s a badge of honor – a show of excellence. I know this, because I am one.
But if you peel back the layers, it simply means we set up unrealistic expectations that give us anxiety, that when unreached leave us feeling down or worthless or depressed or all three.
Then we set up a new set of crazy expectations and live this crap cycle until infinity.
The truth is, we look at our culture and think perfectionism is the only path to success or acceptance, but what the world is actually craving is authenticity. Truth. Realness. The most viral videos of all time are blurry or a woman laughing with a mask on in her car. Our favorite desserts are usually something our mom used to make that includes a box of Duncan Hines. Our most liked selfies are without makeup. Have you ever read the mega best seller “50 Shades of Grey”? It’s written so badly I could cry! (Ok, I don’t know if that book is a good example of true or real, but it got middle aged women all revved up so that counts for a lot, I guess.)
When you aren’t striving to impress people, only striving to do your best, you know inherently what’s good and quit when you’re supposed to. Simple. That’s the stuff that changes the world.
So – did you do your best? Good, hit send. Did you do your best? Good, put it in the mail. Did you do your best? Good. Start the show, wear the gown, hit publish, put down the scissors, get out the door and start living.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself (and your kids bangs) is knowing when to quit.
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