One thing that I’m really working hard on drilling into my head is that things don’t always have to be perfect to get done. I’m constantly looking for the perfect or the best way to do things, and as a result I get very upset when I or anyone else realizes my shortcomings. This obsession with perfection and this inability to accept my own flaws has affected every area of my life, from my relationships and friendships to my job and my Buddhist practice.

I’ve been making a lot of interesting realizations in this area since I began the FlyLady website’s daily routines and since I started my Byakuren training. I have a lot of issues that go hand in hand with my perfectionism, and I realize that many times, it will stop me from making any type of headway in an area that troubles me.  Challenging the things that make me who I am, like my habits and tendencies, and putting myself in a position to care for and look after other (like Byakuren), makes me hyper-aware of just how deep some of these beliefs run. 

Therefore (realizing that I may have said this before), I’m trying to teach myself to be more aware of my strengths as well as my weaknesses, and focus on developing my strengths so that I always have something to be proud of, and at the same time, I will always have a direction to grow in.   Most people are far too easy on themselves, but it’s much more difficult to strike a balance when you’re too hard on yourself.  Our society rewards those who strive to develop themselves, who work two or three jobs, who spin plates, who can do and have it all.  This, however, is not a healthy ideal, because it doesn’t show the sacrifice involved in working incessantly, leading a life of “never enough.”

After getting my first job, I quickly learned that I was something of a workaholic.  I craved the sense of achievement and value I felt in being able to point to something that was better because I had been there.  I realized that often, I cared more and tried harder than anyone else.  I still do.  That attitude and enthusiasm has both defined and devastated me, leaving me wondering if somethimes, it wasn’t better to play it close to the vest.

I think that this is why Byakuren drew me in; I have spent my whole adult life serving others, helping behind the scenes, knowing that I was trying harder and more committed than anyone else.  In Byakuren, however, most of the other young women take their commitment and their training just as seriously.  Rather than being cheered by this, I was resentful, feeling as if I wasn’t shining as brightly next to so many stars. 

Now, I’m struggling to understand my own value, doing my best to forge the belief that those other young women are not perfect, and neither am I, and that doesn’t make any of us any less capable.  I have too easy of a time spotting my own flaws and comparing myself to others, and I want to truly believe in my own worth, as it stands and not as it measures up to some imaginary standard.  Obviously, I’m a long way from this; I may never overcome it entirely.  But I am working on a plan to help me see my own beauty and strength.

I encourage everyone to do the same.  Let’s win together!

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