Wind-Back Wednesday ~ Life Doesn't have to be Perfect

Annette Funicello — 'Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.'

REALITY

I read an interesting blog post by Kathy Gottberg the other day that was titled "the truth behind 'you create your own reality'" and it made me stop and think about my First World perceptions of life. In her final paragraph she says:

"What if creating our reality is less about making ourselves feel safe, protected and in control and more about trusting that we can be happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life no matter what occurs? Maybe it’s less to do with making sure everything works perfectly in our favor, to instead seeing everything as it unfolds as already perfect."


RE-DEFINING REALITY

Re-thinking "reality" has been one of the biggest learning curves I've dealt with in midlife. The idea that my reality is different to actual reality was a completely new concept for me to get my head around. My reality was way too perfect and too controlled and needed to be taken down a notch or two - and that was an eye opener.

I had somehow created a world where I expected to live happily ever after, never really touched by pain or hardship or less than perfect families, jobs or friends. It was way past time to do a reality check and realize that what I saw as my entitlement in this life might not be quite so tidily tied with a bow. 


RELEASING CONTROL

True reality is that I need to deal with messy stuff and hurdles - it's not all Brady Bunch and sunshine and rainbows.  Maybe my husband won't turn out to be superman, maybe he'll have flaws or failings but does that mean he's any less worthy of being loved? Maybe our adult children will make choices that we aren't thrilled about, but does that make them wrong choices? Or even if they are wrong, maybe that's their life journey that they need to work through without being rescued as soon as they put a foot out of place.

Perfectionism is a killer - it creates unreal expectations, sets us up for disappointment, and failure, and dissatisfaction. It doesn't allow for human failings and frailties. It holds us in its grasp and slowly strangles the joy and freedom out of our lives. I needed to take Perfectionism by the scruff of the neck and toss it out of my life. I'm replacing it with the word "Enough" because that is all I need and more from life and from the people I love. In fact I think "Enough" is going to be my word for 2017!


TRUE PERFECTION

Life is "perfect" if we choose to look at it that way. Resenting the hiccups that are a part of the big picture doesn't make them go away - it just turns them into bigger bumps. I always thought I wanted a gently sloping road  to travel....smooth under foot and bordered by rolling pastures - but then there would be a lot of adventures that I'd miss along the way. Riding the roller coaster and being in turn scared and exhilarated is what makes life interesting.  It would make me less compassionate (an area I need to continually work on) and life would be less real and probably fairly boring. 

As Christmas approaches again I'm choosing to take it one day at a time. My planning is minimal and my expectations are at the lower end of the scale. I can't control how family events turn out, all I can do is love and appreciate people and let them handle their own lives. I don't want to set up hoops for them to jump through, I don't want to jump through any of those hoops myself - and if Christmas is less than "perfect", I'm sure that it will still be "enough" and it will be a gift to be gratefully received and enjoyed - I intend to be "happy and at peace with the uncertainty of life, no matter what occurs".
Annette Funicello — 'Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful.'


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Windback Wednesday ~ www.crestingthehill.com.au

31 comments

  1. Funny but, yesterday after a difficult family moment, my dearest friend asked "Would it help if you looked at your reality?" She was right. My imperfect reality is perfect- just as you said, in the way you said.

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    1. Mine suffers from over expectation all the time Beth - but I'm working at changing it :)

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  2. I guess I've always been grounded in reality, mine or some uber reality. I think for me, how i frame things that happen and how I work through the bad stuff drives my quality of life.
    Carol

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    1. I completely agree Carol - quality of life is 100% about how you perceive your reality and your response to that perception - I'm getting there slowly but surely.

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  3. I love this, Leanne! It is so true!I so much want to control everything I see about me and, it I let it, it would drive me mad. I love this quote, “[The fact is] most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride."

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    1. I LOVE that quote Diane! It is so true - I don't know where we get these glossy expectations from, but leaving them behind and enjoying the ride (good and bad) is what makes life joyful.

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  4. I've always been the type of person that has to have control over everything. As I grow older I realize just how impossibly stupid that idea is. Accepting the world and our place in it is letting go and trusting that we have the tools to deal with anything that comes our way. I'm working on it daily.

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    1. Me too Rena - older and wiser springs to mind. Maybe we're getting that wisdom and if we actually apply it we could be in for some really pleasant years ahead!

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  5. I feel that we can create our own reality somewhat and then life throws you an unexpected punch. It's all good though. It's all how you react to things.

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    1. It's learning that our reality is through our own eyes and open to adjustment that means we can handle those punches Rebecca - this was a big lesson for me :)

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  6. Oh wow Leanne I just saw that quote somewhere else - on a poster or something - and thought that I should get that for my study wall!

    And yes yes yes... I'm a perfectionist control freak so I struggle to be happy / satisfied (particularly in terms of my goals / achievements) with anything less than perfection. Of course most of my goals are subjective so if I do ever get to where I think I want to be, my instinct is that I SHOULD be further! #teamlovinlife

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    1. I've been reading a bit of Brene Brown lately Deb - she writes very strongly about perfectionism being a bad thing - it is a way we try to deal with fear. She wrote "The Gift of Imperfection" and I can finally see that perfectionism isn't a quality to be proud of and I can let it go (a little bit at a time!)

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  7. This is an important reminder, especially during the holiday season when expectations are often unrealistic. That top quote is, well, perfect!

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    1. I think Christmas brings this out in me in droves Lois so letting go a little and being open to an imperfect season will bring me a lot more joy this year!

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  8. Such a timely post Leanne. Christmas is a time of high stress and expectations. I gave up on trying to create the perfect Christmas and trying please my extended large family many years ago. These days we just like to have our own small family Christmas without all the razzamatazz and ridiculous gift giving. Simple is best! :) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I completely agree Kathy - I think my problem was trying to create a Christmas for my little family that I thought would work - and facing resistance on a lot of fronts. Now I just roll with the flow and hope that everyone was happy and felt loved on the day.

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  9. Fantastic post! Great post to end the year. Love it.
    #TeamLovinLife

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    1. Thanks so much Leanne - I thought it was a good reminder to just sit back and enjoy what comes - without trying to measure it to a standard of perfection (mine or anyone else's)

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    1. Thanks so much - and I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Christmas x

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  11. Nice post! Sometimes we get caught up in our own (or someone else's) unrealistic expectations and only causes unnecessary stress and suffering. What's the point?
    This year has been truly difficult for me and my family, and we've all had to accept that there are times when things are going to be less than perfect. But the important things remain, and that's what we should be thankful for.

    Coming over from the Blogger's Pit Stop

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    1. I'm sorry you've had a tough year Fabiola - unfortunately life serves us up years like that now and then. I hope 2017 is a much better one and I'm so glad you can still see that there is a lot to be thankful for - even when life is less than perfect :)

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  12. Ahhhh Leanne thank you. I needed this reminder to chill the heck out! I am getting myself so stressed about Christmas. Having been away on a cruise and returning home sick with little time left to get Xmas shopping done has me all frazzled. That won't help me get better will it? I have ordered some gifts online today and they will be delivered next week. My hubby is home on holidays so I can send him out to get things. I need to breathe and just take one day at a time! ;-) #TeamLovinLife

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    1. I think we have a mindset that says if we don't do it the way it's always done then it won't be perfect. What we find is that circumstances force us into compromise - and the new way is often less stressful and more rewarding. I hope you are feeling better and brighter in time for Christmas Min x

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  13. I spent years trying to be perfect- the perfect home, the perfect family, the perfect job. It was exhausting. Funny how midlife has made me look at perfection with a new lens. I also have spent the least amount of time ever in trying to make a perfect Christmas this year, and somehow I think it is still going to turn out just fine! Happy holidays to you and your family.

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    1. I'm the same! So much striving and so little to show for it in the end. I'm relaxing more each year and finding that I'm not missing out on anything - in fact I'm probably enjoying things a whole lot more when I let go.

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  14. Life is "perfect" if we choose to look at it that way... #nuffsaid and I cant agree more. Thanks for sharing at the Pit stop! Such a Powerful message. Awesome!

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    1. Perfect is definitely in the eye of the beholder Julie - and when we adjust our focus a little it is so liberating!

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  15. This is the approach I'm going for this year, rather than stressing over a thousand different details I can't control. I'm feeling a lot calmer for it! Thanks so much for sharing over at Friday Frivolity :)

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    1. Me too Jessica - it's really the best way to go isn't it :) I hope you and your family have a joyful Christmas x

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  16. No surprise:) The blogger's Pit Stop is going to feature this post on Friday. Congratulations.

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