March 26, 2011

The Power in my Mistakes

Perhaps you have heard this cock-eyed version of a common saying:   "Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly." 

Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Paralysis are three banes of  dysfunctional living.   Let me remember that I cannot expect to make progress toward any goal, by being unwilling to do the work badly. 

I keep hearing a certain broken record from my dysfunctional parent, where she keeps replaying stories about my past mistakes. She acts as if even the minor ones are sins. Honestly, she seems to believe her job is to hold my feet to an imaginary fire in hell!   In her mind, it is like I am not entitled to make forward progress, and LIVE, until I get my past corrected.

Oddly, my nada's (parent) obsession is helping me recognize me OWN  tendency to spend my life waiting for the past to change, before I can do anything to improve in the present.  Taking her terrible advice, I'd deny myself happiness, trying to get all the kinks ironed out of my history. That is called procrastination I think. Even dreams can collude and hold me back, enticing me to fix past mistakes. Like the troubling dream I had this week.     

It is practice that produces progress and practice is the perfect opportunity to learn from our mistakes.  

My DH and I were chatting with a receptionist who once worked for a well-respected attorney in my area. She shared something her boss had told her that helped her to be less obsessed about mistakes and enjoy her work more:  " If you are not making mistakes, you're not doing your job." 

When I avoid making mistakes, I deny myself the only time I have to live in the present, and enjoy the time of my life.

Life is not a command performance, but a continuing series of experiments.   I learn about living, by doing.   "The only task I cannot pretend to perform perfectly is the one I have left entirely undone." 

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." James Joyce

(This share was inspired by March 26th's reading in CTC; quotes in the body of my share are taken from that reading.)


  1. I truly relate to those traits of dysfunction. By wanting to be perfect I would not get started on something--out of fear.

  2. Yes, fear is perhaps the underlying emotion that drives procrastination, I think.


I welcome your thoughts. Keep me honest~