The trouble with perfection ...

My dad used to tell me something when I was growing up.  He would say that I could be whatever I wanted to be when I grew up - and I would be the *best*.  I seriously considered studying music, so my dad encouraged me to go to Juilliard, and be the best singer there.  I wanted to study stage theater?  Go to the best school and be the best.  I wanted to be a teacher?  Be the best teacher out there and specialize in really important things that make a teacher the best.  My dad believed in me, and believed that I could do and be the best.

Unfortunately, I have ruined the sweet concept with my type-A personality.  I'm already prone to a severe need to please with perfection.  The older I got, the worse I felt.  What if I can't be the best?  What if there is someone out there who is better than me?  Where does that leave me?  It leaves me "not good enough".  Does that mean I'm "not good enough" to be loved?

Now, I understand that this logic is SERIOUSLY flawed, but it was still the logic that ran my inner voice for an upteenth number of years.  Even now, after the PPD induced therapy, I still catch myself with that flawed-logic running my thoughts. 

This logic may be why I have a tendency to choose hobbies that 1. I am good at and 2.Other people don't do (aka, haven't tried).  I can be the best when no one else is even trying the same thing.  I can be amazing at certain crafts when no one else does them, which makes me enjoy them even more.  

Isn't it so sad, this scarcity mentality?  There is enough talent in the world for MANY people to share each talent around.  Why do I feel that when someone else has the same talent, I have to either be better, or bow out?  Why can't I just edit my inner-dialogue to tell me "Be the best - that YOU can be"?

Today, I feel like bowing-out: quitting something that I love.  Why?  Because I'll never be the best - not by a long shot.  I'm not even the best in my circle.  There are MANY people around me who are better at this thing than I am.  My family thinks there's people that are better than me (and it's completely true).  People talk to me about this talent, and tell me about people who are good at it, and I feel panic - "who will I be, since I'm obviously not good enough to use this talent as part of my self-definition?!"  

I want to quit.  I won't, because the non-warped-logic side of me knows that without this "talent" in my life, I will wither up ... it's such a piece of me and my heart.  I just wish that I didn't see myself as so far behind the real talent.  This "talent" was my dream.  (and after today's "not-good-enough-to-bother-everyone-with-my-trying psychosis, it will probably still be my dream.)  Well, the blatant and obvious truth is: I'm not the best.  I can't even pretend to be near the best.  I'm average.  Completely grade C average.  Normal.  Just another person who happens to enjoy this talent. Not the best by any definition. 

What is so wrong with being average?  Why not just enjoy it, and stop worrying about "the best", and just work on enjoying what I love ... 


taffi said...

Miss Sunny, I don't know which of your many amazing talents you're feeling bad about, but I want you to know that I think you're fabulous at everything you try. Besides... everyone starts out 'average'... only the best are willing to keep trying and get better! :smooches:

Misty said...

I'm married to someone like your dad and I understand the frustration. I feel very average at my talents too. I'm certainly not the best, but I love them so I don't stop. So don't you stop, either! You're fab!