I had a conversation recently that went something like this.
Leslie: “I wish I had talent like that. I’m not creative at all.”
Leslie’s Fabulous Friend: “Are you kidding? Leslie, you’re very creative. Just look at your blog from the past week. Look at all the stuff you’ve made and written.”
Leslie: “Yeah, but I’m not good at any of it.”
Leslie’s Fabulous Friend: “Honey, that doesn’t make you any less creative.”
Her statement really got me thinking.
Since I was a kid, I’ve always put pressure on myself to do things well. Okay, that’s an understatement. I’ve always put pressure on myself to do things perfectly. I’ve had an attitude of, “Nothing is worth doing if you can’t do it right.” Or, more accurately, “Nothing is worth doing if you can’t be the best at it.”
So, I’ve spent a lot of time feeling disappointed in myself. I’ve lost the enjoyment of so many experiences, because I couldn’t just feel good about being there and doing it. All I focused on was the end result. Was I the best? Did I win?
No one is perfect. No one can be the best at everything. These things I know, but it hasn’t stopped me from trying, which I think makes me a little looney.
In some situations, my accept-nothing-less-than-the-best attitude has served me well. It helped me perform well academically. It made me successful at work. But as a mom or a wife? That attitude doesn’t fit and I’ve been struggling to change it.
I wish I could understand why, when I look at myself, I’m so disappointed in my imperfections, but when I look at my family and other people I love, it’s the things that make them different and unique that I love the best.
I look at that sock monkey I made and torture myself over how the left ear is a bit lower than the right, but those cock-eyed ears are one of the things I love most about my cat.
Even after making and selling buckeyes for the past four years, I still worry that they aren’t good enough every time I get an order.
(Oh, and while we’re talking about buckeyes, I got a request to add some white chocolate accents to some of my Valentine treats. Looky-loo!)
I had sold some buckeyes to the staff in my doctor’s office around Christmas a couple years ago. The doctor asked me how I could afford to sell my buckeyes so cheap. I told her that I bought the materials in bulk and that helped with the cost. Then she asked, “But how much do you pay yourself for your labor?” I realized then that I didn’t. When I took how much profit I made and divided it by the hours I put in, I found I was paying myself less than a dollar an hour. Even then, I didn’t raise my prices; I was convinced that people would stop buying them. It wasn’t until my regular customers suggested that I charge more that I actually did.
I’ve realized that sometimes, I don’t treat myself very well. I say mean things to me – things I wouldn’t allow someone else to say to me. Why? Why am I willing to accept in others things I won’t accept in myself?
Does anyone else have this problem?