Learning not to be perfect

We live in a world where from a young age we are critiqued. From kindergarten on we get grades that tell us how close, or far away, we are from perfection. To be perfect is the goal for which we are encouraged to strive. In all different areas of life we are judged by how far from perfection we find ourselves. When we fall from being perfect, we often struggle with feelings of low self worth or we end up being anxious for fear of making a mistake.

As a young girl I remember going to church and filling out the boxes on the offering envelope. You had to mark what you had done that week… had you prayed daily, read scripture… It was another place to be measured against perfection.

I struggled and continue to struggle with not being perfect. Daily I am reminded to have grace not just for others, but for myself. It is the moments when we realize we are not perfect; we are able to fully embrace our being. I tell others this daily, yet I struggle to apply it to my own life.

I was nervous to start blogging for ABP. What would people say about what I was writing? Would I be accepted, more like would I be judged? Wouldn’t you know the first blog I posted contained not one, but two typos! A misplaced comma from editing and I used the word dessert instead of desert… now as much as I think the Israelites would have preferred wondering in the dessert for 40 years, it is not the way it happened.

As I realized my imperfections were plastered for others to see, my first reaction was to run and hide. I then slowly realized my imperfections are part of me. As a counselor I daily tell others to accept themselves for who they are and to love all parts of their being. I say this, yet I struggle to do it on my own. I freely give grace to ones around me who fall short of perfection, yet I struggle to show myself the same grace.  Throughout scripture we are told about grace that is freely offered. We discuss it and share it with others, yet for some reason we find judgment and the striving for perfection abundant.

I realized my two typos were a perfect way to start blogging about spirituality and mental health.  Mental health is about being open, genuine, and vulnerable. My imperfections, our imperfections, force us to a vulnerability that is often scary and uncomfortable. Even though I cringed at my typos, those little mistakes forced me to a place of vulnerability that is essential in writing about the crossroads of mental health and spirituality. As much as mental health is about vulnerability, spirituality is about grace. Vulnerability and grace are both needed in a life of mental well-being.

Amy Grosso

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About the Author
Amy Grosso is a graduate of Truett Seminary and has a PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She lives in Georgetown, TX, and is a consultant for CareNet Counseling of North Carolina.

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