I’m learning that perfectionism not only limits my options, it limits the options of others.
I’ve always been a serial friend.
By that, I mean I have very few friendships that lave lasted more than a few years. Partly that comes from moving so much: I left home for college at age 17 and never really went back. We went on to live in three more states. Even as I write this, we are contemplating where our “next state” might be.
I’ve also changed my “groups” a lot. First there were school friends. Then there were work friends. Parent friends. Now artist friends.
I have many online friends–people I’ve met in discussion forums and through blogging, many of whom I’ve never even met in person.
I have riding friends, martial arts friends, knitting/yoga/climbing friends. I’m sure I will now have hospice friends, too.
One reason I make friends so easily is, I am open to it. An old school chum said, “You have made more friends since I’ve known you than I’ve even met!!” I must have looked chagrined, because she added quickly, “No, that’s a good thing! I don’t made friends easily. I envy you.”
But that means I’ve also lost a lot of friendships.
It’s impossible to have deep friendships with everyone you meet and like, of course. Not all friendships can pass the test of time, distance or changes in circumstance. If you want to discover who your true friends are, see who hangs around after you or your spouse is laid off. You will be dismayed. And astonished.
But I still regret the loss of some of my more profound friendships over the years.
I’m thinking maybe…actually, I know…I lost them to perfectionism.
Because here’s another drawback in perfectionism:
When you expect it in yourself, you will demand it from others.
And that, as we all know, is totally, hopelessly, humanly, impossible.
I like to think I have been a good friend. But I’ve always suspected I could have been a better one.
Looking back, I can see that sometimes the best friendships were short-lived for good reasons. I love this little essay by Brian Andrew “Drew” Chalker, “A REASON, A SEASON, A LIFETIME”.
But I know sometimes–many times–I simply asked too much of people. More than they were willing, perhaps even capable, of giving. And that has served neither of us well.
So now I strive for a little less perfectionism.
I hope I can do that really, really well.
I’m hoping, if I can learn to forgive myself for not being perfect–if I can learn not to expect it from others–I will truly be a better friend.
And wife. And mother. And artist/writer/climber/rider/owner of silly pets.