Pitner Ortho January 2018

THE STRAIGHT UP

January 2018

it was an assignment for school or an interaction in my personal life, if I couldn’t act perfectly every time, how would I do anything worthwhile? As I now know, trying to be perfect is utterly impossible. It’s the source of endless unhappiness. We are not meant to be perfect automatons who never mess up. People are born to make mistakes! If we never made mistakes, we would never learn, grow, or challenge ourselves to be better. My long quest to overcome perfectionism benefited greatly from reading Dr. Kristin Neff’s “Self-Compassion” and Dr. Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of WhoYou ThinkYou're Supposed to Be and Embrace WhoYou Are.” It’s so helpful to be reminded that no one ever said you have to be perfect. This is a great relief, because sometimes, even I forget pursuing perfection leads nowhere. myself responsible for another living thing activated the perfection impulse in my brain. It demanded I get him the best food, find the best groomer, buy the best dog bed, and never do anything that could cause this fluffy animal any suffering. The worry was overwhelming, and it completely overshadowed why I wanted to get Buster in the first place. I spun off into orbit because I felt like I had to be the “perfect puppy parent.” My need to be perfect came up again last October when I got my dog, Buster. Finding

Luckily, I came down from my perfection craze quickly when I remembered having a dog is supposed to be fun. My husband and I brought Buster into our house because dogs are awesome and they make people happy — and also because he is

PICTURE IMPERFECT Let’s Celebrate Making Mistakes in 2018

erfectionism is self-destructive simply because there is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is an unattainable goal.”

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“WE ARE NOT MEANT TO BE PERFECT AUTOMATONS WHO NEVER MESS UP. PEOPLE ARE BORN TO MAKE MISTAKES!”

–Brené Brown, “The Gifts of Imperfection”

I am a recovering perfectionist. In the past, I had an unreasonable inner need to be flawless in all things. I never felt good enough and would get terribly upset if I messed anything up. Whether

scientifically the cutest dog ever. Neither Buster nor my husband would be very happy if I was stressed out all the time in a fruitless attempt to be perfect. Wow, if just taking care of a dog is enough to make me worry like this, I have to applaud parents who are able to raise their children without worrying they will mess up every day! Tell me, what’s your secret? Inspired by my brief backslide into attempted perfection, my goal for 2018 is to be imperfect. Since I’m really good at being imperfect, I’m happy to report I already succeeded on day one. Of course, the year’s still young, and there is the chance something will happen that will send me into a perfection spiral again. And that’s okay! It will be another mistake I can grow from. Being human is about doing your best, and in the end, no one can say your best isn’t good enough.

–Dr. Leslie Pitner

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