Updated: Mar 2, 2021
I've discovered lately that I'm moody. I had told myself it was likely due to things like hormone balance, sleep, or more prominent as of late, too many people in the house (crowding my space). All the above may very well be true at various times, causing me to be a bit more intolerant and/or impatient. However, I've also become aware of another variable that seems to affect my mood significantly - perfection. I realized I spend far too much time chasing and trying to grasp perfection. (The thing about trying to "grasp" perfection is that it's a bit like trying to hold a cloud in your hands - you can't). What happens for me is that when my 'perfect' is 'messed up' I get dys-regulated. In other words, it can rattle me or I can feel intensely frustrated. Because I live a normal life with a husband and two kids, there is a lot of opportunity for my 'perfect' to get messed up. The house stays clean for a few minutes, plans change, someone gets sick, someone spills something, a new shirt gets a stain... and on it goes. It's just life.
One of the most obvious ways I try to chase perfection is by having a perfectly tidy house at all times (the kind of house that looks staged) - until of course, someone comes home. In my 'perfect' world - my car is clean, my purse is clean, the walls in my house that are trimmed in white are sparkling white with no chips of paint coming off ... you get the gist. Trying to have my world in perfect order is exhausting, unrealistic and stifling. Life is not meant to be perfect, nor are human beings. Life is meant to be mixed with ups, downs, joy, grief or in kids terms - finger painting (and spilling the paint), eating pasta (and getting the sauce on the floor) or getting mud on the perfectly clean carpet. All of these examples are about living life, having adventures and trying new things.
I'm coming to believe that perfection is in the eye of the beholder. So, if I choose to think that perfect can only exist if I have a sparkling clean house at all times (and make my husband and everyone else miserable trying to keep it this way) then I will continue to have significant mood swings because my ideals will constantly be challenged. However, if I choose to believe that perfection is more about acceptance of what is and embracing the perfection in things AS THEY ARE then I will have peace of mind and a much softer demeanor. This is, of course, easier said than done - but with practice and new self-talk this kind of thinking can and does get better. Perfection is an illusion and fleeting.... and ultimately disappointing. Slow and steady - radical acceptance and appreciation for imperfection is a much gentler path.