I’ve identified four resolutions, none of which brush greatness or excellence or even, if ranked on one of those 1-out-of-5 scales, “somewhat better than expected”-ness.
And here they are:
- leave well enough alone: this has to do with parenting, about which I will not say more except that it could probably be shortened to leave them alone.
- endeavor to be close enough to OK most of the time: this is the title track and the track that leads me away from striving toward perfection in all I do and say. The track that makes me despair when small things go awry, the track with the swamp into which I wallow. This one could be shortened to: stop trying to be so perfect.
- embrace criticism: This came to me yesterday. I know I am touchy about criticism. I either receive it and apologize (I’m sorry I let you down) or receive it with anger (how dare you judge me when you’re so…) Neither reaction has a good outcome. Both make the criticizer think less of me: she’s so insecure, you can’t tell her anything or she’s so arrogant (the coat insecurity wears, fooling few), she never makes herself accountable for her errors.
- embrace failure: I know in theory that when we fail, we learn and get better at whatever it is we’ve failed at. Clear-eyed, we say “we failed because..” and “we won’t do it that way again, next time.” I say “in theory” and switched to the first-person plural because my way is more along the lines of: I failed therefore I am never going to try that again. Staying at failure, stopping at failure, remaining forever and always a failure at that thing, whatever it is.
It occurs to me if I can get these four less-ambitious (or maybe more ambitious, we shall see) things right then “greatness” will be more possible.
Or maybe I won’t need greatness after all.