I’m not proud of this but I’m going to tell you about it anyway in case you can learn from my mistakes.
Deep breath… I am, by nature, a fault finder with my kids. There. I said it.
If I don’t intentionally let things go, they will hear about every job they haven’t done or haven’t done right.
It’s an issue, so, being a praying kind of a girl, I ask for help. But I’m not asking for parenting help. My hyper-correction comes from a mindset that blocks many a good person from having success in all areas of life, not just parenting.
Once I’ve corrected the things that haven’t been done well (or at all), I will check over the things they have done well to see if there is anything that could be done better.
I check their attitudes as if I’m checking for lice. Attitude is everything, right? I have to make a conscious effort to allow an imperfection to pass without comment.
When I’m paying attention, it’s a non-issue. But I don’t always pay attention. Let’s just say it has an ongoing spot on my list of personal faults to pray about.
The Issue is Control.
The mindset that makes me want to correct every last thing my children do is one of control.
Here’s what it actually sounds like in my mind:
If I teach my children to have common sense and to be responsible for themselves, I can save them from the pitfalls in life that swallow up the foolish folks who have a victim mindset.
This is a big, fat lie. The thought process is similar to perfectionism but has one slight difference. Perfectionism says that, if you do it right, you will have value as a person. Control, in this way says that, if you do it right, the outcome will be what you want it to be.
So, if I’m not paying attention, you will find me digging away at everything my kids do to see if it can be made more right.
I’m doing it out of love, of course.
I want the best outcome possible for them. But the result is not very loving. Neither does it make sense. Whether you believe that God controls your life, as I do, or that some random force acts on your life, most people are aware that they do not have their finger on ‘the button’. And, therefore, all the ‘getting it right’ in the world is not going to guarantee my kids’ outcome.
I think, as a culture, we have a mass delusion that we are in control of our lives, despite much and repeated evidence to the contrary.
As a whole, we have adopted the mantra ‘If it’s to be it’s up to me!’ and twisted it, just a tad.
It is true that, if you want something in life, you have to make happen. But we tweak it to include the idea that we get to decide what’s ‘to be’.
We decide how we want our lives to go and think that, as long as we put the work in, everything will happen just as we planned. We also believe that, should our lives take an unexpected turn, if we have done enough right things, the turn will be to somewhere good.
I repeat this crazy, fruitless endeavour because, subconsciously (and now consciously) I believe three lies. They can be believed about any part of our lives and need to be rooted out where ever you find them.
If I do everything right, the outcome will be good.
Seriously, who has made this work? Show me just one example. We all know lovely, wonderful, stellar folks who have the same ups and downs as us mere mortals.
Being hyper aware of all our faults so they can be corrected doesn’t work. They can’t all be corrected so all we’re doing is focusing on faults.
If I practice, learn and try hard enough, I am capable of doing everything right (so that lie #1 can be accomplished).
Again, can we find even one person doing this? There are areas where we, as humans, can get pretty close to perfection. Elvis earned the title of King. But I’m pretty sure he wasn’t capable of doing everything right.
So, no, we can’t get good enough to earn a good outcome every time. Stop trying. Let mistakes go and forgive yourself and others.
Aiming for perfection is ‘right’and anyone who is not focused on getting everything just so is either lazy or doesn’t care about those around him.
Clearly, I have a hard time understanding that other people’s brains work differently than mine. Maybe what I see as laziness is just a different thought process or a lack of practice accomplishing a task that I have mastered.
And, what if their lack of trying to do an excellent job really is due to laziness or self-centredness. Don’t I have areas where I own both of those faults? If my aim is to help my kids get better results, judging them is probably not going to increase my influence with them.
Judging doesn’t improve results. Judging=Decline. And decline sucks.
Personally, I don’t have the quick fix for ditching these lies. I do know that awareness always comes before change.
Maybe, I’ve gently helped you become aware of spots where you have delusions of control that are hurting your ability to relate to others.
Or maybe I’ve just showed you my warts so you can feel like a total superstar, rockin’ the having it together-ness. Or, maybe, just like you’re not the only one who does dumb stuff.
Happy letting go!