Why Perfection is Overrated

Have you ever uttered the phrase, “I’ll be happy when…”? Have you felt discouraged when looking at all of the cute home decorating pins on Pinterest, while you struggle to just keep your house dusted and your floors clean?

We live in society that is so judgmental. You need to look like this to be pretty. You need to wear that to be popular. You have to decorate your house this way to impress your guests. I am 40 (something), yet I still feel like I am in high school. I will never be an “it” girl, and quite frankly, I am thankful. I have spent enough years trying to be something I’m not, in an attempt to be accepted by people who will never give me the time of day. Even articles about how to be this or that in 10 easy steps make many women feel inadequate. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Who cares if you don’t have time to fully decorate your house for every holiday? Celebrate the holiday how YOU want to celebrate it, not how some magazine says you should. There is no way that I would ever think of making turkeys out of cupcakes, cookies, and candies. It’s not my style, and would only stress me out. I’d rather focus on the meal, and the guests at the table. Last Christmas, I didn’t get around to putting any ornaments on our tree. If it wasn’t a prelit tree, it probably wouldn’t have gotten any lights, either.

Who cares if every meal is not presented a la Martha Stewart? When my kids were young, we just tried to get a hot meal into them without tears, spilled milk, or something breaking. Feed your kids a variety of foods, and they’ll be happy. It doesn’t matter what brands you use, or where you shop. The important thing is sitting down together as much as possible to eat as a family. The conversations around the table are so much better when we are not stressed out about everything being perfect. It is totally acceptable to use paper towels as napkins at our house!

Who cares if you do not look like a supermodel? I have spent many years hating my body. Has that made me look any better? Nope. My self image issues have been noted by my daughters. It makes me sad that they have some of the same insecurities that I have, because that is what was modeled to them as they were growing up. Am I happier when I’m thinner? Yes and no. Being thin didn’t make me happy because I was thin. I was happy because certain body parts didn’t hurt as much, and I was able to do things that I couldn’t while heavy. After a couple of knee and foot injuries, I am no longer thin…but I’m not beating myself up over it anymore. I am working to reduce my weight, but not because I think that is the key to happiness. I know I need to do it for my long term health. Being healthy is important. Being skinny is not.

Who cares if you are a stay at home mom, or have a job outside the home? Every person’s career choice is based on their personal situation. Yes, there are times we are forced to make a decision based on factors outside our control, but it is still based on your situation.  The whys of your choices should not matter to anyone else. Our value isn’t determined by how much money we make a month. What should be valued is making a difference in the lives of other people. If that means staying home, great. If that means working outside the home, great. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you “should” be doing…unless it’s your boss.

Who cares if you are married, or if you have children? Having a child is not the end all be all of life. There are plenty of couples out there who are unable to have children, as well as those who choose not to have children. There are a thousand reasons why that may be, and to be frank, it’s none of our business. Same goes with those who are single. It really isn’t our business as to why someone is single. Some like it that way. Others would like a relationship, but haven’t found the right one yet. That doesn’t mean we should treat them any differently than anyone else.

Who cares if you don’t meet societies standards of the perfect farm wife or farmer. I may do many things on our farm, but I draw the line at things I consider yucky. I get reallly squeamish when it comes to spiders, mice, and snakes. If I see any rodents, I am outta there faster than you can say, “but they are more scared of you than you are of them.” Not possible! I admire women who drive grain trucks, who can back a trailer straight, and are not afraid to jump in a grain cart and just go. Admiring them for their abilities does not mean I think less of myself. I know my limitations, and I know what makes for a good working relationship with my husband. The role I have on our farm is one that Jonathan and I have worked out between the two of us. I don’t make perfect field meals, I don’t plan ahead enough to make freezer meals, and sometimes we’re lucky if we eat supper by 10:00 pm. You don’t have to be a man to be a farmer! The number of female farmers is increasing every year. If farming is what you want to do, do it!

Perfection is so overrated. We spend so much time chasing it that we forget to be happy with who we are, where we are right now. We are humans – crazy, flawed humans. We will never fit into the airbrushed molds of perfection. Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your crazy flawed life. Then, you will be happy.


Author: Carolyn Olson

I grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis, MN. In 1988, I married my best friend, and moved to the farm. Jonathan and I have three daughters, and will soon have a son-in-law! I love life on the farm, and wouldn't trade it for anything!

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