Progress, Not Perfection

Yesterday’s post was about practice, and we all know:  

Practice Makes _________

Go ahead, say it:  “Practice Makes Perfect.”

And we alllllll know the very idea of “perfect” is utter bullshit.  But we make ourselves crazy with the pursuit of perfection anyway.  (I’m looking at you, Pinterest.)

So I’ve been trying to think of a new slogan.  Which do you prefer?

  1. Practice Makes Incremental Changes That Will Lead You Toward Your Better Self  (that’s never going to fit on a tshirt–maybe a beach towel)
  2. Practice Makes You a Little Less Awful at That (nope, too negative)
  3. Practice Makes Progress

My perfect life is still buffering…

That’s IT!  Practice makes progress.  My therapist is always saying “Progress, not perfection.”  Chasing progress is a healthy thing; chasing perfection will make you crazy as a betsy bug.  I was going to say “crazy as a shithouse rat” but I am working on my potty mouth and how’s THAT for progress?  Practicing what I’m preaching.

Here’s a funny example of how years of practice can pay off in emotional progress.  Just the other morning, I woke from a dream of Fartbuster.  Now, back in the days of our divorce, I would dream of Fartbuster and inevitably, he would cheat on me in my dream and I would experience feelings of panic and betrayal and confusion.  I would wake with a dark cloud of emotional pain hanging over me and it would stick with me for the day.  Not only had I been dumb enough to fall for his shit…stuff…in real life, but now I was falling for it again in my dreams!  Bad me, bad me, bad me.  I deserved to feel bad.  What was it George W. Bush said?  “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice…uh…won’t get fooled again.”

Cut forward through 12 years of therapy, a lot of internal work, some rebuilding and the love of a couple of good men.

So the other night I dreamed about Fartbuster.  We were married and I discovered signs that he was cheating.  Oh, OK, to tell the truth because it was just a dream and it was really funny–the sign was that he was lying in bed next to me and he had athletic tape wrapped around his butt cheeks.  That white kind you use to tape up a twisted ankle?  So I said, “What is THAT?” and he goes, “Oh, that’s for a scene I’m filming.”   Ah.  Aha.  Ahem.

Now, in the dream, what did I do?  Did I rend my sackcloth and coat my hair with ashes?  Did I cry and scream and give him five across the eyes?  Did I roll down the staircase or wail, “Where shall I go?  What shall I do?”

Nope.  I got out of the bed, gathered my things and said, “Yep, that’s just the way he is.  Buh-bye.”  Woke up laughing.

I’ve practiced the Fartbuster scenario a LOT.  Finally, my real life skills are leaking into my dreams, I guess.  Even in my sleep, I’m getting better at saying, “That wasn’t about me.  Better let it go.”  PRACTICE.

Practice doesn’t make perfect.  Nothing makes perfect.  What could perfect be in that scenario…not ever having the dream?  Maybe.  But then I wouldn’t have woken with that laugh.  Athletic tape on his hairy ass–that’s going to smart coming off.  

David Beckham in kinesio tape

Hold up. I may have to rethink my disdain for athletic tape…

What’s your definition of progress?  

5 thoughts on “Progress, Not Perfection

  1. Michelle

    HIP HIP HOORAY! Practice does make progress. For me it’s not making the same mistake 4 times … notice I didn’t say twice, because, I’m a risk taker 🙂


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