Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
My kids and I like to listen to audio books in the car…whether we are on a long road trip or just going across town. Right now, we are working our way through the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. We just love Ramona! She has such a spunky spirit, and the scrapes that she gets in are so funny…even to me, who hasn’t read these books since I was a third grader, about 30 years ago.
A few days ago, we heard about Ramona’s 10th birthday party in the book Ramona’s World (affiliate link). Ramona has been looking forward to her birthday for a while, and has planned a fun party at the park. The only snag in her plan is that Ramona’s mother forced her into inviting her nemesis Susan, a prissy and popular girl from her class.
Susan threatens to ruin the party by refusing to eat any birthday cake because she is afraid that Ramona may have spit on it when she blew out the candles. Some of the girls start to follow Susan’s example, which makes Ramona hiss at Susan, “What’s wrong with you? Everybody eats birthday cake!”
Susan, a little shocked, abruptly starts to cry. She says, “It’s so hard always having to be perfect all the time.”
Look at that. A 9 year-old girl, already thinking she has to act perfect all the time, and she’s exhausted.
What’s a Perfect Life Anyway?
How many of us are going through life like Susan, trying so hard to look perfect, act perfect, BE perfect? In this modern world of Pinterest and Facebook, where anyone can compare oneself to very talented mothers practically around the clock, it’s no wonder many of us end up trying harder, just to keep up with some idea of what a perfect mother should be.
I’m guilty of this too. And frankly, I’m just so tired. Tired of never measuring up, tired of never getting it all done, tired of never hitting my goals.
Luckily, two very brave and wise authors have written a book just for those of us who can’t ever reach perfection. The book The Cure for the “Perfect” Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver written by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory has been one of my most favorite books this summer.
Moms, I have to be honest…this book was like a long talk with a old friend, who was lovingly pointing out how what I had always believed was all wrong, and I didn’t need to stay in a prison of my own making anymore. Honestly, it was such a relief!
Kathi and Cheri talk about how the four “P Bullies” are making us all crazy:
- Perfectionism: trying to always look perfect and do everything perfectly, all the while criticizing yourself and others for not reaching this standard
- People-Pleasing: putting others’ feelings above your needs, doing whatever it takes to avoid conflict and have people like you
- Performancism: thinking that you have to “do it all” at the expense of your relationships and/or health
- Procrastination: putting off hard or boring tasks because you might be worried about the process of getting those tasks accomplished.
Does any of this sound familiar? It sure did for me!
As Kathi and Cheri guide you through the process of figuring out how you are trying to live a perfect life, you fill find many short quizzes that will help pinpoint the issues that are specific to you. I was amazed at how accurate the results were! Of course, that made it so personal to my situation and helped me a great deal.
Do you have a perfect life now?
Ha. Far from it. In fact, I was supposed to write this post last week, but I had procrastinated until the last minute and knew I couldn’t do a good job, so I put aside my people-pleasing tendencies and asked for a few more days (which Cheri graciously provided!).
But now that I’ve been through the book, I can see where my thinking had made a wrong turn and can work to get it back on track. I do know one thing, however. Although living a braver life is a process, the freedom that you receive when you realize that perfectionism isn’t getting you anywhere is an immediate and lovely feeling. Like a weight off your chest.
So, if you have found yourself tired from all the to-do lists, last-minute projects, and volunteer work that you never really wanted to do (in addition to that nagging voice from inside that you are not good enough), I promise that you will find great relief from these wonderful and wise women.
Bonus time–You can read the introduction and first chapter of The Cure for the Perfect Life for free…head over now to get started!