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Progress Over Perfection

If you read my first blog post you would know that I am pushing past my fears and doing it afraid. Being vulnerable and not knowing if anyone may ever read my posts or maybe someone may judge me has taken a lot of personal strength.


Let me introduce myself. My name is Malaika and I’m a perfectionist. If I can’t complete something exactly as I see it in my mind, then I either do not try or beat myself up when it isn’t how I want it.


Here’s an example, I taught myself how to do cornrow braids recently so that I could give my 3-year-old daughter cute hairstyles that would last all week. The first time I braided her hair it looked nice but the braids did not look neat. There was frizz even though I tried so hard to make sure the braids were neat. All week long I could not stop looking at her hair and just felt upset that I could not braid her hair neater. Then I tried again the next week and it was a little neater. And the week after that was a tiny bit neater. Each time I tried a new product in her hair to see what would help her braids stay neat. I tried a small amount of product, I tried lathering on the products but still the braids were nice but not neat enough. Ugghh, it was driving me crazy. Why couldn’t I get these braids perfect!


Well, they couldn’t be perfect because I am a beginner and I am still learning. What I was looking for was her braids to look like a professional who has been braiding hair for a living for many years. How unrealistic and unfair was it to think that I could braid perfectly after only learning literally 3 days before braiding her hair. Even after a couple weeks I was really feeling upset that still things were not improving fast enough. I was missing the small improvements chasing perfection. I was missing the lessons and the beauty in trial-and-error. Each time I braided her hair it was getting better. My husband would look at me crazy because he only saw improvement when all I saw was failure.


Why is progress over perfection not good enough? Why do I have no grace for myself but all the grace for everyone else? Progress is still progress not matter how small. I literally could not braid three days before I braided my daughter’s hair for the first time but somehow the fact that I taught myself how to do something I have struggled with did not seem like a big accomplishment.


Do you give yourself grace or are you chasing after the impossible perfection? Do you feel good that you can now do two push ups when last week you could do none? Do you feel proud when you drink one extra cup of water when yesterday you could not drink that amount? Are you amazed when your business sells one product or books one client when yesterday you had no activity?


Progress over perfection, because perfection will always be out of reach. There will always be room for improvement and learning no matter how successful you are. I finally decided to choose progress because that is where my confidence, self-esteem, knowledge and persistence is developed and refined.


Oh, If you are wondering I have improved greatly with braiding my daughters hair and my braids are much neater, last longer and the way I care for her hair before bed has contributed to the outcome I desired. It is most certainly not perfect but it’s progress!

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