If I could have whispered in your ear way back when you were around twelve years old, I’d tell you that you’re perfect just the way you are.
Oh sure, you’re going to learn many things over your lifetime — you’re a work in progress, but you don’t need to be perfect. You don’t have to have the perfect report card, the perfect hairstyle, the perfect figure, or the perfect answer for everyone in every situation. It’s okay to mess up; it’s okay to say “I don’t know.” It’s even okay to say “I made a mistake.”
There’s always an exception, though, and the one time being perfect worked for you was when you tried smoking and couldn’t do it right. You didn’t want the kids to laugh at you, but you never smoked again, and that was a good thing.
But usually, holding back because you don’t want to look foolish is silly. If people laugh, laugh with them and ask them to show you how they do it — they’ll be more than happy to teach you.
Don’t be afraid to invite people into your life because you aren’t perfect, or because things aren’t perfect because, honestly, they’re never going to be. And here’s a secret, people don’t like “perfect” people because they’re not perfect either, nobody is.
So be ambitious, accountable, courageous, disciplined, empathetic, honest, humorous, helpful, open-minded, real, responsible, risk taking, supportive and warm, but please, don’t be perfect.
I love us,
Mary Jo Hazard is the author of children’s books The Peacocks of Palos Verdes, Palo’s World, and P is for Palo Verdes. She is a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, and she has worked with survivors of suicide, victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse victims, child abuse victims, and worked with clients dealing with PTSD, depression, and addictions. To learn more about Mary Jo click here or to sign up for her newsletter, Reflections, click here.
Getting comfortable with being perfectly imperfect in this world is tough. With social media and reality shows, the pressure is greater than ever. Mary Jo’s letter is going to have me thinking about my own imperfections and how to embrace them, and she is inspiring me to be silly and to laugh at myself more.
What about you?
And if you ever want to write a letter to your younger self, please email me.
Thanks for being you.
Previous Dear Me Letters:
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