Father John Catoir

Father John Catoir

Perfectionists are often exhausted. They don’t know how to relax. It’s important to realize that being perfect is not as important as being at peace with who you are.

There’s a lesson to be learned from those less fortunate than ourselves. The blind and the disabled often have a certain calmness about them. They have come to terms with their limitations. They’ve learned to live with being an imperfect human being.

Self-acceptance is a necessary part of life, and that goes for everyone. God never asked you to be perfect. The divine commandment, “Love your neighbor,” includes the phrase, “as (you love) yourself.” To love yourself, first try to understand yourself by stressing the fact that you are God’s child. You are on equal footing with everyone else.

Our heavenly Father sees that you are good, because everything he made is good (Gn 1:31). He loves you and is preparing a place for you in heaven. When you are at peace with yourself, you will no longer have to worry about what others think. All you have to do is be grateful for the gift of life, and strive to maintain your self-respect.

The Lord doesn’t expect you to be perfect. He knows you’re human and that you make mistakes. What he wants from you is your trust. He said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” You can trust that this invitation is both sincere and ongoing.

If you are brave enough to love yourself, and strong enough to forgive yourself, and generous enough to assist others in their needs, you will be a happy, contented person. And then you will begin to find some advantages in being imperfect.

This theme is found in a children’s book by Shel Silverstein, called “The Missing Piece.” It’s a parable that captures the importance of self-acceptance. The story is about a circle that had a broken section. There was a missing piece in its circumference, and because it was incomplete, it could only roll along very slowly.

As it did, it chatted with the worms and admired the beautiful flowers. Then one day, it found the missing piece, and it was put back in place. The circle was perfect again.

It quickly began rolling along, now at a more rapid pace. How different the world seemed when it was going fast. Gradually, the circle realized that by being perfect, it was going much too fast to appreciate the joy of mingling with the beauty surrounding it.

The lesson is that being imperfect has its advantages. You gain a certain humility that enables you to relate to those around you with more appreciation and compassion. Self-acceptance, warts and all, will bring a sweet joy that no one can ever take from you.

Besides all that, perfectionists do not always win social acceptance. People can become annoyed with them or jealous and impatient with their “holier than thou attitude.” Personal integrity is much more important than worldly approval.

Mistakes are human. If you slip and fall, so be it; get up and begin again. “Your sins are forgiven,” says the Lord of mercy. By accepting yourself, your life will have more meaning and be more satisfying.

You always have an eternity of happiness in heaven awaiting you. Put all that together and begin accepting yourself now, and enjoy your precious life. God wants you to be happy.