You will stumble.

You will stumble.

My college roommate got married over the weekend. There were seven of us who lived together my last year of college; all seven are now married.

The bride—who is one of those people who is fabulous about keeping in touch with old friends—was there when Will and I got married right after graduation, when I was 21 and he was 22. Two more of us also married shortly after graduation. One of us married in her mid-twenties. Three more—including last weekend’s bride—married in their thirties.

Our experiences have been very different; age obviously isn’t the only factor, but it’s a significant one. I haven’t lived by myself for more than a few weeks at a time, ever. My friend has been living by herself, in her own place, for over a decade.

During the ceremony, the pastor encouraged the couple in the familiar ways you often hear at weddings. But he added something I don’t remember hearing at a wedding before. He told the couple, You will stumble. But if you’re lucky, you will learn to restore each other.

I was struck by the assumption that failure was a natural and normal thing, because it’s something that has taken me a very long time to learn. Too long, really.

I might have been adult enough to get married at 21, but I was still growing up. (I’m still growing up, even now. Are we ever through?)

you will stumble

As a recovering perfectionist and barely-adult, I used to act (I hate to admit this) as though mistakes were preventable. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but I believed it in my core. If you prepared/studied/planned appropriately, and didn’t do anything stupid, then you could get it right the first time, every time. If you didn’t it was your own fault.

A large part of my own growing up has been to learn that failure isn’t necessarily bad and success isn’t necessarily good. It took me years to believe this intellectually, and even longer for me to believe it in my core, as one of those bedrock virtues I act on without question, like brushing my teeth, or kissing my family goodnight.

I screw up on a pretty regular basis. I haven’t gone down in flames in a spectacular fashion (at least not lately, although that option certainly remains on the table) but I disappoint myself and the people around me in countless ways, sometimes quasi-intentionally but often not. I don’t get it right, the first time or the hundredth, sometimes because I’ve failed to practice or prepare or consider and sometimes because I’ve been as smart and considerate as I’m capable of being and I still can’t get it right.

I used to think these kinds of failures were a waste, plain and simple. That was a broken way of thinking. Now I think they’re a healthy part of life, if extremely frustrating in the moment.

It might sound depressing, to bring up marriage and our closest friendships and immediately shift into talking about how those relationships will disappoint us. But I think this assumption of failure—even in these significant relationships—is really healthy. Sure, it keeps the relationship from falling apart when I inevitably stumble, or my husband does, or my friend. But it also makes me a much kinder and gracious person, a better wife, a better friend. (Anne means grace, so you might think that would come easy to me. It hasn’t.)

I’m trying to teach my kids this healthy attitude towards failure (and model it for them, which is harder): that screwing up isn’t a great personal failing, but something normal and natural and inevitable in this life, like potty breaks and flossing and (more painfully) mosquito bites.

They will stumble; so will the people they love. I don’t know which is harder: learning to be gracious with yourself or with others. Neither comes easy.

I do know that if they’re lucky, they will learn to restore the people they love—and themselves.

Has this been a challenge for you? Thoughts on recovering perfectionism, inevitably disappointing relationships, and grace for your own stupid mistakes are welcome in comments.

 

You will stumble

This post originally ran on April 1, 2015. 

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80 comments

  1. Hannah says:

    Thanks for this. Your past sounds eerily similar to my own. One thing that heals: learning to say ‘I messed up. I hurt you. I’m sorry.’

    I’ve even gotten to the point where I say to my kids, “I will probably hurt you again in the future because I’m human and I fail. But I will ask you and God to forgive me. And when you mess up, and you ask for forgiveness, you’ll find forgiveness, too.”

    Nothing quite like being with your kids all day long to give you plenty of opportunities to see the frailty of human beings–both the ones you helped create, and the one in the mirror. We carry on.

    • Hannah says:

      And by ‘hurt’ I hasten to add, I do not mean I physically harming my kids! I re-read what I wrote and realized it sort-of looked that way. Yikes. 🙂

    • Rita says:

      Thank you for sharing this, it rings true for me on so many levels …
      before having my own family – a husband and my very own kids – life was “perfect” in a perfectionist’s independent-objective-extremely rational-and-unchanging-kind-of-way.
      Having a family was God’s way of waking me up to the reality of love, the kind that accepts you just the way you are, sometimes not having to do anything but the comfort of guaranteed forgiveness and acceptance – the mundane stuff characteristic of parenting!

  2. Brittany says:

    I definitely struggle with this. My problem is I have major anxiety about regret. That feeling that you have made a mistake and there is NOTHING you can do it about it. It’s the worst. I have gradually learned however that nothing is forever. Our minds have an amazing way of adapting. You may feel as though you’ve really screwed up and life will not go on..but it will..it always does..it has to. Thanks for sharing such a candid post.

  3. MelissaJoy says:

    Oh, Anne, you are not alone.

    I love how life events like weddings and funerals help us to move into another phase with others in our community. It is a good opportunity for us to show grace to each other especially when it can be more challenging in the quotidian rhythm.

    I have plenty of disappointments and feel like a failure moments. Humbly, I have found that when I let my people in on my struggle it restores my soul and relationships rather than destroy them by trying to be above it all.

  4. Nicole N. says:

    This was beautiful, thanks! I am a relatively new reader and I am so glad I found you! I am a recovering perfectionist too, I hated failing to the point where I would simply refuse to try something that I might fail at. But letting go of that idea has been liberating, I have so much fun trying things and usually failing isn’t as awful as I anticipated. In terms of failing inside relationships, I have learned (maybe I am still learning in some cases), that that’s what love is for, it bridges the gaps between intention and failure.

  5. Jeannie says:

    Thanks for this post, Anne — these are things that we have to learn through every age and stage of our lives and that are very important to convey to our children, as you say. If my husband makes a small mistake with my daughter (e.g. hands her the wrong thing at the dinner table or mis-hears something she says), he always says “I’m sorry; it may or may not happen again.” This has become a little family joke but it acknowledges that we’re all imperfect and as hard as we try we’re going to fail each other at times. Hopefully when they are more serious fails we can learn from them, apologize and forgive and grow closer as a result.

  6. Janet says:

    Great post. I married at 18 and thought I knew everything, so my first lesson was learning how little I really knew about life and how much I had to learn. Thank goodness my husband has always accepted me with all my faults and has helped me to grow as a person.

  7. “As a recovering perfectionist and barely-adult, I used to act (I hate to admit this) as though mistakes were preventable. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but I believed it in my core. If you prepared/studied/planned appropriately, and didn’t do anything stupid, then you could get it right the first time, every time. If you didn’t it was your own fault.”

    I used to believe the exact same thing, which shows me it’s not a personality thing, so much. Since my personality type is quite different from yours. The embarrassing/shaming part for me, looking back, is that I would judge people, “oh you made the wrong decision…”

    I’m 39 and I think it’s taken me longer than it has you, to internalize the truth that I will fail, I can do everything “right” and still have a bad outcome, etc. I’m much, much better at believing this for my kids, than I am believing it for myself. But I’m getting there. It’s taken some hard knocks and some pain to teach me this lesson though. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Renee, it’s interesting that you brought up the personality aspect, because I realized the same thing writing this. I’m sure that some personality types are naturally inclined to be more perfectionistic than others, but I don’t think my issue was directly related to personality. Thanks for helping me think that through some more. I’m glad to hear you’re getting where you want to go, if more slowly than you (or I) would like.

      Also: I thought of you ALL THE TIME when I was listening to Bill Bryson’s book A Walk in the Woods about the AT trail this past weekend!

  8. Beth says:

    This is a timely post for me. Since having my fourth baby almost two years ago, my imperfections have been glaring at me (yes, I’m a perfectionist!). But even though I make very good choices in how I use my time (I look back on my day and realize I am doing all the “right things”), I still can lose control — I still get angry at the kids or my husband, my house is a wreck even after I work hard all day long, and there is so much left undone.

    I realized recently that I need God’s grace to “fill in the gaps” in my life, but it’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve come to know that He is not take away all of my weaknesses and failings, but He will make me whole even with those weaknesses. Those stumblings give me humility and empathy, and that’s important in anyone’s personal development!

    Your post resonates right along with these thoughts I’ve been having; so well said and relatable. I’m impressed at the conclusions that you’ve reached and I appreciate you sharing them; I needed to hear it!!

    • Rita says:

      ‘I need God’s grace to “fill in the gaps” in my life …’
      This shall be my daily prayer for a recovering perfectionist, thank you for sharing!

  9. I’ll never forget what the priest said at my wedding. He said, “Lots of people are going to ask you when you’re going to start your family. The fact is, you’ve started it today. The two of you together are already a family, before kids ever come into the picture.” Family in general has always been really important to my husband, and I always feel touched when he refers to the two of us as “our family.”

    In a way, I think that kind of attitude helps us deal with each others’ stumblings better. It acts as a unifier. Since we stand to be hurt the most by our spouse’s failings more than anyone else’s, it can be a lot easier to resent those failings (or resent our own failings for hurting them). Thinking of ourselves as a family acts as an extra reminder that we’re in this together.

    • Anne says:

      I know quite a few couples who have cringed at being asked that question. Love that your priest addressed that specifically at your wedding!

  10. Katia says:

    I needed to read this today. So, thank you for the reminder, Anne. I have been stumbling a lot lately, and having a tough time picking myself back up, dusting myself off, and moving on. Yet, I know I need to just do it, stop overthinking things, and trust that all will be well.

  11. Having grace and giving grace is something that I try to strive for and remember (and Grace is my middle name too :)). I love how you put this. I too am a perfectionist who is constantly making mistakes. I have a hard time letting go of my mistakes and beat myself up for them, but as I’ve grown older (I’m 30 now) I’ve seen the reality of mistakes much more clearly than in my early 20s. Mistakes are inevitable because I am human and I am working to forgive myself and others and just trying to allow for being human.

  12. I ran out of gas once, when I was a teenager, and when my dad came to rescue me, he said, “There is no excuse for running out of gas.” And he was right; it’s an entirely preventable mistake. And I realized that some mistakes are avoidable, and some are not. I have found that knowledge makes it easier to forgive myself (and others). It also served as a guideline as to when my kids needed scolding, and when they needed teaching. 🙂

  13. Tim says:

    This reminds me of James 3:2 – “We all stumble in many ways.” The brother of Jesus wrote those words as an encouragement, not a criticism. He was essentially saying to keep your eyes open and be ready for it. The chapter closes with the same sentiment of restoration that pastor mentioned, when it says in James 3:18 “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

    Mistakes come easy and land hard. Peacemaking is hard but lands easy.

  14. Gillian says:

    First off, beautifully written post, as always.

    Secondly, you are so not the only one. I’ve found that for me, the issues lies with putting so much of who I am into success. Believing that if I snooze my alarm, then I’m not hard working, and if I get a bad grade, I’m not smart, and if I feel sore and not really into heading to the rink (I’m a figure skater) that day, then I’m not passionate. But that’s not true…being hard working doesn’t hinge on me never sleeping in, being smart isn’t about one grade (or grades at all), and passion is heading anyways—even if you don’t want to that day.

    We put symbols on everything. And I think I’ve finally realized (even if I don’t practice it enough) that getting rid of those symbols is the only way to have a better attitude about failure.

  15. Miriam B says:

    I’ve struggling with this whole concept in my own marriage right now. I assume that if I make every effort to keep my husband happy, he’ll reciprocate. But that hasn’t been the case, so I’ve been working to adjust my expectations.

    • djes says:

      May I suggest Gary Chapman’s book, “The Five Love Languages”? (There is one for couples, one for parents of young children, and one for parents of teens.) His theory is that we give and recieve love in five ways: quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch (not the same as sex). If you do not “speak” your partner’s language, he may not “hear” your message of love. This applies in reverse as well. Chapman has a website that you can take quizzes to gauge your love language. My primary language of giving love was acts of service. When I quizzed my family not one person had that as their primary way of receiving love, in fact for the vast majority, it was dead last. Yikes! I am now working on speaking the love language each person needs and asking for the love language I need to hear. It has been very eye opening and made a difference. Hope this helps. I wish you all the best.

  16. Amber says:

    Beautiful, important post. I also call myself a recovering perfectionist. I’ve been thinking and writing about perfectionism a lot lately; I believe it’s a big but insidious problem in our society.

    Have you read any Brene Brown? Her stuff is amazing, particularly for women, perfectionists, and – of course – women who are perfectionists!

    Grace for ourselves and for others. YES.

    New reader – loving your content. Have a great day!

  17. Charlotte says:

    The best marriage advice I ever received was from my mom and grandma. When I was engaged they both told me 1) to not freak out the first time I fall out of love with my husband and 2) that you fall in and out of love in marriage all the time. This isn’t at all to say that you ever stop loving your spouse, but I think there is a distinct difference between loving and being in love. Being in love is that infatuated, affectionate, forgiving state is that so wonderful, but it’s also hard to maintain on days when you push each others’ buttons and don’t connect well.

    Going into marriage with that knowledge was so freeing. My marriage doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. Sometimes I’m madly in love and sometimes I’d rather just be by myself. Marriage is all about grace and forgiveness and new starts, over and over and over. Loved this post, Anne. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Kim S. says:

    I am a recovering perfectionist. I have several “one liners” I go to that help me.

    1. There is no problem that hasn’t happened and been overcome by someone else. Although we may be individuals; our problems are not original.

    2. For all of us who try to plan everything: Whatever scenario you don’t plan for will be the one that happens.

    3. The Serenity Prayer. God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

    Honestly though it wasn’t until I got sick that I realized how much of a perfectionist. When you lose almost everything, you appreciate even more what you get back.

    Unless of course, I’m baking something, in which case it must be perfect the first time or I’m obviously an idiot who can’t follow directions properly.

    I love the idea of stumbling and holding each other up. You may have just pulled me out of my writer’s block for my own vows!

    Thanks as always, Anne.

  19. Clare says:

    Oh my, yes. It takes some realizing. I still have to work at it all the time. I guess it’s just pride at heart. Learning how to accept not just past failures but the inevitable future ones has made me a better person as well. I’ve learned to be gentler to myself, and I take advantage of more opportunities now because I’m not as terrified of making a mess of things.

    In particular I’m thinking of my social life. Being a perfectionist + introvert has held me back from openness in my interactions with people. But accepting that I might mess up in an interaction has allowed me to develop better friendships. I’ve been able to interact beyond superficial pleasantries and find real kindred spirits.

    Oops, angry baby calling. But I probably shouldn’t go on forever anyway. 😛

  20. Jamie says:

    Beautiful post. And I relate. Both in that I screw up a lot. And that it bothers me a lot (or: I’m a perfectionist). But you know? I think we’re all perfectionists in some area. Something that means a lot to us or we’re “supposed” to be good at or maybe an area that’s tender from past failure (perceived or real). If I feel like I’m misunderstood or perceived badly or I’ve failed my people, it takes a long time to pull out of feeling way down about it. Well, it is slowly taking less time. Recovering, you know. I like what someone mentioned above: unity happens far more smoothly with this mindset of assuming we will fail each other. Because there isn’t all the pressure of a performance/shame cycle. We’re just all “a bunch of different-looking sinners in need of the same-looking cross.”

  21. Angela says:

    I call myself an im-perfectionist, but I like recovering perfectionist too! I completely relate to your post. I struggled with being perfect and good for the longest time, which made if very hard for me to understand God’s grace, let alone extend it to others. My first name is actually “Anna Angela” and Anna like Anne means grace. When we try to live up to our names, let’s also remember that on the days we fail, it’s okay! We have grace 🙂

  22. Jess Townes says:

    I’m also a recovering perfectionist who loves Brene Brown. I just wanted to mention this sweet children’s book entitled A Perfectly Messed Up Story that is such a poignant example of what you are talking about. I read it often to my kids (who are too old for picture books by all normal standards but have long accepted that mom will never quit them). I’m dedicated to raising kids with a mindset that leaves room for mistakes as an inevitable part of growth, failure as a necessary step on the path to success, and grace as the lens through which they view themselves and others. Easier said than done, but I think it starts with telling the truth….they WILL stumble, bad things happen to ALL people, and their perfectly messed up story is still beautiful.

    • Katia says:

      I love Brene Brown’s work. Allowing ourselves to make mistakes, and having the courage to forgive ourselves for our guffaws, takes plenty of strength. I believe that most of us, at one time or another, have been perfectionists. It’s what society and — I suspect it’s true for many of us — our families encourage us to do. It takes courage to admit that we are not perfect and neither should we try to be perfect, but we all can do our best on a daily basis.

      As for me, I have replaced trying to be perfect with working to be the best version of myself.

  23. Heather says:

    This is an amazing post! I’m so happy to hear this mentioned at a wedding. We are human. I think sometimes issues that cause divorce is that people want their mate to be perfect and not recognize that the other party is a flawed human as we all are. I think it helps in understanding each other that we are not perfect and no one else is either. As long as we all try to do the right thing. Sometimes, it just doesn’t come out right, LOL.

    I also loved the way you talked about your younger self striving for perfection. That as long as you were prepared enough, everything was fine. Failure was not something that should happen. That was so me and my experience in life! As a woman in her forties now, I look at ladies younger than me with that attitude I remember I having, I think to myself, “You’ll see.” It is never said though. You need to go through the experiences in life to understand it. Or have it mentioned in such a gentle way as at this wedding.

  24. Southern Gal says:

    This is so true, but so hard to learn. My husband and I married at 17 and 19. We’re working on 35 years. Oh, there have been times we have stumbled, fallen down and thought we’d never get back up. And through it all I am still learning new things in relationships. (So, yes, you never stop learning. I’m proof.) I love these comments.

  25. Amy C says:

    Thank you. What a wonderful post. I know we all say that we learn from our mistakes, but somehow, deep down, I think we each believe that learning from mistakes is what other people have to go through, and that if we’re only smart enough and careful enough we can get that learning without going through the whole messy process.
    Demanding perfection from oneself or one’s partner is so destructive, isn’t it? And yet, how annoying I find the person who tells me, “oh, I’m too old to learn that”, or “I’m not that kind of person”, “I’m no good at that”… No room/desire for improvement? Might as well climb into that coffin right now then.
    I guess my philosophy is to reflect, to try to be better, to imagine how my words would sound if they were directed at me before I say them, to think of how I will feel later on if I say no (or yes) and to treasure daily joys as much as possible.

  26. Anne says:

    I love this post. I think I had to read and run when I read it when you posted, but it resonated with me quite a bit. I should remember the meaning of our name a little more often. It might remind me to give myself and others more grace when it is needed, which is often. Thank you, Anne!

  27. My mom asked me a few questions recently trying to compare my relationship with my husband to my brother’s (age 30) pretty new relationship. I told her I felt the two relationships were very different because we were 17 and 19 when we started dating, married at 23 and 25. We are now 34 and 36. We were so young when we started dating that I feel like we did a lot of “growing” together. We went through several “life lessons” together during our 20’s.

    My oldest son (2nd grade) recently made a bad choice at school that landed him in the principal’s office. A kiddo who rarely gets in trouble in the classroom and I end up with a call from the assistant principal….. Fortunately, I didn’t say too much to him because I didn’t have the right words. My mom was out of the country when it happened, when she came back a few days later I was finally able to share the news. The first words out of her mouth were that I needed to share the bad choice that I made in elementary school that also landed me in the office. Umm, duh why didn’t think of that…. 🙂 Sharing that story with him made all the difference in his attitude!! We were able to have a lengthy discussion about making bad choices and learning from them!

  28. Sonya says:

    Since you are a book person, as am I, you might enjoy a book by John Maxwell on this subject, called “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn”. It really shifted my perspective on learning from mistakes rather than considering them as failures, and this is something I’ve generally been pretty good at for most of my life. Although I’ll admit, I still have a lot to learn in this department!

  29. Diane says:

    After reading your posting, I was struck by the similarity in some thought processes. When I was a young mother and I didn’t everything right (which seemed to be way too often!) my thinking would be “Well, if you just worked faster, harder and smarter you could work full time and manage a household that included 4 kids – real stair steps, too as well as a husband who worked really insane hours (retail – don’t cha just love it?)” I will go back when I have a few moments and re-read your notes on ‘a recovering perfectionist’….there are more areas to which I’d like to respond.
    Thank you so much. I do appreciate so much the fact that you can share in a very open and unselfconscious manner! Brava! At the very least I’ve been given the pluck to start (again) working with my many imperfections in a very perfectionistic way! 🙂

  30. H says:

    Being a first time wife, I find myself stressed and beat myself up constantly because everything isn’t perfect in my home, the dishes are left in the sink before work this morning,there’s a load of laundry in the dryer to be folded, and then there’s dinner. I need to pick up a couple items to finish dinner. I wanted it all perfect before I left for work this morning, but it didn’t happen.

    I need to let go of the stress and realize, I’m not perfect, nor in my husband, and nor is the cat. We are all human and we all make mistakes…

    Thanks for this blog!

  31. Janet Miles says:

    I try to look at “failures” as learning curves. As far as marriage goes, very early on in our relationship my husband told me that not only did he love me, but he was “in love” with me and he has told me that several times since. We’ve had some ups and downs for lots of different reasons but at going on 32 years next month, I think we’ve done a good job of holding each other up through our stumbles. Side note–I did live by myself for about five or six years before we were married and I think that period gave me the knowledge that if something ever did happen to him/us I would have the strength to stand alone. That feeling has also helped me through some difficult times. Great post!

  32. Becky says:

    This is such a great post, and as a new reader I’m glad you’ve chosen to run it again. This particularly resonated with me: “As a recovering perfectionist and barely-adult, I used to act (I hate to admit this) as though mistakes were preventable. I couldn’t have articulated it then, but I believed it in my core. If you prepared/studied/planned appropriately, and didn’t do anything stupid, then you could get it right the first time, every time. If you didn’t it was your own fault.” I’m SO hard on myself when I make a mistake, and I have a tendency to beat myself up over it because I’ve also always thought they were preventable. And I think fear of making a mistake sometimes holds me back from trying something new. It’s something I’m working to move past but it’s hard and takes a lot of work and reminders that mistakes are normal and natural and happen to everyone.

  33. Greer Oharah says:

    I so appreciated this post today, Anne. More often than not I expect myself not to stumble. It is incredibly freeing to live knowing that stumbles are inevitable – both from me and others. Grace is what is needed, more than a determination to be flawless.

  34. Christy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder. I’m 37 and still growing up, a recovering perfectionist, and trying to model a growth mindset for my children. It has been such a humbling process, but there is peace and freedom found in this work of failure, forgiveness, and grace.

  35. Ooh dear. I’m in my mid 20-s and when I read “I used to act as though mistakes were preventable,” my first thought was, “well, of course they are.” I’m a meticulous planner and if something goes wrong I immediately think either myself or someone else is to blame, which results in me being too hard on myself or on my friends, family, and strangers.

    Thanks for the reminder to act with grace and learn to accept mistakes for what they are, just mistakes.

  36. Kelli Wick says:

    This isn’t exactly an answer to your question, but your post reminded me: As my friend’s wedding is getting closer – only a month away – it’s been interesting to have conversations with her and realize that in my head, I’m trying to be so careful about balancing what I tell her about the good & bad that my husband and I have faced in our relationship. So in living through & then telling our failures to others we trust, we are able to use that to encourage them. (I’m also careful to balance it with keeping my mouth shut – because mostly, others are going to have to just live through the situations themselves. 🙂 )

  37. As a 19 year old reading this, I want to say thank you. I’m a recovering perfectionist too, and it is still something I will continue to work on for the majority of my life.

    “Failure isn’t necessarily bad, and success isn’t necessarily good.” <— I needed to hear that. Thank you for sharing this.

  38. Grace says:

    Holy smokes has this ever been challenging for me! It’s something that I know in my head, but I can’t seem to believe in my heart when it actually happens. I love that you’re teaching it to your children now while they’re young. It will be so much easier for them to understand and accept as they grow up.

  39. Shawn says:

    If you haven’t yet read “The Gift of Failure” by Jessica Lahey, you will likely enjoy it and benefit from it.

  40. Gina Poirier says:

    Oh yes. This is like the hardest reality I can think of: I desperately fear failure, and yet I can’t avoid it. I think I have to constantly remind myself of this, that stumbling is unavoidable—it’s actually good in some places. So thanks AGAIN for the reminder!

  41. Lindsey says:

    Anne, I think this is one of the best blog posts I’ve ever read on your site. Well done!

    It may just be that this really resonated with me, as I am recovering perfectionist through and through. Learning to embrace failure has been the greatest battle of my life. Thanks for sharing.

  42. I’ve been married for almost 8 years. Even just this past year or two I’m learning to be gracious and kind with my husband when he is not “getting it right”–just as gracious and kind as when he is. I see the big picture. I see how vulnerable and hopeful and weak each of us are. I respect him deeply, something that’s been built brick by brick each year, month, week, and day through tons of little peaks and valleys of ordinary life and big things too. Kindness. I think that’s how we restore each other, and I’m learning and leaning into it. To listen and sometimes not react or even say much. To watch him grow without interruption. To know ahead of time that the stumbling, like you said so well, is just part of it and it’s okay and in order for me to receive grace, I’ve got to give it.

  43. Becca says:

    Anne,
    Thank you for re-posting this from last year. I’m also such a perfectionist that I have tried to prevent mistakes and failures as much as possible. It’s encouraging to hear others who do take the same amount of time as I do to learn that mistakes and failures are not all consuming, but apart of life.

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