by Suzanne Reisler Litwin
A very long time ago I made a bold decision to reduce some of the high expectations “I” had created in my life. Not all, just some to ease the stress. Some of the nonsense stuff that’s useless and irritating. Currently, I just don’t “care” about the non-important aspects in my life.
This idea started when someone asked me how to spell my name. My given name is Suzanne. I have been called, Suzanne, Suzie, Sue, Suz, Susan, Susanna, Suzette, Suzannie, Susonna, Su, and even Steve. The list is very long. How do you spell Suzie? Well, it can be spelled, Suzie, Susy, Susie, Suzy, Suzee, Soozie, etc. When someone asks me how to spell my name, I simply answer, “Spell it anyway you want, it doesn’t matter to me.” It was at this point in my life that I decided it didn’t matter how my name was spelled. The expectations for having correct spelling of my name make no difference anymore. I lowered my expectations and now I live in the “Impurfect World”. What a relief it is! I don’t care if someone calls me Sue or Suzanne, Suzette or Susan, Suzie or Steve. It’s more important to me if they simply call. That’s all, just call me. Living in a naturally imperfect world is normal. Though, it’s not where everyone chooses to live. Some people strive for perfection in school, work, body, mind, and in general living. This causes many un-natural stresses. Why live with all this un-natural stress? Those who choose to live in the perfect world are often disappointed in other people, events, and life in general. If it is not perfect, it is not good enough for them. Achieving constant perfection is actually imperfect and un-natural. Perhaps if people were to lower their expectations just a little bit, they wouldn’t be so disappointed? Perhaps if their names were constantly being misspelled, eventually they wouldn’t care so much about the spelling. I wonder?
As a university instructor, I have the wonderful opportunity to meet a new group of students every 3 months. I start my first class with breaking down the barriers of discomfort and stress.
I tell my students that I’m perfectly impu rfect and I spell it that way. I tell them to relax and be at ease in my class. My expectations are easily met and especially, “Do Not Worry!” The return rate of my students leaving the first class and coming back to the second is about 95%. They trust me and I trust them and so begins the journey of learning together. During the second class, we share a part of lives through our writing. The students are at ease simply knowing that I’m not looking for perfection.
Opening your heart and world to imperfection will create less stress and worry in your life. Lowering your expectations just a tad might do the same. Striving for a less stressed life is within your reach and very manageable.
As humans we are designed to age with the development of imperfections. I believe the natural aspect of slowly losing one’s vision after the age of 40 is a human prescription. It is better not to see the aging process clearly; therefore, we are designed this way!
Imperfection is purfection. Try it. It might make you more at ease. Lessons Learned:
Take that one thing in your life that’s constantly annoying you and forget about it! Get rid of it! Stop caring about it. Let it be.
When you have situations or people that constantly disappoint you, consider lowering your expectations. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Start tomorrow looking for ways to do things with less stress.
When you expect little from people, you will open the door for wonderful surprises.
Stop saying phrases like, “You think they would simply ….”, or “I expected this person to…”, or “Why can’t they do things like…” The less you expect, the better you will feel.
Don’t expect anything in return. Whatever you give, your time, your love, yourself, give freely and unconditionally.
Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an author/writer/columnist/educator. She contributes every Monday morning to the West Island Blog’s Keeping it Real Column.
She is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban newspaper. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. She lives in Montreal, Canada with her 3 children, Allyn, Taylor, and Duke and her husband Laurie. Suzanne contributes regularly to West Island Blog under her column Keeping it Real. Please visit her website www.suzannereislerlitwin.com to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.