Sunday, September 23, 2007

Don't Worry about Being Perfect

The Transgender Companion, THE MUST HAVE guide for all TG women, from CD to TS,

Today I’d like to talk about not worrying about being perfect. I think most of us are closet perfectionists inside, at least in some areas of our life, and I am certainly not immune to that.

As transsexuals, it seems sometimes we are held up to much higher standards. People sometimes judge us by our looks or how we act or how our voice sounds, so we tend to feel a lot of pressure to look perfect or act perfect or sound perfect. This can be a tough way to live, though, as we can never be “perfect”, at least in society’s terms. Besides, who determines what perfect is? Everybody has a different definition!

I’ll tell you a secret. You are perfect just as you are. You are the only YOU on this planet. We’re not put here to be perfect. We’re put here to enjoy our lives and learn and grow and experience life!

Perfectionists and overly critical people tend to miss out on a lot of life. They don’t try new things or “spread their wings” because they are afraid of making a mistake or failing or being “less than perfect”. That’s a really stunted way to live. You miss out on a lot! It also must be a very painful way to live, because the really critical people must live in constant fear of being less than perfect and opening themselves up to the criticism they give out.

So anyway, you just be you. Do not worry about being perfect or making a mistake.
I have made my share of mistakes in my life, believe me. But they’ve always enriched my life in the end. I’ve learned things.

Now, just so you know, I am not little Miss Perfect in living up to my words here. I can be self critical at times and beat myself up when I’m less than perfect. I realize, however, at this point in my life that I don’t have to be perfect. I also realize that this tendency is just a result of how I was raised. So I tend to go with the flow more than I used to. But I still have lapses and beat myself up when I do something wrong or don’t know how to do something.

However, this is what I have learned to do. First off, I remind myself that I’m only human and everybody makes mistakes. If it’s a big mistake or I don’t know what to do or I am just really stressed, I just say “Everything will be O.K.” Remember that phrase – “Everything will be O.K.”. Say it really slowly and calmly. Seriously. I don’t know what it is, but that phrase can calm you down and even make you laugh in a minute. Words are powerful!

Let me give you a little example. I just took a part time serving job at Chili’s to get some extra cash to help me market my web site (and get some extra help with the bills). Now, I have worked most of my life in Corporate America, so this is obviously something new for me and I have a lot to learn. I love to go out to eat, though, so it’s a good fit for some part time work.
I’d like to say first off, that I have newfound respect for waiters and waitresses (not that I didn’t before) seeing all you have to keep track of and do that customers may not realize.

Anyway, I am learning a lot. Meeting a lot of different kinds of people, which is very cool. I love to observe people, anyway, so it is a good job for that.

Getting back to my story though. I am learning, so I am bound to make mistakes, right? I know this in my head. However, when I actually make a mistake, I still self criticize. I’m harder on myself than anybody else, and yet not that way with other people. I don’t know why. I think we’re raised to be hard on ourselves or something.

Anyway, on my first night serving on my own after training, I mixed up one of the dishes on two table (in other words, I switched their orders). I discovered this about 10 minutes after I delivered the food. I’m new, so I thought, oh boy. I’m fired now. Well, the manager was as nice as she could be, and very understanding. They gave the meals for free. The customers were super nice and understanding. I even got great tips from both tables. But I am still beating myself up!

I’m thinking: “How could I be that dumb. I’ll never get this. I’m a horrible server. Maybe I’m not meant for this. Maybe I suck. What if I’d dropped that tray on a baby (I got flustered bringing the right food to the table and almost did drop my tray). “ I did a real number on myself.

Then I realized, what about the other 98% of the tables I did just fine? Why not focus on those! I’m new. I’m going to make mistakes. I learned. I won’t do that again, and if I do, nobody is going to DIE. I am not going to DIE. Imagine that! Nobody’s going to die!

Sometimes it is good to just joke a bit with yourself. And I am ok for feeling bad. I’m not going to be a perfectionist about my feelings either. I feel what I feel, and that is ok. If I feel bad, that’s ok, too, but I won’t beat up on myself.

Then I went in the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror, and said, “You are a GREAT server, Jen. All your customers love you. You are doing a great job.” And that was that. It’s good to talk positively to yourself in the mirror, by the way. We tend to only say negative things in the mirror (you look awful, your hair is terrible, etc). Try that trick too sometime. It works!

So ease up on yourself. You don’t have to look or be perfect. You just have to be you. If other people are criticizing you, just realize that is their issue and their definition of “perfect” and how you and things should be. And don’t be afraid to step out and try something new (like transitioning). You don’t want to miss out on all you can have in life!

For more practical advice and step by step guidance on transitioning, go to and order “The Transgender Companion” today! FREE excerpt included on the web site.

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