So, after months of anticipation, my new book arrived at my door on Thursday. I swore I wasn’t going read it. After months of writing and continuous editing by many, it would be dangerous to do so. Given my obsessive nature, I knew I’d find changes to make. You see – I have a hard time letting things go, which was why it was so incredibly deflating when the first sentence my eye happened to catch had a word missing. [And just to suffer even more, I read the sentence over about six times hoping the missing word would magically appear.] Although I immediately tried to shake it off, that error grabbed my attention and seized control. I haven’t looked at the book since. Have I been relishing in the proud papa feeling of having finally finished this project? Published it? Pleased that it has my “voice”? No. For the last forty-eight hours I’ve fixated on one missing preposition – which reminds me of my own lesson for the week: when we hyperfocus on imperfections, we miss out on the beauty. When we obsess on challenges, we don’t as easily appreciate the gifts.
I can’t speak for others, but I know I have a strong tendency to attend to flaws. I have a high standard – and unfortunately, I hold everyone around me to it, especially, my children. I don’t expect my boys to be perfect, but I often parent in a way that gives them that perception. I’m constantly pointing out their problems – and by doing so, I believe I’m inadvertently teaching them to fixate on their flaws, which is definitely not my intent. If I want my children to appreciate their gifts, I need to spend less time pointing out their challenges. The last thing I want is for my kids to lose sleep over a missing preposition.
Thankfully for me, the kind words of one teacher who read my book helped me gain perspective. She will never know how much the timing of her post turned things around for me. You see, she reminded me to focus on the strengths, rather than obsessing over the imperfections. And maybe if we all did that a bit more, relationships would be strengthened, self-esteems would rise, and our world would be a much happier place.