Progress not Perfection

The problem with being open and transparent in my journey from Stress to Bliss is that people feel free to walk into my head, snoop around and make judgements based on their perceptions of where and how I am on this journey. Notice I said THEIR perceptions. Most people are well-intentioned – they seriously do not want to see me resorting to my old patterns of overwork and overwhelm. But let me ask you this, when someone asks you if you are sick, do you feel better or worse? If someone asks you if you are stressed, do you think that reduces one’s stress? More helpful would be pointing out the times that I AM incorporating new practices. Encouraging my new habits, even if I am not practicing them perfectly or religiously, is much more likely to result in a repeat of those habits. Conversely, pointing out old habits – at least in my case – results in defensiveness, anger and feelings of defeat.

Let’s be honest – some people don’t want me to change. They have experience with me and my past behaviour, which in many ways works for them. For example, when I stand up for myself, say NO in order to protect my time and energy, people don’t like it very much. I have known this my whole life, and therefore became a people pleaser, at the expense of my own health and happiness. Those in my life who know the people-pleaser are actually shocked when I say NO. While they are supportive of my need to set boundaries and take care of myself, they didn’t realize this would apply to THEM! Some people have actually resorted to bullying, blustering or sabotage to get their way. Others see my behaviour as a challenge to them – as if I expect them to change along with me. I do not. However I would appreciate it if you could be supportive of my choices, celebrate my successes and overlook my stumbles.

I learned a very helpful phrase from my friend Mary Lou Gutscher recently – “Progress not Perfection.” I am really trying to incorporate this – it allows us to celebrate our small victories, rather than striving for all or nothing (which has been a problem in the past for me). As I progress along my journey to bliss, I may hit some goals and miss others. But as long as I am travelling the right road, and making progress towards those goals, I will celebrate each baby-step of the way. I will thank those on the journey with me for their encouragement and patience. When they are not as supportive as I would like, I will remember that they are also striving for progress not perfection.


  1. Margo Husby says:

    Hi, Catherine … Your experience is a common one. As you so wisely and generously point out, people know us one way and know how to relate to us that way. When we begin to change, even our nearest and dearest often don’t know what to do with that change. They don’t know who we are, only who we were, and relate to the past instead of the present.

    I recently had a conversation with someone I love a great deal who is making some changes and I have no place upon which to hang those changes. The change scares me, brings up old stuff, so we talked about that, not in an accusatory or defensive way but in the “I feel” way, with genuine love at the centre of the circle. I learned some things about myself in that conversation, stuff I need to work on. I think the other person was reminded that my love and support are the same as always but we need to chat a bit more often so I can connect with the changes. It’s difficult to be on *this* side of the changing when I’m more accustomed to be the one doing the changing. But it’s also enlightening as I see a deeper side of a person of courage who I am grateful to have in my life and have gained greater understanding of how some of my family and friends have felt over the years. Hang in there. Never give up. You are still one of my heroes, as you have been since the first day we met.

    • cscheers says:

      Thanks for saying exactly what I need to hear, as always. Adore you! HUGS!

      • I couldn’t plasee them and then when I tried to plasee them other people became upset. I tried to second guess and work out what they were thinking and saying which only made me miserable.As I said a decision that there are certain things that I have no control over and what others say or think about me is out of my control. The only person that I have control over is myself and my actions so this is what I focused on.I still care greatly about my friends, family and people I come into contact with but when I know that I am living my life with integrity and to the best of my abilities there is nothing more I can do. If they choose to be unhappy and discuss my actions with others then that is their business not mine. I also discovered that I had been adding fuel to the fire by expecting that others were talking about me ..when it turned out that because I was on-edge that this was causing their distance.(What you expect you will find)The one question I now ask myself is Does it really matter and do I really need the approval of these people? I have learned that for me it is more important to have the approval of myself.Thank you for your input and I hope that I have answered your question. I look forward to reading more from you. Kind regards Brenda

  2. If your articles are always this hepflul, “I’ll be back.”

    • Posted on incredible, that was a very good read. In coincuslon, someone who actually thinks and understands what they are blogging about. Quite difficult to find of late, especially on the web . I bookmarked your web blog and will make sure to keep coming back here if this is how you always write. thank you, keep it up! .

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