It’s been a mystery. For years I’ve had friends (you know who you are!) who’ve lovingly smiled at me and shaken their heads when they’ve heard me say “It’s all perfect.”
I remember once responding to my first husband’s reporting of an experience that wasn’t what he was hoping for by saying “It’s perfect”, and he was correct in his wry response, “Yes, but if the opposite had happened you’d have said that was perfect too!” Yup, I would have!
At the time I couldn’t really explain why that sense of the ‘perfection’ in all circumstances felt so deeply resonant for me. It certainly wasn’t that all my life experiences have been what I wanted, or preferred. But I’ve now lived through enough experiences I’d initially thought of as being SO ‘wrong’ (definitely NOT what I’d have chosen), and yet later be able to clearly see benefits or value emerging out of those situations I’d at first so disliked.
A moment on that ‘quintessentially perfect’ day
four years ago!
Recently, Bruce and I celebrated our 4th Wedding Anniversary. I neither needed nor wanted a whole lot of fuss around this, but I did want to remember (and in some way re-experience) what for me had been a ‘quintessentially perfect’ day! However, for a number of reasons, despite wanting to feel connected and close, that’s not what happened.
Our Anniversary Day definitely didn’t fit the typical dictionary definition of perfect in being “accurate, exact, or correct in every detail” that I’d imagined. We didn’t take time to sit and watch the video of our wedding service like I’d hoped, nor did we have a quiet dinner at home together. There was no way the day could have fit the second dictionary definition of “excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement”!
There was part of me that felt disappointed – particularly because I was preparing to leave two days later for a week away from home and I really want to feel that warmth of connection before this time of being apart. Had I been holding the typical understanding of ‘perfect’, it would have been easy for me to spiral down into shame or blame – of myself and/or Bruce.
It’s in these kind of circumstances that the alternative understanding (and the following dictionary definition!) of ‘perfect’ that I’ve intuitvely lived by becomes really valuable – indeed it’s freeing, and life-changing!
“exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose”
What if in meeting those less comfortable moments in life instead of our making them or ourselves wrong (as it’s SO easy to do!) we engaged the Courageous practice of deepening our Commitment to Celebrating what is, and being Curious about what else might be possible – the ‘C’ part of the RICH Relationships way of being in the world? (You can scroll further down this note for more detail about this).
In our Anniversary Day experience, what this meant was appreciating that though my preferred way of celebrating the day wasn’t what happened, the situation was “exactly fitting” the expansion of our shared Commitment to not make ourselves or each other wrong. In fact we did manage to live out the “essential elements” of our Commitment to kindness and respect. We exchanged cards (both beautiful and funny), and spent some tender moments speaking our love of and appreciation for each other.
Instead of setting ourselves up for upset by holding rigidly to the ideas we’d started the day with, as we went to bed that night we noticed and named our alternative way of looking at the way things had unfolded. This shifted what might have been an upsetting day, into one where we actually deepened our sense of care and connection.
because of the way we chose to hold it, it had indeed been a perfect day!