My first memory of judging myself is when I was five. I was in my kindergarten class at Hosford Elementary in Portland, Oregon, and I couldn’t remember which name went to which of two boy classmates. I felt shame in kindergarten for forgetting a name. Already I expected myself to be Perfect.

There were so many things I didn’t know when I was five! Things like it’s okay to make a mistake and just say sorry, or that I would be messing up names for the rest of my life so I should maybe get used to it. Or that even though some people may expect us to be Perfect, let’s face it, we are never gonna be!

I Must Be Perfect was one of the early lies I believed about myself so deeply that it seemed to be etched into my very bones. No thought was involved in the process of this judgment—the lie was part of my structure, of my skeleton, of what strung me together as a person. I believed it and many more, even when they didn’t fit with logic. I’m still battling for self-acceptance at 60 plus, to be honest.

My hope is that a few of you out there looking for something to read on a Sunday afternoon might land here and find an echo of something you’ve been dealing with. And that you’ll want to stay to read more, and maybe even come back again. I’m hoping you’ll converse with me so I won’t be talking to myself. I do enough of that already.

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