My milk glass toppled over after I accidently brushed it with my hand and I burst into tears.
I remember the incident vividly. I was thirteen years old (13!!!) and my mom and her boyfriend were in the kitchen with me.
Mom’s boyfriend looked at me with a look of sympathy in his eyes and said, “It’s just spilled milk. It’s ok. Here, we’ll clean it up.”
OMG, I was mortified at my outburst. I suppose I could chalk it up to hormones, but even then I knew that wasn’t the cause of my tears.
I was frustrated with myself for making such a stupid mistake (yes, those were the exact thoughts in my head).
Sounds crazy, right?
Middle school was a tough time in my life. In eighth grade I was bullied in P.E. by the class “popular girl.” Already an introvert, I became timid and just wanted to become invisible.
My parents had high expectations of me (I’m not criticizing, mom and dad!) and I had even higher expectations of myself.
So between wanting to be invisible and perfect, the spilled milk just threw me over the edge.
Wow, this is a tough email to write as I remember back to that era in my life. The scars are still there, but I am stronger for it (though I don’t wish bullying on anyone for self-growth).
I still struggle with perfectionism (which I suppose is good for my clients as we craft the “perfect”—or at least a pretty damn good-- estate and legacy plan for them) but with almost five decades under my belt now and lots of life experience, I’m much more practical and have learned to cut myself some slack.
I won’t have the perfect “10” body no matter how much I eat healthy or work out.
I will inadvertently rub folks the wrong way.
I will say things that I instantly regret.
But despite my many flaws, I have learned to love myself and my life more now than I have at any other point in my life.
I appreciate all of the many blessings in my life, especially the people in my life—my family, my friends, my clients, my co-workers, my network.
I will continue to make mistakes but I strive daily to always learn from them, take personal responsibility for them, make amends to others, and then forgive myself.
I also strive to not sweat the small stuff. And frankly, a lot of what you and I fret about is indeed small stuff, like the proverbial (or literal) spilled milk.
Kristen “No Longer Crying Over Spilled Milk” Marks
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