When we take the 1550s English Proverb “practice makes perfect” to heart, we put unnecessary pressure and unrealistic expectations on ourselves. It can also keep us locked into our comfort zones and afraid of trying something different for fear of failing. Love relationships give us vast opportunities to practice communicating openly, expressing ourselves, allowing our partner to be and do what’s best for them, being open to how our relationship unfolds, etc.
"Practice makes perfect" has a heavy energy to it and doesn’t inspire me to try new things or new ways of being. It makes me feel pressured to do things perfectly. When I’ve taken the approach of "practice makes better", it takes the pressure off and opens up a space inside of me to experiment without feeling like I’ve got to do things right.
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Like most men, my fiancé likes to give me advice. In the past, I would become upset sometimes when he "told me what to do". I took it as, "He doesn’t think I’m competent and he’s trying to control me." I wasn’t able to hear the good intentions behind his words. After several incidences, he pointed out that I couldn’t hear what he was saying because I was projecting my past experiences from my dad and a former boss onto him.
After reflecting on this, I saw grains of truth in what he said. I started to notice what triggered this reaction inside of me by practicing being present. Because I didn’t put the pressure on myself with "practice makes perfect", it became more like an experiment. I was able to stay open, curious and non-judgmental about the situation, him and me. This eventually led me to understand his good intentions and be more open to his advice. Things have greatly improved in this area of my life because I’m striving for better, not perfect.
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What is one unproductive love situation that keeps coming up for you? One that you can consistently apply the “practice makes better” principle? Taking an experimental approach to improving your love life is guaranteed to move you closer to your ideal relationship.
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