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The Courage to be Imperfect


Early in my career in education, I happened upon Adlerian psychology. It offered pragmatic methods for understanding behavior and provided reasonable ways to work with children, families and colleagues. In graduate school I explored Alfred Adler's work more and his belief that, as we moved to embrace democratic principles in a world coming out of the Victorian age, we needed a psychology that helped us in interacting with one another. To make a very long story reasonably short, in my studies I met two individuals who were to become my mentors, Tee Dreikurs, the widow of Rudolf Dreikurs, a pupil of Adler's and the primary individual who introduced his psychology globally and Bob Powers, Dreikurs' associate. In reading some "old" papers the other day, I happened upon a speech that Dreikurs gave shortly before his death. For me, it embodies self-compassion and helps me see that in our imperfection we may well be on the way to being perfect. Here is an excerpt form Dreikurs' speech:

"To be human does not mean to be right, does not mean to be perfect. To be human means to be useful, to make contributions — not for oneself, but for others — to take what there is and to make the best of it. . . . We have to realize that we're good enough as we are; we never will be better, regardless of how much more we may know, how much more skill we may acquire, how much status or money or what-have-you. If we can't make peace with ourselves as we are, we never will be able to make peace with ourselves. This requires the courage to be imperfect; requires the realization that 'I am no angel, that I am no superhuman, that I make mistakes, that I have faults. But I am pretty good because I don't have to be better than the others' — which is a tremendous relief. . . . If we learn to function — to do our best regardless of what it is — out of the enjoyment of the functioning, we can grow just as well, even better than if we drove ourselves to be perfect."

Get Your Ticket to the Global Gala
The more we find ourselves working on the Gala the more we pinch ourselves so to speak, and realize what an exciting event it will be. We've been featuring one of our Humanitarian Awardees in each newsletter. Today we would like to introduce you to Isabel Wilkerson. Isabel is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, has become a leading figure in narrative nonfiction, an interpreter of the human condition, and an impassioned voice for demonstrating how history can help us understand ourselves, our country, and our current era of upheaval. If you haven't read Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, the venerable U.K. bookseller, Waterstone's calls it an "expansive, lyrical and stirring account of the unspoken system of divisions that govern our world." Please put it on your list of books to read and put getting a ticket to our Global Gala on your to do list as well. Visit our Gala pages on our website and purchase tickets for the event. Should the date, November 20th, not work for you--if you've bought a ticket we will send you the link to the broadcast and you'll be able to watch it at a time that suits you. Don't miss it! 

This message from Marilyn Turkovich, Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion, appears in our 10/24/2021 weekly newsletter. To sign up for our newsletter, scroll all the way down to the end of this page to get to the bottom menu, in the newsletter section enter your email address and click on subscribe.

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Tuesday, 30 May 2023
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