I Don’t Entertain Because I’m Not Perfect Enough

I Don't Entertain Because I'm Not Perfect Enough

The other day I heard these words: I don’t entertain because I’m not perfect enough.

Oh, ouch. Those were painful words to hear.

Women get caught up in the shame web, says Dr. Brene Brown, whose book I’m reading and love. It’s called Daring Greatly, and seriously, anyone who has issues with inviting others into your home should read this book. It’s full of wisdom, tips, insights, truths—about vulnerability, perfectionism, image, relationships. Doesn’t that just have READ written all over it? I really am enjoying learning more about how God has designed me, and how I can be a better person and friend, and accomplish the goals and dreams that God has given to me. We should never stop growing as a person, right?

Dr. Brene says that perfectionism is rooted in shame. Mm-m-m … that can hurt, and it can also go deep, like back into our childhoods. She asked women their definitions or experiences of shame, and this is what she heard:

Definition or experience of shame:

(words in parenthesis are my own)

Look perfect. Do perfect. Be perfect. Anything less than that is shaming. (Wow – it’s all about how we appear on the outside!)

Being judged by our mothers. (Or, our friends?)

Being exposed—the flawed parts of yourself that you want to hide from everyone are revealed. (We want to always look perfect.)

Good enough – no matter what I achieve or how far I’ve come, where I came from and what I’ve survived will always keep me from feeling like I’m good enough. (Never good enough.)

Expectations – even though everyone knows that there’s no way to do it all, everyone still expects it. Shame is when you can’t pull off looking like it’s under control. (A mess on the inside, but looking good on the outside. Marriages and our kids, too.)

Never enough – never enough at home. Never enough at work. Shame means never enough.

Never cool enough – no seat at the cool table. The pretty girls are laughing. (No seat at the cool house? Again, I say create your own party and fun! Don’t wait for others.)

Healthy mentors.

I really believe we need healthy mentors when it comes to hospitality. Young women should be learning, growing, experiencing what it’s really like to invite a family over (and not feel like it has to look like a Pinterest table setting or meal), to watch and see how it’s really done, from the imperfect.

I’m from the “imperfect” category. We have people here all the time, and our hospitality is real.

I Don't Entertain Because I'm Not Perfect Enough

Vulnerability.

Most the time I feel that my parties aren’t really magazine-worthy, but I don’t really care. I move on to what’s real and important.

People only care about coming to spend a few hours with our family! We get to know these people more!

Having things not perfect will actually help me grow, and helps me become more vulnerable.

It’s okay for me to be humbled if a mistake happens or the food isn’t a huge hit.

I Don't Entertain Because I'm Not Perfect Enough

Our kids are watching.

When it’s all said and done, if we haven’t learned this lesson by now, I really feel for our kids who are watching our lives and how we do things.

I want to keep what’s important and real at the forefront of entertaining, and not lose sight of that.

In the end, we’ll all be blessed.

Do you feel you aren’t good or perfect enough to entertain?

22 comments on “I Don’t Entertain Because I’m Not Perfect Enough”

  1. I am 85 years old, and I am still trying to live up to the impossible standards of perfection instilled in me by my parents. When I critique myself, I always come up wanting. I wish I could have all the years back that I wasted trying to make everything “just right”. I am happy to say that I am getting better – sometimes I stay in my robe all day, don’t make the bed, and eat cereal for dinner, and it doesn’t bother me at all, but it took far too long to get here..

  2. I was caught by the headline of this post and it helped reveal why we don’t entertain a lot. Thanks for writing about this- I think it’s an important topic. I guess I’m a bit of a reluctant entertainer too.

  3. I really need to pick up Brene’s book. I love her talks on vulnerability, and I am a perfectionist through and through. I hate how paralyzing it can be. Thank you for the reminder and tips.

  4. Thanks so much for speaking such truth. I really appreciate your wisdom and am thankful that you share it with us! I’ve learned so much from your blog – you shine a light on hospitality/entertaining that I just don’t hear much and it is so encouraging to me.

  5. I love what you teach, Sandy – and I’ve learned so much from you – thank you for all you do

  6. What a great post, Sandy!

  7. I am learning to enjoy hospitality as long as I remember it is about the heart behind it. When I loose sight of that & think it has to do with presentation or perfection I get stressed & spin out. Thankful for the opportunities I have to practice that by welcoming others in to our mess :).

  8. Wow! Lovely post. While growing up all the dinners with family were held at our house, because my brother has always been in a wheel chair and it was just easy for him and for my parents too. Years ago I learned something about myself, I have a hospitality heart. This has been a learning process, serve others with a godly loving heart. At first I was not comfortable cooking for larger crowds (more than us four), and opening our house to people that were not family members. It wasn’t easy at first, but God has been working with us (four) and now we look forward to entertaining. It is still a working process. We are definately not perfect at it, but we are enjoying the time we share with others.

  9. I entertain a lot at my house. I have even had people over to my house when I had a big hole in my kitchen ceiling because of a water leak. Guess what! I did not care. I am a recent breast cancer survivor. I am here for one more day to be with my kids and husband. That’s what is important. Being able to be with friends and family no matter what your house looks like.

  10. This was a great post and a wonderful reminder. I was talking with a fellow mother of toddlers recently. She said that she regularly deletes/unfriends people on social media if the photos they post of their children/families show anything messy/cluttered in their environment because she “doesn’t want to associate with people with such low standards”. I was completely taken aback. My initial reaction was to feel completely inadequate myself because my own home is usually far from being clutter-free. I also wondered if I would be the next on her hit list if what I shared was found to be less than perfect. Then I really started to think about it and felt sad for her and what she may be missing out on by expecting perfection from anyone she has in her life and jettisoning those who don’t meet her standards. I am reminded of the quote attributed to Mother Teresa, “If you spend all of your time judging people, you have no time to love them.” This applies to the judgments we impose on ourselves and others and we need to learn to be kinder all around.

    • Thanks for sharing, Aye. Wow, those are some harsh reactions! I love that quote by Mother Teresa, too. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. I love this! I do entertain some, but I’m always a MAJOR stressball because people have certain expectations of food from a food blogger, haha. I loved reading this post and I just ordered Daring Greatly. That book sounds right up my alley.

  12. I was going to say…
    If and when I’ve laxed off in having folks in our home – that is when I’ll start to feel that “I’m not good enough” to do this.

    Practice. Practice Hospitality (Romans 12:13)

    It takes the consistent, doing this over and over (for me!) to “overcome” the fear of whatever it is..??

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