Imperfection is perfect!
Are you a perfectionist?
The kind of person that always looks at something that is just finished, hearing that little voice saying: “You should have done that better.” Or: “You could have done that better.”?
Are you the kind of person that sees fault in what you have just done and then gets easily dissatisfied, discouraged, feeling that you failed or are simply not good enough at it?
From where I stand now, I would say: Congratulations! You have discovered your passion and your innate drive to shine your light.
Because: What if it is meant to be imperfect? Maybe the only thing needed is a shift in perspective. A way to turn the energy of that negative self talk into a force for good.
We are always evolving. Evolution and growth is inherit to being human. We will not strive to go backwards in our lives, instead we seek to move forward.
What if this little critical voice is just misinterpreted feedback? You did the best you could, which is fantastic. And now, just because of your innate wish to grow, you start to look at what the possibilities in your unfoldment are.
Because you now had an experience of doing something, you reached a next level of skills. It is natural that from this new point of view you know more and have the capacity to reflect upon what you just did.
How come that we so often misinterpret that clearer vision of the task at hand as imperfection or even failure? Let’s stop doing that and celebrate our accomplishments and the fact that we have the ability to take it to the next level.
Because isn’t that the most wonderful experience we can have as human beings? This perpetuate ability to evolve and get better at things…
Imagine the athlete who can do a 10 km run, but never did a marathon. Now he decides to do that and starts his training. Would he stop when slowing down at 20 km seeing everybody else overtake him? Or will he stop at the first moment that his time schedule is behind the world’s best time? An athlete doesn’t do that. Instead athletes start analyzing and searching for the best possibility for progress…
Maybe we should start treating our talents like athletes do! Let’s go for the process and enjoy our growth.
Embrace the perfectionism
Unhealthy perfectionism is the constant comparison between what we are actually achieving and the expectations we have of ourselves and our dreams. It is about the disappointment of not having it done right the first time.
Some think it is about the comparison with other people. I believe it is not. We can compare ourselves with people and smile at the differences. If I see a fabulous painting in a museum or in a gallery with a huge price tag, I am happy for the creator. It would not stop me from painting myself and I wouldn’t compare my results with that work. Nor would I be disturbed by anyone swimming faster, climbing higher, earning more money, singing better or… many other things. If anything, I feel happy for them fulfilling their dreams.
That may shift a bit when it comes to things that are important to me. Fields that I have chosen to be dear to me. My areas of expression, my talents, skills or goals. I’ll give you an example here as well. I am now writing about perfectionism. If I would read an article somewhere else tomorrow that words my thoughts much better than I do here… well, that would make me hold in for a moment. Then I will compare.
Fortunately seeing other people doing things better does not throw me off my own track. But there was a time it did. Back then I used to ask myself why bother anyway. And there would be many other thoughts that you probably can relate to and that I don’t have to repeat here swirling through my head. Perfectionist know their inner talk… An inner talk that is dangerous, because it leads to procrastination or even worse: not doing at all what we deep down want to do most.
I have learned that the earea in which I have the tendency to perfectionism is where my own highest potential and my biggest dreams are. Because in these fields I want to make progress. These are the things I want to be good at. They are the talents that I love to share with others. With these expressions I want to give my contribution to the world.
And of course I notice the next steps in my evolution when I see them! That’s what they are meant to be: signals to me as to where I can take it to a new level. My comparison is the gift. It shows me what I care about. It shows me the direction of my growth.
I can elaborate a lot about the cause of unhealthy perfectionism. Yet I would like to leave it here. Because so often looking for causes is looking outside of us. Or looking inside as to how we respond to outside conditions. Personally I think we can bypass that – and only go there when there is no other solution. To me there is a simple solution and that is shifting the way we look at it.
And now, don’t start to beat yourself up if you are not perfect at that shift. :-) Yes, I write that out of experience… It takes one to know one…
So next time when perfectionism seems to hit – smile and cheer and be happy! You just discovered something that is very important to you and that wants to shine its light into this world. Mine for the potential in it and then start to joyfully evolve.
Have fun with it! (Btw – did you download the 7 one-minute mindfulness exercises? They help to relax and see things in another perspective)
- be aware of your perfectionism and start to embrace it instead of rejecting it
- if you know any people with the tendency to beat themselves up over their imperfections, share this article with them so that they too can reflect upon their perspective
- reply below with your feelings and thoughts. Writing things down is proven to be a key component to remembering our insights