Perfectionism is a debilitating disease; a dangerous trap. It’s that internal voice telling you things are never good enough. The voice saying you’re never good enough.
It’s easy to get caught up in life striving for perfection. Striving to look perfect, act perfect and to carry out tasks perfectly. There becomes an incessant internal drive to get it right, do it right and to be right. When you’re caught in this state you’re failing to see that your uniqueness and true personality shines when you’re able to let go of the pursuit of perfection. Who you really are comes out when you’re able to fully accept yourself exactly how you are.
“Perfection is an unattainable illusion that taints reality.” ~C. Adia
When you’re striving to maintain perfection you’re reaching for an imaginary standard. Quite often it’s a standard that was set by someone or something else (your family, society, friends, etc…). When you live your life with perfection as your standard you see your “flaws” – all the unique quirks and idiosyncrasies you possess – as shortcomings. If you’re a perfectionist you see all your imperfections as things that need to be corrected or eliminated. In the pursuit of being perfect you conform to the person you think you need to be, while working hard to keep the person you naturally are from being seen. You are not you.
There is no individuality in living your life by imposed standards. You diminish your own power when you’re caught up in the pursuit of perfection. Your strength is in the uniqueness and imperfections you possess. The “flaws” are what make you, you. The “flaws” are what help you grow.
The imperfections you see as hindrances can be your greatest assets.
When you adopt the façade of being perfect you’re caught in the game of trying to be something you’re not and never will be – perfect. Your pursuit of perfectionism is an internal shield hiding your wounds and fears.
Trying to maintain a perfect persona is stressful and draining; it’s unrealistic. In the pursuit of perfection who you show up as externally doesn’t match who you truly are internally and it becomes hard for others to connect and relate to you. It also becomes hard for you to connect and relate to yourself. Authentically connecting with others comes when you are able to showcase who you truly are, imperfections and all.
Self-awareness comes in the realization that you don’t have to change who you are to fit in, or to be liked/loved. Self-acceptance is realizing that your imperfections are what make you perfect.
Next time you hear that internal voice pushing you towards perfection stop and ask yourself these four questions:
1. Where is this internal drive for perfection coming from?
2. Why do I believe I need to be perfect? Or, why do I believe I have to do this perfectly?
3. Who do I think I’ll let down if I’m not perfect?
4. What will happen if I simply do the best I can, letting good enough be good enough, and move on.
Through these questions you’ll gain insight into the internal drive that is pushing you towards the unrealistic expectation of perfection. By answering these questions you can start to heal the wounds and fears your internal shield is hiding. As you heal you’ll find peace with who you are, just as you are, and you’ll start to see that you are always enough.
“Life is a journey of progress, not perfection.”