We use perfectionism to excuse insecurity, to cover up fear and allow for playing small.
We use perfectionism in a bid to ward off failure, to protect ourselves from judgement, to keep us on course for achieving the standard ‘they’ expect.
We use it to hold back disappointment and hang onto belief, belief that you can do, say and be everything exactly as you need to.
To be accepted, praised, recognised, validated, approved of.
We keep striving for the ultimate achievement, for the perfect accomplishment.
But when we get to perfect will we know we have reached our destination?
Is there a gatekeeper who will recognise our perfection and tell us we have arrived, that we have achieved that which we have spent so much time, effort and mental energy on trying to create?
And where is all the information about what perfect looks like? How can we achieve it if we don’t know what the criteria are that we are trying to meet? What ultimately defines perfection?
Well, let me see if I can help you with that.
The Merriam Webster definitions for ‘perfect’ include:
1. conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type:
2. excellent or complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement:
3. exactly fitting the need in a certain situation or for a certain purpose:
4. entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings:
5. accurate, exact, or correct in every detail:
Is that what we are really striving for? Being ‘entirely without any flaws, defects or shortcomings’.
Well I’m afraid I’ve already lost the game then.
And as for being excellent or complete, beyond practical or theoretical improvement, I know I won’t be matching up to that definition any time soon, so I’m out on more than one count.
But I’m really not too concerned. It’s perfectly ok with me that I’m not the definition of perfect.
Because perfection just doesn’t exist.
Just like I gave up lying awake in bed waiting for Santa to arrive on Christmas Eve (who also doesn’t exist by the way, sorry), I have no desire to keep on chasing something that is a fantasy I can’t ever hope to experience in reality.
Perfection is an unobtainable figment of the imagination.
We have ideals, and hope for things being perfect, but as long as we are human, the reality is something much more unique and much more wonderful instead.
Yet the quest for perfection paralyses and mutates the possibilities of so many incredible people, with important gifts to offer the world.
Too many people strive for perfection at a cost much higher than the ever-elusive reward of achieving it. They keep climbing that mountain of perfection, while the peak keeps rising out of their reach.
Maybe this disheartens you? Maybe it makes it all seem pointless?
But what I’m saying is, that it just doesn’t have to be so hard.
What if your best is perfectly good enough?
What if doing everything the best way, to the best standard you know how, is all that is required?
Doesn’t that give you some space? Some room to move and think and be and do?
Doesn’t that release the constricting, rigid and invisible binds of perfection that have kept you in that one space, all this time?
Perfection will hold you down. Your best will empower you and let you fly.
Perfection will never let you measure up. Your best is always exactly enough.
Perfection will hold you at arms length. Your best is already in your heart ready to use.
Your best is your unique, top shelf offering to the world. It is better than perfection because it is utterly and completely inimitable and branded with all the parts of you.
Anyone who ever said ‘Your best isn’t good enough’, was looking for perfect. And knowing what I know now, they never found it.
When you stop chasing perfection, it doesn’t mean giving in or giving less. It means making room for more, more of your best you.
It means being willing to offer up exactly what you have right now, instead of waiting for what you have to be perfect.
There will always be room for improvement, for changes and adjustments, and that’s awesome because then your best just keeps getting better.
And you can shine brighter and brighter with every expression, every offering, every gift you put into the world.
Letting go of perfection is an act of self love, it is an expression of self acceptance and personal validation.
It is the loving acknowledgement that you are perfectly good enough, just as you are, right now.
Which is true, right?
How are you holding onto the quest for perfection in your life, and what will make it ok to let it go? I’d love for you to share you thoughts and insights in the comments below.