Perfection: That Thing We Aspire To. But WHY?
Ahhhhh Perfection. Perfection. Some of us chase being perfect. Some of us hate on folks viewed as ‘perfect.’ Some of us choke the Life outta ourselves in the name of being perfect. Why?
Some of us pride ourselves on being perfectionists. But are we happier as a result? What happens after something is “perfect?” Then it’s about having the next thing be perfect then the next and the next. Which isn’t possible.
Perfection is defined by the English Cambridge Dictionary as ‘the state of being complete and correct in every way’ WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA really?
And Webster’s Dictionary defines perfection as ‘the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.’
GREAT GOOGA MOOGA! That’s a pretty tall and impossible thing to aspire to. Why do we torture ourselves to reach that ideal? WhyWhyWhyWhyWhy???? It only causes pain for you and for the people around you. I do understand going for excellence in everything you do, I understand doing your very level best. And wanting that from Life as well.
That’s for machines and even they break down.
Flaws and More Flaws
I always cringe when I hear people say ‘oh my flaws are this and that’ or ‘his/hers/their flaws are this and that, or being asked in an interview, “what are your flaws?” No wonder our self-esteem is generally in the gutter! Why look at yourself, things or people as having flaws? Why not be able to Appreciate you, things and people as they are? Why are things and people to have flaws?
And why are you listening to that?
That judging thing. How can you possibly ever get to a place of Peace if you are seeking perfection in everyone and everything including yourself? Part of being able to have more Joy and Peace in Life is in not being so judgmental. Allowing things, situations and people to be who and what they are. Being able to change or leave what you can and Accepting the things you cannot change or leave.
Sure, if you pay for a product and/or service, you expect to receive that product and/or service as described. If you plan a wedding you expect the darn thing to go as planned. But. That doesn’t always happen. And if you view things from a ‘perfection’ lens you’re gonna be disappointed.
Expecting the Impossible to Be Possible
Remember these definitions of perfection: ‘the state of being complete and correct in every way’ and ‘the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.’ Newsflash: LIFE ISN’T PERFECT, it is an on-going, ever-expanding Experience. And since you are a part of Life, you are Life, how can you expect things, situations and people including yourself to be perfect?? Surrrrre, when we are in the State of Enjoyment, be that with a person, situation, place or experience, in our hearts and minds it is perfect because it is a Manifestation of a desire and it makes us feel good.
So, like a drug, we seek perfection in Life. But that is something that is just impossible. And it’s rigid–if something doesn’t fit an ideal then we’re unhappy and judging. And believe it or not, perfectionism is limiting. There is no room in perfection for growth, for expansion or being able to have Compassion because things don’t fit your ideal (which is really based on someone else’s ideal of what they deem perfect).
And, what is perfection really? It is very subjective, what one person sees as perfect, another would poke holes in it. Perfection is a form of control, it tells you that you are not good enough, what you do is not good enough. EVER.
Perfection According to Social Media
Some of the things that social media tells you:
👎 Your nose ain’t like hers so it’s bad. Hers is the perfect nose.
👎 Your body ain’t like hers so it’s bad. You need to fix it. Hers is THE perfect body…(the hell with the fact that she’s photoshopped and filtered for blood!)
👎 There’s something wrong with you if you’re not following the hottest trend, cause it’s the PERFECT thing to do right now!
👎 YOU NEED THIS! IT’S PERFECT (and you’re not!)
👎 The perfect getaway! You’re not there? You’re not perfect, fool!
👎 The perfect diet! You’re not on it? YOU SHOULD BE CAUSE YOU’RE FAT!
And on and on and on! No wonder more people than ever are depressed and anxious, especially the young’uns coming up, how can you live up to perfection?
All This, From a Reformed Perfectionist
Honestly, I didn’t really become happy until I was able to tamp down the perfectionism mindset. Did I have happy moments before? Of course. But was I always looking for the perfect whatever? The perfect mate, the perfect timing, the perfect situation, the perfect show, etc. And that my friends, was not the makings to having a happy Life. Things had to be done my way which was the perfect way. Things had to fall into place in a perfect way or it wasn’t valid.
It wasn’t until I began to release the self-imposed constraints of having to be perfect that I able to see how controlling a person I really was. And honestly? Perfectionism is EXHAUSTING. As I began to unbuckle the perfectionism yoke I was ultimately able to go more with the flow in relationships and in Life as I let go of the need for things to be ‘perfect.’
(Now that ain’t sayin’ that if my dude puts something on the sink at the ‘wrong’ angle that I won’t straighten it back to my liking, but the fact that he never puts things back the way he finds them doesn’t wear me out like it used to).
A Message From A Friend
I just told you that I a reformed perfectionist. Yes, paying attention to detail has served me well as a performer, choreographer and teacher. BUT. The added layer of stress to make someone get things perfect or to have a perfect set of circumstances within a project, ah well, that I let go of.
And oh gosh! Heaven forbid a child messed up during a show, I would’ve had a COW in my seat, totally unable to enjoy the show. Now if and when that happens, I’m like hahaha and keep it moving. It does not stop my Enjoy Flow.
I had a visitation from a dear friend and mentor in a dream which was as vivid as the keyboard I am typing on. I was a frequent guest at her school in Colombia and the dream took place a few months after her passing. It was in the school’s main dance studio and with a few variations was exactly as I knew it.
Toward the end of the dream, some children appeared in costume and started dancing. They were in vertical lines and one of them started going the wrong way. Then, a few more began going the wrong way and I remember looking over at my friend in utter surprise because instead of being upset, she was laughing!
And mannnnnn, you wanna talk about a perfectionist? She was DEFINTELY one while on Earth! OMG!
In the dream she said, “Jah-key, it’s okayyyy if they go left,” and continued laughing.
Needless to say, that got my attention!
Let Go of The Shackles of Perfectionism
Perfectionism can make for a very stressful and anxious existence. Since Life is not perfect nor are Human Beings, trying to squeeze stuff into an ideal is a bit rough. It takes a toll on our health and Inner Being over time. Sure, there are plenty of careers and jobs where that kind of detail is called for and you may excel in your career but for how long ultimately will you be able to sustain that in all aspects of your Life and be happy, Peaceful and able to go with the Flow?
Here’s a quote from a 2008 Psychology Today article written by Mel Schwartz L.C.S.W.
“The closest thing to perfection is in the ability to be fully present. Without any distracting thoughts measuring or grading ourselves, we’re free to really be in the moment. It’s at that moment that we’re truly alive. Yet, the perfectionist isn’t typically present, as they’re either busy critiquing the past and replaying their every decision or worrying about the future. So you see the perfectionist is never really present. Isn’t that ironic?”
“The pursuit of perfection limits our ability to be present and literally robs us of the vitality of life. It is unachievable, unimaginable, and frankly undesirable, so why pursue it? Your time would be far better spent in delving into how to heal the insecurity that catalyzed the desire for perfection in the first place. Perfection is a terribly misplaced goal and most often compensation for what really troubles us.”
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