Perfectionism is insidious. Have you ever felt trapped in its claws?
Yes, there are certain instances in which exactness is essential. If you ever have a brain surgeon, no doubt you would like him to aim for perfection. Likely for an architect and builder, too.
Yet there are so many areas in which the quest for perfection limits us from performing as well as we could, or from getting our projects out into the world. Have you ever experienced that?
What if you could let it go? From the books I could edit until I’m 80, to the videos that are still in my camera – never to see the light of day because of the flaws that are too great to edit out, perfectionism has been my frenemy for years.
It’s true, I was trained to perfect the pointed toe, the arabesque and pirouette. And the work paid off, landing me a professional ballet contract at age 15. Yet even in the dance company, where I stared at my body in the mirror for hours each day, perfectionism stopped me up– a sort of energetic constipation that kept me from the ease of being and performing as well as I could.
After all does judging ones-self all day long bring relaxation and peace to the body and mind, or a harsh, pent up tension? Perfectionism requires judgment, weighing– is it perfect? Is it not?
What if we could let go of the constant need to judge ourselves, our actions and creations against some ideal? After all, whose version of perfect are we after? Is it ours? Our parents’? Society’s? Would achieving perfection really bring the happiness that it promises?
If we abandon the need for perfection and instead focus on the enjoyment of creation, what changes? I have a three-year-old who likes to draw caterpillars. Interlooping circles, with stick legs, giant lopsided smiles, and no feet enter our house in droves. Each time one arrives, it is accompanied by a tiny hand and a proud face. My son never says, “well here’s my drawing. I know it’s not perfect or anything, but….”
No. He was happy to create it and is happy to present it to the world. Is that the way you live? Or is it a possibility that lived in your past, and was trampled to the ground long ago, by some well-meaning individual who “loved” you enough to expect more from you? Or even some individual or group who didn’t seem to care about you, but had high standards that seemed attainable if you would give it all you’ve got, trying and perfecting until you “got it right”? Maybe then they would notice you. Maybe then you would be good enough.
Is it time to give up the need to please the world, and start to please yourself- perhaps adding to the delight on the planet just by being, and doing, and creating? And possibly, in giving up the need to be right, perfect and good- easing into a space in which magic emerges.
What I know is that magic does not occur from judgment. Magic arises through asking and allowing, and an innate receptivity that we can all access. What could we invite by being the space of curiosity and delight that is so natural to a three-year-old? Which means it’s natural to you. To us.
My creations, imperfectly imperfect as they are, are moving into the world at a delightful pace, and with a sense of joy that was previously missing. I’ve even been on two radio shows on this topic – Perfectionism as the Killer of Creation on Creating Beyond Reality with Heather Nichols, and Perfectionism on Imperfect Brilliance, with my co-hosts Sadie Lake, and Betsy McLoughlin. People have begged for more, so Sadie, Betsy and I have created a class on this far-reaching topic. Call in, ask questions, receive awareness and clearings- and break free, and if you miss the call, catch the replay! www.imperfectbrilliance.com or find us on Facebook!! How much fun can you have creating and playing beyond perfectionism? And what if beyond perfect is fun?!