We’ve all heard the statement “Let it go, no one is perfect and will never be”.
Yeah, easier said than done and this coming from a perfectionist.
P e r f e c t i o n i s m.
It’s like a frenemy. It’s a relationship that seems nice on some occasions, but can be a complete nightmare on others. It seems harmless when it gives you the appearance of being diligent by all the excessive effort placed into something. Nothing beats putting a little grit into it. It makes things neater. It helps make sense of things. Surely, that’s not bad right?
Sure, there’s nothing wrong with being concerned about the quality of something. However, it becomes harmful when you over identify with what you want perfected. Let’s break it down a bit.
We’ve all heard the aftermath of perfectionism: burnout, cynicism, irritability, imposter’s syndrome- the list goes on. It makes every step unbearable, heavy with a mind filled with what isn’t perfect in our lives. It makes us question ourselves to death with what we’re missing or what can be improved in a bizarre way. Our value as a person becomes boxed into what our mind wants. In a subtle way, it binds our very identity with this unattainable concept. If someone or something encroaches on what we want perfected, it's war and we suddenly find ourselves as the Hulk. And it’s crazy how such a contradiction dictates our lives when one is aware that no one is ‘perfect’.
Think about it. Depending on the context, perfection might mean /this/ to you this morning, but can mean something completely different by the time it's evening. I know we’re smart people. We know this, yet why do we still fall into this destructive pattern? Crazy, right?
But what if, in this convoluted contradictory mess, there is a contradictory answer?
What if our way of beating a bizarre thinking pattern is with a bizarre action?
When we fall down the rabbit hole of chasing perfection (whatever the heck that is), we chase after an unknown concept. Its meaning changes depending on context and culture. So instead of torturing ourselves going after such an elusive thing, why don’t we turn to imperfection instead?
Now, you might think I’m suggesting to ‘settle for less’ or simply ‘give up’. It’s easy to immediately have a negative connotation to such an idea, but imperfection doesn’t have to be an object of scorn. Maybe it’s the key to open the door to freedom. And coming from a control freak like me, it seems insane to even go there, but maybe there’s more to it.
Yeah, there are things that I haven't been able to achieve in the way I want it to. Things seem slow, bleak- but there’s more to it than what we realize. Maybe letting go and letting things be can be a start to something beautiful. It's progress-not towards my goals in a death race. It's progress towards what's meant to be.
I know, this post sounds super cheesy and the typical, temporary pat on the back, but really think about it. How bad can imperfection be? Give yourself more credit than that! If we detach what others have deemed as ‘worthless’, what can imperfection mean to you?
For me? It’s recognizing my individual print in this world, in this year, in this moment. It’s being able to recognize life for what it is and not what it isn’t- and that's okay! It doesn't mean that I'll become stagnant as I fear, rather it might just be the solution I need to really do things I was born to do.
When I asked someone what they thought about imperfection, they said: “ I like to think of it as something that makes a person alive.” I prompted them to elaborate what they meant by that and their response, “It’s what unites us as human beings”.
It's not a bad thought, is it?
Honestly, I'm still learning to embrace this concept- some days are more challenging than others, but I'm pressing on until this becomes second nature. Until I'm no longer a prisoner to these tendencies.
What are your thoughts on this? We would love to hear your opinions on this!