My life is far from perfect and I haven't yet accomplished all that I hope to. Even so, I'm starting to realize that I don't have to be miserable about that... even when life challenges me in unimaginable ways.
People like to idealize perfectionism. They convey it as an endearing quirk, a Woody Allen-esque neurosis. But here's the thing: Striving for excellence and setting unrealistic expectations for yourself are very different things.
The fear of failure is an important element of the Creative Superhero's Kryptonite. Its antidote is playing. Go and play. Make a castle out of lego, draw with closed eyes. Leave a mistake in your text. Run with your arms spread wide open.
I thought, "if I can just be perfect, then I will be happy and so will everyone around me." In reality, perfectionism was draining my positive energy, straining my relationships and constraining my joy.
Are you putting off launching your online program, writing your book, getting your website ready or doing your sales copy? Over the past few years, I've talked to hundreds of people who shared similar scenarios.
Our thoughts, actions and behaviors play a powerful role in what type of energy we attract into our lives. That's the good news. It's also the bad news. Oftentimes, we find ourselves participating in negative behavior patterns, even if at a subconscious level.
When we're in perfectionist mode, it certainly does not make our relationships perfect. In fact, it makes them very difficult since our standards are so unrealistic. But when we allow ourselves to be imperfect, others can speak their truth without worrying that we will be crushed or retaliate.
Making peace with failure can soften and possibly eliminate the blow of these self-diminishing assaults. When we make peace with failure -- that is, accepting its inevitability -- we make peace with life and with ourselves.
Perfectionism is a way of closing off and controlling things. It may look pretty on the outside but in reality it's cold, isolated and dark. It's the cracks that let the light in, anyway. So, go on and ease up a bit. Let some light in and shine on!
Am I perfect? Not in any way. Do I like to be healthy? Yes. But am I also human and make choices that aren't always wise or the healthiest thing? Absolutely. And maybe, for me, it's time to start sharing more of myself.
Do you dwell on small mistakes for hours, days, or even weeks after they occur? Are you crushed when someone points out a small flaw in your work? Have you ever spent four hours fine-tuning a task that could have been completed in 10 minutes?
Do you find that setting standards too high by trying to do things too perfectly is a source of stress for you? While doing your best is certainly a virtue, perfectionism -- that is, settling for nothing less than perfect -- has a major down side.