Do you strive for perfection?
I used to. Actually ‘strive’ is probably an understatement.
I was pretty much the worst when it came to perfectionism… or the best haha. I remember feeling incredibly wound up, like my nervous system was no longer made of delicate nerve fibres but sharp copper wires encased in steel. To me, there was no way to guarantee all things ‘going to plan’ other than through high stress, working beyond my limits and self flagellation.
But not anymore. I understand now that ‘done’ is better than perfect. I am lovingly embracing of my humanness, my capacity for error and poor judgement. Instead of perfection I’m more interested in honesty and learning, nurturing a healthy curiosity about life and what it can teach us. I’m incredibly compassionate with myself, I know when things are getting ‘too much’ and I listen to my gut when it says to slow down. To nourish. To come back to my center. To continue pouring love into myself, no matter what has taken place.
So yeah, I’ve kind of nailed it.
Except…. for the 10%.
No matter how much I have learned these things, know in my heart and in my head that perfection is ridiculous – there is always a smidge of me that I won’t let me off the hook.
I am so full of compassion for other people, for their shitty days and shitty words – beyond what’s probably fair. I give people 100% grace. I will often share with them that they’re ‘only human’ and how to practise self-love techniques. I practise these myself regularly, and I have a view that anyone can recover from anything. A perspective that sees shame as a normal human emotion that can always be healed, and that together we can keep rising above our circumstances until we find love.
And yet – I don’t give myself all of this. I give myself 90% of it. And the rest I keep hidden in some dark corner of myself, forced to stare at the wall and sit in the shame with no reprieve. And I believe that somehow this is only fair. Because while other people really don’t have to be perfect, there’s a small part of me that can never let go. Can never fully surrender.
Recently I had a friend share that he had released his self-judgement in his sporting career but had unintentionally brought that over into his personal growth. I can really relate to this. When I left my corporate job I was committed in my heart and mind to not working to extremes anymore, that I would be kind to myself and create space around my creativity. But omg was it hard. My ideas of what ‘success’ meant were linked directly to the amount of stress I was experiencing. So, if I wasn’t pulling all-nighters or missing meals then I wasn’t working ‘hard enough’ and there was no way I could be successful. Sheeeeeesh.
And now again, as I release some of that pressure around business – I bring over a similar sense of perfection and struggle to my spiritual and personal growth. To my relationships, to the way I should always be able to be and say the right things for others all the time. It’s the same thing happening in a different way!
So it turns out no, I have not ‘nailed’ this non-perfectionist thing.
Life is messy and perfect
Learning about yourself is kind of constant and relentless. Just when you think you have a handle on things, the rug gets pulled from underneath you. But I guess that’s what the journey of life is all about. If you resonate with this journey with perfectionism and want to dive deeper, I have a couple of recommendations. Regardless of what you take from them, they are guaranteed to make things feel lighter and more possible!
- Gabrielle Bernstein – Judgement Detox (much more practical than I had expected, and a great window into how judgement of ourselves and others reflects inner wounds that we can observe, embrace and heal. It’s good for us and good for the world!)
- Brené Brown – Gifts of Imperfection
- This guided self-reflection we shared recently on taking care of yourself in times of trouble – it’s both preventative and responsive!
So we might spend a couple of days in the dark, forgetting who we are and how to feel grateful. But over time, light will shine in our face again – and we’ll remember. We’ll remember that we’re not alone, that we’re connected to something greater, and that in the big (giant) scheme of things – we’re okay. Life is a sweet roller coaster ride, absolute glee and vomiting in the one. And from there, it’s just one step in front of the other until we feel contented and calm – enjoying it all, until we fall again. That’s why it pays to be in the present moment when you’re feeling really great! Even as I write this, coming out of my days in the dark, I know that I want it all to happen again. I want to feel and experience all that life has to offer – fairy floss and spew and stomach dropping moments alike 😉
Here’s to being messy, beautiful humans!
Love and magic,