NEWSFLASH: you are imperfect.Yep, it's true. So am I. It's a gift to be imperfect and know it. I'll tell you why.
I didn't think I had an issue with perfectionism until recently. I thought I was pretty present with my imperfection and had been on top of it. This past semester, while talking with my professor about my paper she said, "um, I think you're a bit of a perfectionist". I might have protested a bit and my jaw may have hit the floor. I didn't think I was, but apparently it's more obvious to others. I call those things, "blind spots".
blind spot: something you don't see in yourself that others see in technicolor. With glitter.
That's another bummer about perfectionism, it fools us into thinking we can actually ace it. Like, with enough work, we can totally be/do it. I had a colleague once who was definitely driven by perfectionism. It made me sad, really, because he was so sure he was totally on top of everything. He crossed every t and dotted every i in his work. He wore a tie, every day, in a business casual work environment. He worked relentlessly to produce impeccable results, and he often did! The problem was, he was bound to mess up at some point. He sometimes did or said things that left people with a bad experience. This isn't bad or wrong, we are all imperfect after all, but the problem was that he didn't think he was doing that. He was pretty convinced he was perfect. In reality, he left others with exactly the opposite of what he thought he was doing.
When we are driven by perfectionism sometimes we forget that someone, somewhere, at some point will not perceive us as being perfect at all. It is completely, undeniably impossible to be perfect to all people and all things at all times. Even when we meet our own standards of being perfect, it probably means someone is seeing all those things as the opposite of perfection.
I just saved you a lot of time and energy. You're off the hook. No need to stress anymore.
Instead of trying to be perfect, I want to encourage you to ace imperfection. I want you to really settle into this and embrace it. I figure, if we are all going to fall short of our own personal ideals, and those of others, we might as well f^*&$(g rock at it.
Acing imperfection starts with basic self-awareness. The next step, after seeing the ways you aren't perfect, is to accept them. Every single one. Accept and embrace them, because they are what make you, you. The sooner you're cool with that, the sooner you stop hanging out in the Land of Denial. And that works better for everyone in your life--mostly you.
Your awareness of your own imperfection is a gift because when you know the ways you're imperfect, it makes you that much more grateful when someone loves you, anyway. When you can lean into the things that aren't so savory about you, and accept yourself for those things, the love other people have for you means so much more. They see the things that you know about or don't even see yourself and they still consider you precious.
We all want to feel ok. We want self-confidence and self-esteem. These sometimes feel so far out of reach and that's why it's so much easier to love and be around someone who is ok with being imperfect than someone who is tirelessly (and unsuccessfully) trying to be perfect. It helps when we all embrace each others' imperfection.
Lead the way and give up perfectionism. Ace imperfection, instead.
photo courtesy of Google images