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Perfection isn’t Perfect

Are you a perfectionist? I for sure have been most of my life. I always thought if I looked perfect and did everything perfectly that no one would be able to find fault in anything I did.

I wanted to look perfect, I wanted my kids to be dressed perfect and act perfect, I wanted my house and car to be perfect. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was really trying to avoid the pain of shame for not measuring up. I did not want people to be able to judge me for not doing things well enough. If I was and did everything perfectly, how could they judge me?

In a way I became addicted to perfectionism.

In my mind, I couldn’t do or be enough. So I tried harder and harder to be more perfect. I went from one thing in my life to the next, never feeling like anything was enough.  I was so engrossed in my quest for perfection that I couldn’t possibly see how defective the whole idea of perfectionism was.

Perfection can keep us from following our dreams because of our deep fear of failing, making mistakes, and disappointing others. 

What if we never pursue what is in our hearts because we are waiting for everything to be perfect to start or for everyone to approve of what we’re doing or for a guarantee that we will succeed?

Perfectionism chips away at our self-worth.

When we don’t measure up to our idea of perfect, we shame ourselves with critical self-talk.

Perfectionism is about trying to earn approval and acceptance.

Striving to do our best is all about growing and expanding. It’s about giving ourselves grace for showing up and being seen.  

For me, the key to recovering from my perfectionism has been self compassion. When I am loving to myself I avoid shame for not accomplishing what I thought I should. I remember to talk to myself in the same loving way that I would talk to a small child who needed comforted.

I am gentle with my imperfections. I accept them and don’t shame myself for them. I strive to change the behaviors I do not want. When you think about it, our imperfections are what draw us to each other. They are our common ground, our connection. We can relate to other’s imperfections more than their perfection.

Staying out of judgement of myself and others keeps me from feeling shame. I truly believe we are all doing the best we can in every moment.

Perfectionism is self-destructive; there is no such thing as perfect. Being perfect is an unattainable goal because it is about how we want to be perceived and we can’t control how others see us no matter how hard we try.

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