Perfectionism is everywhere and I thought it was just me! I have known for a while that I tend to procrastinate on things I need or even want to do. This old pattern tells me that I have to do things to perfection. I have to get it right the first time or it will not be good enough. It was only me, I believed, until I saw it show up in so many of my young clients. I would notice their desire to do things perfectly or the fear to try something new all together. This made me think, where does this come from? Why do we think there is even such a thing as perfect? What does that mean and why do we have such a complicated relationship with the concept.
By definition, perfect means “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.” This seems a bit challenging and I would even connotatively say that the meaning is closer to without error. We have illusions in our mind that look like perfection in how we perform, achieve, our appearance and even what our relationships look like. These well intentioned but unrealistic illusions compared to reality create great bouts of anxiety, fear, procrastination or complacency altogether.
Where does this come from and how do we solve this debilitating epidemic? Maybe it comes from the illusions we create compared to our actual experience. Or maybe it comes from the airbrushed world of “reality tv” and social media reels. I believe it comes back to some very old and outdated concepts that may have worked well at one point in time but now, just keep us stuck. A couple that we may recall are mantras like-practice makes perfect, failure is not an option or the skies the limit. But what if practice makes permanent, failure is a guarantee or I am limited by the sky!
I think we should try wearing the mantra, ‘I hope I screw this up’ like the title of the book by Kyle Cease. We could try something new with this mentality. Wouldn’t it certainly reduce the stress and burden to get it right, especially the first time? How it is is actually how it is supposed to be and if we can go into life with this belief then nothing is ever truly wrong or not good enough. Then we could just do the thing that we have always wanted to try. We could pursue the calling that has been on our hearts or maybe even become the person that we know we truly are without fear holding us back.
Screw It Up
I hope I screw this up just means I am starting from the ground up or from the beginning-which is right where I am supposed to be starting. Seems pretty logical, right? I am learning in using Concept Therapy that what we want and desire must be both logical and lawful. This means it can not go against the natural powers of the universe like say gravity or it won’t happen. So perfection is not our human nature. Starting from the beginning, struggling or even screwing up actually IS.
When a baby is at the point developmentally where she is ready to walk, she takes one wobbly step at a time. She will fall, get back up, cry, and try again until she gains her balance through her discipline. Now she can walk smoothly and enjoy her new found skill. What is not logical or lawful is that she transitions from crawling to getting up immediately and walking. That makes sense right? Well, there is no difference for us. We can not expect to go from one season, skill or concept to another without that same discipline and struggle, so why would we think that we can.
I am choosing this new mindset in the second part of my life. There are a lot of new things that I desire to try that my old friend, perfection, held me back from. There is a lot of me that I have not yet met because that old friend held that part at bay or put it in the closet all together. No more perfection for me. I want to enjoy, explore and be the truest form of myself that I can moving forward. To embody this freedom so that I can reap the new rewards of screwing up and learning, feeling free and being myself. I want to be an example of this for my children (who are more themselves than I ever was at their age) and the people around me. We all deserve to live this life free of fear and free of perfection! Won’t you join me?
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