on perfection

I have happened upon some very inspiring blogs this week (see links below) that have to do with perfection, and mainly the ugly hold which it has on so many of us. With eerie but intriguing synchronicity, it is also something that I had been thinking about a lot personally, before these blogs found their way into my web browser. I have labeled myself a perfectionist many times, and there are many reasons I could cite for my perfectionism, but more importantly I think, are the things that trying to be perfect is holding me back from. For starters; happiness, confidence, success and feeling worthy of love.

So check out: The disease called "Perfection" and The CURE for "Perfection" from the Single Dad Laughing blog which has become one of my favorites, and the perfect protest which I found through a link on another artist's blog I visit.

A work related seminar this week made me think about perfection, as my work is, and always has been, one of the areas in my life in which I have sought perfection (although as I think about it, there aren't many areas in my life in which I haven't sought perfection). I was reminded of the realities, that no matter how "good" we are, sometimes we all have bad days – really, really bad days – it happens to everyone. Also, that no matter who we are, there are always going to be people that don’t like us for some reason or another – and that's okay. It has taken me most of my 30 years to come to terms with this, and it is still a struggle for me. When I hit those lows, or make mistakes, I too often feel like I am the only one who feels like a failure, as if everyone else around me handles their imperfection (for lack of a better word) gracefully while I am flailing about in mine. I've often thought what would have happened in my life if I had "been more perfect", or been as perfect as I wanted myself to be. I liked to blame the regrets I had in my life (and truly I don’t have many) on my lack of perfection, or not being good enough. I guess the irony of that statement is that I truly don't have many regrets about my life, because everything I have done and every choice – and mistake – I have made, have brought me to the place, and made me the person, I am today. And most of the time I like her, imperfect as she may be.

I caught parts of the movie "Good Will Hunting" on television the other day, and some of my all-time favorite movie quotes come from the conversations between Will and his therapist , Sean (played by Robin Williams). When talking about Will's relationship, Sean says, "You’re not perfect sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you met? She's not perfect either…." (I also love the "I gotta go see about a girl" line). I've learned the hard way what perfectionism and too-high expectations can do to a relationship, whether those expectations are on ourselves, or projected onto a partner.

I like the way perfection is portrayed by both of these bloggers, as an entity, an evil and negative one, which does nothing truly positive for us. Instead, perfection is a disease, an illness, a shield, a force keeping us from truly living, and being our authentic, genuine selves. It is easy to forget, when bombarded with media images of "perfect" people, "perfect" lives played out for us in movies in television, and "perfecting" products sold to us by advertisers, that everything that really matters, and everything we really need in order to be happy and content, is with us and in us, already. It is so easy to fall into that trap of feeling not good enough, and tell ourselves that we would just be happy IF…

These blog posts have been great reminders to me, that trying to be perfect is just not worth it, for so many reasons, and also a reminder that I'm not the only one out there who has been plagued with that feeling of not being enough and the perils of perfection.
So here is my picture, my "perfection protest", a lesson to remember every day and twice on those really, really bad ones!


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