First published on elephant journal.
Many would say that there is no such thing as a perfect life, a perfect job, a perfect relationship or a perfect anything, but I disagree.
I say there most certainly is. It’s just a case of different strokes for different folks; my perfect life, perfect man and perfect project will differ greatly from yours.
But, regardless of what it looks like, the key to living a perfect life is to let go of any tendencies we may have towards perfectionism.
Perfectionism is not a virtue. It’s a curse.
A favored tool of procrastinators, perfectionism stops us from ever getting started because we raise the bar so high we think we haven’t a hope of making it—so why bother even trying.
But worse than that, perfectionism puts the brakes on the work we are doing when it doesn’t meet our own high standards. And so we abandon it to the pile of unfinished projects.
Perfectionism spawns comparisonitis, a debilitating disease we should all be vaccinated against at birth.
Perfectionism makes us pain-in-the-hole critics of work—both our own and other’s—that deserves praise for the mere fact it’s been completed (if not also for its high artistic merit).
Perfectionism is far from a desirable trait, but it is an easy trap to fall into.
Perfectionism is the enemy of perfection.
Perfection is beautiful.
But it is also in the eye of the beholder. It is an arbitrary thing.
And perfection is not something a perfectionist can easily perceive, because they are hard-wired to find fault.
Perfection comes from practice, which enables us to appreciate our progress.
Perfectionism is striving for perfection. But “perfect” is more easily achieved (perceived) when we remove the pressure to achieve it.
Perfectionism is rooted in fear, while perfection is perceived from a love-filled place.
And so, to live our perfect lives, we need to redefine our concept of perfection.
We need to be willing to see good enough as perfect.
We need to be willing to see the beauty—and perfection—in our flaws.
We need to see that perfection is not an objective fact, but a very personal connection to people, experiences and things.
When we are willing to see perfection all around us—in this imperfect world—then we can truly appreciate and acknowledge its existence.
Photo: Benjamin Combs/Unsplash