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Perfection is a myth. It’s an impossible quest. In fact, if I asked you what you loved about your spouse, best friend, or children you would name all the wonderful traits unique to them. I would wager that none of the traits are rooted in perfection. Many times, the things we love most in others are based on the imperfections that make them unique. Their silly laugh, ability to crack a joke at the most inappropriate times, how they look when they first wake up in the morning, etc.
Rationally, we know imperfections are wonderful qualities that we should embrace (in others). We KNOW that what we love most about OTHERS are the imperfections. Yet the personal quest for perfection still plagues us. We get caught up in doing it right, not being wrong, and, most importantly, being perceived as having it all together.
So if we KNOW our beauty comes from our imperfections, why do we strive so much for perfection?
Because imperfection is vulnerable. You probably aren’t afraid to show your imperfect self to those who you know love you, but showing those lovely imperfections to the world feels vulnerable and scary.
The problem is that maintaining the illusion of perfection is the roller coaster ride from hell. There is never an end, never a victory, and there is always more to do. It is the ultimate chase of the ever moving carrot – because we are questing for something that doesn’t exist. It leaves us feeling anxious, exhausted, and unfulfilled.
So what can you do about it?
- Get curious about how perfection shows up in your life.
- Start paying attention to where you are questing for perfection. Whether it lies in getting ready for a social event, working on a project for work, or even just doing the dishes, start noticing when you get caught up in the outcome being perfect.
- As you notice the quest for perfection and the when/what triggers it – start actively engaging it. :
- Share your imperfections with someone who cares about you and can provide empathy and support.
- Ask those closest to you to share what they love about you. When you get triggered to be perfect, look at that list and LOVINGLY remind yourself that you are chasing an impossible goal. Lovingly remind yourself that your beauty comes from your imperfections.
In my job, the temptation is to let everyone think I am HAPPY all the time – that my life is perfect. But Living Happier doesn’t equal perfection. Living Happier is embracing the imperfection. Understanding that shame, anxiety, and fear are all a part of life. It is impossible to rid ourselves of them… but it is possible to build resiliency when they show up.
Next Thursday at the Loft: Live Happier Wine Night is going about Letting Go of Perfectionism. So join us for a fun, laid back evening where we will be lovingly getting real about the impossible quest to be perfect.