An unintentional destination.
I’m sitting here writing this while in the back of my mind I know the laundry from yesterday hasn’t been folded and my husband picked up dinner for tonight because I didn’t feel like cooking. I look around my office and I see a stack of papers, and a long to-do list. If I click over to my email I know I will see a full inbox of emails to answer. That all can wait.
It may seem like no big deal but to me it’s what I’m inclined to perceive as chaos and messy. It’s imperfect.
Maybe I should have mentioned I’m a recovering perfectionist. There was a time when unfolded laundry and unanswered emails would have ignited a downward spiral of emotions that leave me no choice but to take care of it all and leaving nothing to wait. No matter how many degrees earned, hours worked, or miles ran a little voice inside my head telling me it’s not perfect and there is always room for improvement. You see, the quest for perfection is a journey without an end. It [whatever it is] will never be good enough. Let’s say you can accomplish perfection. At what expense? The quest for perfection is exhausting.
Drive and the pursuit of excellence is a good thing, right? Traits to be worn proudly. Not necessarily. Not when the excellence comes by way of expectations of perfection. When these traits come from a feeling of lacking and not feeling enough, instead of a place of authenticity, love and acceptance, you can get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on the details of life’s journey. That realization was a turning point for me.
When you come up just a little short of excellence, you feel good. As if excellent is good enough and accomplished. When you strive for perfection, you’re never quite good enough and the ultimate goal is unrealistic and unattainable.
We convince ourselves that perfectionism is a safe and worthy place. Something to be proud of when, in reality, it’s a shield of what is really going on inside. A shield that we think protects us from what judgment, hurt and not measuring up.
A journey to embrace the true you, perfectly imperfect and beautiful. Here are a few things that have been helpful for me and that I always keep in mind:
- Tell yourself [often] I am enough and believe it unconditionally.
- There is no such thing as perfection. It’s an illusion we create to protect ourselves from being hurt.
- Live the true you. Embrace and accept all aspects of you.
- Let go and unlock the potential happiness in life.
- Those “things” really can wait.
Think about what the Japanese call Wabi-Sabi. It’s a word that represents an aesthetic that celebrates beauty in imperfection. It celebrates cracks and missing pieces and other marks of time. It’s the imperfections that create the beauty. Imagine for a minute, not only celebrating imperfection but actually finding beauty in it. (Source)
I’m speaking from my heart when I say, it feels pretty amazing to just relax and enjoy the journey of life moment by moment. Experience the meaningful connections and events that should not be missed. The little details that make life wonderful. Give authenticity and acceptance a try. You’re going to like how it feels.
Recovering perfectionist is an ever-evolving work in progress. Some days it’s easy to let go. Other days it’s a struggle not to wrap myself in the protective armor of seeking perfection. This journey is not perfect and I’m ok with that.
Join me and embrace the perfectly imperfect you. Embrace your authenticity and all of your enoughness.
Realizing the beauty of imperfection is an unintentional destination of a journey intended for another direction.