When perfection is the common denominator in our lives, we may be living or heading to a miserable existence, with debilitating self-doubt, unsettling relationships, frustrating careers and unfulfilled dreams.
Perfection makes us:
• Critical of ourselves, our motives, our actions and even our achievements. As a result, we are anxious, disgruntled, discontented and ungrateful.
• Irritable, impatient and insensitive towards others, as we scrutinise everything they say and do and judge them by our own standards of obsessive perfection.
Consequently, perfection keeps us from:
Our lives are filled with countless daily tasks and we allow our obsession with perfection to deprive us of the satisfaction that comes from doing them mindfully. For instance, preparing a meal can be a soulful and gratifying experience. Although some meals require a long preparation process, if we approach it with gratitude for the time, ability, provisions and equipment to prepare the meal, we can enjoy every minute of it, right up to putting the meal on the table. Likewise, the clean-up afterward can be a satisfying experience if we think in terms of the ease and pleasure that comes from having a clean kitchen. Even in our leisure moments, we entertain obsessive thoughts of preparation: getting ourselves ready, setting up space or supplies and settling into the perfect frame of mind for the activity. If we ease-off the brain-racking drive for perfection, we will free ourselves to embrace and enjoy the pleasure inherent in living mindfully every day.
The joys of life’s challenges
Many of the seemingly negative circumstances we encounter cradle some of the most profound lessons and joys. Yet, we complain, blame, micro-manage and maybe, even try to escape—all in an effort to make our lives perfect no-problem zones. Consequently, we miss the joys of discovery, formulating and implementing innovative solutions, working hand-in-hand with other people and celebrating successful outcomes, which we can use to help and inspire others.
While we are working frantically to perfect ourselves and our circumstances, we bypass opportunities to love. We also deprive people of the pleasure in getting to know us and love us, in spite of our real or perceived imperfections. Moreover, in our insistence on perfection from others, we create a gulf that keeps us from the unconditional love that thrives in the midst of the imperfections people bring to relationships. We should loosen our reigns on obsessive perfection. Then we can love ourselves and others unreservedly, attract unconditional love in return and leave whatever imperfections that may exist to the gentle hands of time to deal with, if necessary.
The spice of imperfections
Often it is the simple, unsophisticated and yes, imperfect things that stir up the deepest, purest joy. While you may complain and even agonise over your physical imperfections, it may be a non-issue for the people who love you. In fact, they may consider your imperfections your most endearing features. Some imperfections add variety to the just-like-everything and just-like-everybody scenarios. Others add flavour to life’s menu. They open our eyes to life’s underlying beauty, our hearts to gratitude and our minds to think beyond our self-imposed boundaries and limiting beliefs, which feed off our obsession with perfection.
Are you obsessed with perfection (a little or a lot)? Then you might be missing out on the pleasures that come from being satisfied with some of the imperfections that give life its variety and flavor.
May Leonard Cohen’s words inspire you:
“Ring the bells that still can ring Forget your perfect offering.There is a crack in everything,That’s how the light gets in.”