Perfection Doesn’t Exist… Or Does It?

No matter how hard we try, no matter how focused we are on the flawless reality we idealize, no matter how hard we study or practice, no matter how many professionals we follow, and so on… we will never reach perfection. And that is ok! We weren’t meant to.

As animals on this earth, we have routines and patterns based on the solar and lunar cycles, as well as traditions of those that have lived before us, and of course, free will. In our simplest biological form, we were intended to live off the land, in the community of our loved ones from the region we were born. As the communities slowly grew, or as some travelling communities passed through, it was up to us, as it is with many other species and cultures around the world, to learn to work together, or sort out our disagreements in whatever way we believed necessary (for better or worse).

These days, life is much more complicated. Our race has evolved into one of invention, technology, production, consumerism, competition, and the like. We’ve been conditioned to make a living with one or more of the countless ways of making money in direct opposition of our nature, even if it kills our soul.
A world that was once been much more connective, for many these days is disconnected, frequently to the point of isolation, where fending for oneself is a common challenge. In this kind of society, it’s easy to feel inadequate, and can seem lofty to feel secure – secure in our homes, jobs, relationships, nourishment, and even inside ourselves.

The thoughts and questions are sometimes never ending! Did I reach the goals I set? Did I say the right thing? Am I trying hard enough, or maybe too hard? What do they think about me? Am I good enough? Will I ever get what I need to feel the way I want to feel?

These all get me wondering: Are we asking the right questions? What kind of unnecessary pressure are we putting on ourselves? What really matters in this life? Am I wasting time, energy, and emotional capacity on things that don’t serve my deepest and truest state?

The truth is, many of the earlier questions can sometimes serve a purpose, but when they don’t, can be thrown out, as they encourage unhealthy comparison to ourselves and others. The later questions are much more worthwhile. This life is not about competition – not even with ourselves. Yes, of course it’s important to take one step at a time in the right direction and take risks with the potential of reaching milestones that feel aligned with our values. What is not beneficial is obsessing over every tiny little detail for fear that we won’t be good enough if the product, or our efforts to get there are not “perfect.” Putting so much weight on our production value, while ignoring the pure fact that we are just right just as we are, is destructive. Making a living in this world is a necessary hardship, but the way many of us go about, and all the negative self-talk and debilitating fear around it can see it’s way out.

The first step to overcoming something as deeply rooted as perfectionism is to start to understand how it shows up in our day-to-day. It is often a way for our subconscious to protect us, to try to stay in control to avoid discomfort and attract approval. It manifests itself in many ways and is very common. Procrastination, guilt, passing judgment on others, having a hard time relaxing or relaxing too much, frequent feeling of failure, and more. It often stems from when we are younger and having highly critical caretakers, or those with high expectations of us. It’s important to understand that we learned this mindset from somewhere, based on fear of rejection, and it was likely passed down not just from them, but from whomever they learned it, as well as any cultural or societal pressures along the way. In some cases, it can also be a product of people trying to get us to do what they want us to do and using fear and inadequacy to motivate us to submit.

The thoughts, feelings, and expectations we have learned through these experiences do not define us, and we have the power and the right to change our narrative.

Perfection does exist in this new narrative. We are perfect just the way we are – with all our flaws, with all our efforts that missed our perceived mark, every typo, every embarrassing moment, with how much or little we do, with how much or little we care about the things “they” say we “should” do or care about. This is YOUR life. Though it may seem impossible to overcome hard times or countless attempts at your dreams, it’s not the accomplishments that matter. It’s the in-between moments where a growing understanding for who we are and what we so dearly want for ourselves can coexist with the parts we are unhappy about. It’s about learning why those parts feel unpleasant, without letting the self-judgment take the spotlight. When it does, part of accepting ourselves fully is not beating ourselves us about it. The parts of us that are in the shadows are there to tell us what is out of balance so we can adjust accordingly. Those parts of us deserve love and compassion just like the parts that sparkle in the sunshine. Peace can exist in the most challenging moments, so long as we understand that our journey and standards are up to us, and however long it takes, or whatever we choose to do to get there is just right.

We are not mistakes, even when we make mistakes.
We are not failures, even when we fail.
We are loved and accepted just the way we are.
You have always been enough.
You will always be enough.
You are perfect.

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  1. You are truly a gem. This is a great article, so well written and with a wonderful message that I am sure many besides myself need to be reminded of. Thank you

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