My quest for perfection

Perfect is such a perfect word and brings to mind lovely images of completion. Yet the real world is not like that. Things don’t wrap up as our minds want them to. Yet, so many of us strive for perfection. I chased it for a long time and finally gave up by telling myself that perfection does not exist, yet the longing to have it all, to be it all – remained. 

Sometimes I wonder if “being perfect” or “doing perfect” translates to not being enough, like there is a shortfall somewhere that needs to be corrected. I did a piece of constellation work on “I am enough” and that started my journey of moving from “what will people think? to I am enough”. The questions: Who I should be? What I should be? How I should be? started changing their answers, as my perceptions started to change. I started wondering about the need to have things the right way, followed by the realization that what is right for me could be totally wrong for another. In trying to make it perfect was I closing my eyes to something within me?

Is perfection a shield that we use for ourselves? If I do not strive for perfection, then I do not need to do all that I do. If I do not do all the things I push myself to do, I find space and time. Is that okay with me? I guess not. I need the excuse of perfection to avoid opportunities, and I sometimes need it to fall behind other things. This way I can meet failure again and again and always feel “not enough”. 

We all at some time or the other have battled with feelings of not being good enough, not having enough and not belonging enough. What is the greater risk? Letting go of what people think — or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am? Letting go means letting go off this ideal of ourselves and our perfect life. Our life is perfect the way it is at this moment.

I read these words by Brene Brown and they ring so true: Although we are told and we want to believe that we are not our job, the messages that we receive from around us are exactly the opposite “you are what you do, how well you do it and what you earn. It is not the quest for perfection that is painful, it is the failing to meet the unattainable expectations that lead to the pain”.

But we were not born like this. As babies we did not crave for perfect bodies, as pre-schoolers we were not afraid to speak our heart out, as toddlers we did not have to be told how loved we were, we never felt pushed to belong. The need to not show vulnerability, to not look weak prevents us from singing our song, keeps us from telling our real stories, and silences our voice. Perfection was never our inner story. Perfection came to us from outside of us and we embraced it fully when we let ourselves join the struggle of making it just right – making it perfect.

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