Perfectly Imperfect

I honestly forget where I heard or found “Perfectly Imperfect” but it has stuck with me over the years. I am constantly reminding myself that perfection doesn’t exist. High Standards, however, are perfectly okay! The problem comes when those ideals actually interfere with our quality of life in a negative way. Some examples from my life would be: not finishing a test in time because I pondered every question and answer until time ran out, procrastinating about doing something until the last minute because I am afraid of not doing it well enough, chastising myself for making a mistake, trying to learn about everything so I don’t feel stupid in any conversations, difficulty making decisions because I am afraid I will make the wrong one, winning awards and brushing them off as no big deal, etc.. I could likely fill a page with the trouble imperfection has given me over the years. It comes down to I AM a failure instead of I made a mistake or I failed. You might find I repeat myself from my last post on Failure as we tangle with imperfection. That is okay. If I say it more than once, it is likely very important.

As you can see from the diagram above (taken from a CCI resource), Perfectionism is a never-ending cycle of thoughts and behaviours that support our pursuit of unrelenting standards! You will notice, also, that there are positive outcomes for setting high standards for ourselves. We DO do things to the best of our ability as long as we don’t give up or run out of time. Calming a perfectionistic mind into imperfection and acceptance of that imperfection is the key to overcoming this incessant, mind-boggling cycle. But how do we do that?

Well, I just witnessed first hand what imperfection can do. I had two more sections written here and deleted them when I switched to my phone to double check for errors! My first thought? How ^*#*^%$# stupid of me! Oh No! What am I going to do now???? It was a great piece of writing, I thought, not perfect, but good! I don’t think I can do it again!! And I waited in silence for a minute, just hoping beyond hope that it would return; that somehow I could get it back because I was sure I couldn’t do it again! But here I go…

…and we push on…that’s how we face defeat. There is a link here between thoughts, behaviours and feelings so if we change one, we can change the other two. I believe that changing my thoughts takes precedence here because they are what really drive perfectionism. I’m reminded here of the saying, ” to have what you’ve never had, you need to do what you’ve never done”. Or in this case, “think”. And right now I’m thinking this is nowhere near as good as my original ‘thoughts’. I’m going to change that thought, right now, into, “this is better than my original work because I am actually dealing with thoughts of imperfection”! I have to try and believe that is true. Now, you should know that I have done laundry and gone for a walk to “clear my head” and to distract myself from all the negative thoughts about my “mistake”. And you’ve likely forgotten what that was! In case you can’t read the definition of ‘Flawsome” above, it says, “an individual who embraces their “flaws” and knows they are awesome regardless”. I am flawsome because I have continued to write; I am taking a risk–again.

There is a good side to imperfection if we can embrace our trials. There is freedom in knowing that mistakes are actually a good thing; that they help us learn and grow. Imagine celebrating our blunders, giving them credit for changing our thoughts and behaviours in the future. Imagine living life with abandon. I’m sure you’ve thought about it. I know I have. What if we actually put this into practice? What if we take our faults and turn them into excellence? Maybe I’ve done that today because I often find that when my written work seems poor, it actually reaches more people! What a dichotomy that is! So, embrace what you think are your short-comings; revel in your inadequacies; put faith into your faults! Begin to exist within your errs and emerge as who you truly are! Get really good at being you!

If you want to delve further into perfectionism, you can follow this link to a workbook put out by CCI. It contains exercises and information that will help you on your journey to becoming who you really are:

https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/Looking-After-Yourself/Perfectionism

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