Confessions of a former perfectionist

Got your attention?  Good.  Are you forever worrying that what you’ve said, painted, drawn, written, crafted,  isn’t good enough?  Are you hesitant to try anything new because you may not be great at it?  

Do you maybe think that no one will love you unless you’re perfect?  So, you do everything right; everything anyone asks you to do; you do everything you can to someone else’s standard?  Or maybe you just never finish anything.  Maybe you obsess over it.  If it isn’t perfect, how can you share it?  

You live for praise, “I wish I could clone you.”

You live for recognition but hate attention.  You just need one person to notice and say, “wow.  That was great.  You do great work.”  You feel like if you could just be perfect, everyone would see you’re ok.  You’re worthwhile.  You are important.  But you don’t really want to be called “perfect.”  You just want to feel like now, you’ve done everything you’ve been asked to do, maybe now, you’ll be accepted.  

Me too.

Here’s the problem.  When you feel like you must be perfect, you can’t ever be content.  You’ll look at everything you’ve done and think, “damn, I could have done better.”  People will tell you that you’ve done an amazing job, but you won’t hear them.  You’ll tell yourself that you could’ve done better.  Do you know what you do when you tell yourself these things?  You tell yourself “everyone that says nice stuff is just being nice.  They don’t really know me.  If they did, they’d see I’m nothing.  Really nothing.  I can’t do anything well enough.”  But you’re also saying those people that say nice things; that compliment you, are dumb.  So, you’re the one that really knows “you’re nothing special and they just have no clue.”  Let’s just turn that around for a minute.  Maybe they’re seeing the real you and what you see is someone who isn’t perfect.  They love and respect you–imperfections and all, but you think it’s just not good enough.  Let me ask you:  who are you not good enough for?   The world?  Or yourself?  Now, let me ask you who you have to sleep with every night forever? Whose face do you have to look in the mirror each day?  Who pays your bills?  Who decides whether or not you’re perfect just the way you are?  There’s a phrase in the art world:  no great work of art is ever completed; it’s only abandoned.  Sometimes, you must walk away.  You must realize you did your very best and though it’s not perfect–far from it, it still has you written all over it.  And maybe “you” are beautifully imperfect.

You have the power.  Embrace your imperfections.  Maybe….just maybe….what makes you imperfect, is, in fact, what makes you perfect for the world.  

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