The Joy of Imperfection
I bet that headline stopped you in your tracks? Allowing ourselves to be imperfect is energising, challenging, thrilling, fun, builds self-confidence and leads to all sorts of wonderful opportunities.
Notice I write ‘allow’. Most of us live exhausting lives of quiet desperation, striving for what we believe is perfection. We stay below the parapet because we feel we are unable to be or do something perfectly. Others can ‘do perfect’ – we see them every day, don’t we, being and doing perfectly? But not us.
Most of us aim for that elusive thing called Perfection in all that we do and are. And can we ever really be ‘perfect’? Can we ever really meet or exceed the (sometimes) unspoken expectations of ourselves and other people?
From an early age, we are conditioned to be perfect. It may not be worded as ‘be perfect’, but that’s how it lands with us. The underlying script? “Be perfect so that I will love you / you can be loved / belong / be part of our group / be successful” and on and on and on.
Perfection is Exhausting
Struggling for perfection is exhausting. There are so many unknowns to satisfy, our energy drains away while we continue to struggle to meet the perfection requirements. The spiral gets increasingly unstable and stressful.
When we don’t reach that elusive state of ‘perfect’ what happens? We feel shame, embarrassment, humiliation, guilt, resentment. And we lash out – at ourselves and others. We feel as if we don’t belong, disconnected, adrift. In some cases this can result in depression, addiction, physical health problems and challenged relationships.
We see examples of these perfection instructions every day. We are bombarded with ‘you shoulds’ from TV, magazines, webpages: “you should eat this / wear this make-up / you shouldn’t do this-that-or-the-other / wear this and you’ll be happy / this handbag is the one for you”. Do all of these should and you’ll belong to the group.
And do you? Belong? Or do you feel alone, vulnerable, disconnected?
What is it that keeps us trapped in this spiral? It can start with the fear of looking silly, but ultimately it’s the fear of the resulting shame and disconnection.
What about taking a different approach? What would it be like for you to realise that you are, already, enough? That you are actually doing and giving your best in any given moment? The outcome may not be Hello-magazine-perfect. And that’s completely acceptable. It’s your truth, your ‘Enough’, your Best.
Why Allow Imperfection?
Read the first paragraph again, now. Having allowed ourselves, in small steps to be imperfect, after a time we reduce our stress levels, improve mental, physical and emotional health and relationships. We are happier in ourselves.
Put like that, what’s not to like about allowing imperfection?
Enjoy Your Enough
What would it be like for you to allow yourself to be imperfect, on one thing? This is my action challenge for you – make a conscious choice and allow yourself to be imperfect in some one way each day this week. Go on. You know you want to do it.
Observe how it feels to say ‘I am enough’. And you are. Enough. Enjoy the beauty of your spirit, strength and imperfect vulnerability. You are a blessing to the world, You are Enough.
© Dancing Leopards Ltd 2015