Do you ever let the desire for perfection hold yourself or your work back?
When writing for The Petite PT, my inner critic can stop perfectly good articles and photos from being published.
Sometimes I feel as if they are too scientific, or need more humour, or I don’t like how I look.
Whichever negative aspect I believe, I can find myself in a never-ending loop of ‘this could be better’.
I have to remember that if I let my inner critic take hold, the positivity of what I am trying to achieve will never make its way into the world.
This week we have a guest post about the paradox of perfection.
A massive thank you to Yasmin B, friend, Harvard graduate and full-time model, for writing this inspiring post…
A while ago, I came across this quote from Marya Hornbacher, an author that became well known and recognised through her vivid description of the mental and physical struggles in her life.
The quote seems very simple at first sight. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many people are struggling with the idea of perfection, without being conscious of it.
“There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. You want one, and I want one, but there isn’t one. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit. When you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes, and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way.” – Marya Hornbacher
We all know the feeling of trying to change our life.
That celebrated moment of “everything will be different“, and “tomorrow I will start afresh”.
Unfortunately, this tomorrow often does not transform itself to today, and soon it becomes a distant memory of another disappointment that we would like to forget about.
This is not to say that human beings don’t have the capacity to change.
Obviously, there may be personalities with a more radical attitude by nature for which most of what I describe does not apply.
But for the majority of human kind, change does not happen overnight.
The media and advertisement sectors attempt to feed into peoples needs and desires by hawking the overnight transformation as an achievable utopia.
However, change is more likely to be an exhaustive development rather than an overnight miracle.
It often starts with simple awareness.
A consciousness and desire to change, with the motivation and strength to maintain the effort we need to attain our goal.
But, it also requires the allowance for imperfection, patience and love for ourselves.
And mostly, the knowledge and acceptance that we will never be perfect.
Because ‘perfection’ is not a permanent state, it is an idea.
A glorification of an image in our head.
And most of the time, an emotional symptom of a lack we experience.
In a recent Ted Talk (see below), Brene Brown shares a deep insight on human connection, our ability to empathise, belong and love.
She explains the difference between people who really have a sense of worthiness, love and belonging from those who struggle for it.
The only thing that distinguished them, is that those who have a sense of love, are those who believe they are worthy of love and belonging.
That’s it – they believe they are worthy!
Because sadly, the one thing that keeps us out of connection is the fear that we are not worthy of it.
In this context, it is interesting to look at the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language.
Derived from the Latin word “cor” or heart, the definition of courage was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
Those that dared to be imperfect had a connection as a result of authenticity.
They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be, to be who they really are.
When aware of this, we can take the first steps toward real change in our own lives.
Not the change that feels like a burden on your shoulders until that infinite “tomorrow” finally approaches.
But, a change that will make you love yourself and in return love others, because we can not practise compassion with others when we are not kind to ourselves first.
Do you struggle with the fantastical concept of perfection?
If you do, I’d love to hear any hints or tips you have to combat its stifling grasp on productivity, and life in general.
Plus, if you enjoyed this post, I would love if you could share it via your favourite social media channel. It helps to support my work so I can continue to produce more free content!