I see clients all the time who are so hard on themselves, striving to be perfect in every way, and beating themselves up when they don’t achieve that. And I used to live that way myself, so I really do understand how it feels.
It seems to be a very American issue, stemming in large part from our focus on achievement, being the best, and competition. The problem is that we can’t be perfect!
By our very design, we are meant to err — to err is human. In addition, we are not in control of everything (even though our culture would have us believe otherwise)…so it is simply not possible for us to manage every detail of our lives the way we want them to be. It is not do-able.
So with these two known facts (to err is human, and controlling everything in our life is impossible), you can readily see how futile an effort it is to chase perfection!
What’s great is that now that you know this, you can let go of the goal of perfection. You can change your expectation, and as a consequence, change the outcome. In other words, you alone have the ability to stop the pain and frustration.
Some of you may be thinking that if you don’t chase perfection, you won’t produce a quality outcome. But that’s not true either — it’s another cultural myth. There are many shades of gray between “perfect” and “lousy”. We’re not throwing in the towel on quality — instead, the goal is to do a great job AND be okay that it’s not perfect.
Mel Brooks said, “As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes.” I love his quote because it’s so silly, yet makes it easy to remember this concept — humans are imperfect by design, and humans do not control every detail of their lives.
Let go and trust that life is working out just the way it should for you. All you have to do is follow your internal guidance, give your best effort, and then let go of any attachment to it being perfect. Enjoy the product of your labors, just the way it turned out. Enjoy the experience and process of creating something, or of being who you are in this very moment — you’ll be amazed at the happiness and peace that come with this way of living.
Perfection may be overrated, but happiness is not. Choose to let go of your need for perfection; choose to be happy instead.