I think this should be the mantra of every perfectionist.
How did I get it into my head that I have to be perfect? Because when I stop to think about it, this lesson is so very true – no one else expects perfection from me, just as I don’t expect perfection from anyone else.
But when it comes to myself – my own work, my own appearance, my own life – I want it to look and be perfect. Of course, no one else looks at me with such high standards.
Unconsciously trying to be perfect is one of the things that stops me from even starting things.
When I look back now, I realise there are so many things I’ve not done simply because I feared I couldn’t do them perfectly, even if that fear was unconscious at the time (as I think it often is). I’ve started novels, paintings, classes, careers, hobbies of all kinds, only to give up when it became clear that I wasn’t doing it perfectly.
Like my novel – I gave up because it didn’t seem good enough so it sort of felt like, what’s the point? But imagine if I’d finished it! I would have a complete novel by now if I’d kept going. It wouldn’t be perfect but it would be done.
Perfectionism is very limiting in my creativity but also in other areas of my life – how I look, speak, behave etc. I find I am often judging myself against some self-created, unreasonably high standards.
So I try to remind myself – the only person who expects perfection from me, is me. And if that’s the case, maybe I can change my expectations of myself?
What does perfectionism mean to you? What would it mean to you if you were perfect? In what ways do you expect perfection of yourself? How attainable is this, really?
What have you put off, quit or not even attempted because of a fear of not doing it perfectly?
If you were to embrace the beauty of mess and mistakes, what could you do?
Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.