First things first about perfectionism:
The noun perfectionism (pəˈfɛkʃ(ə)nɪz(ə)m/ ) is by definition the ‘refusal to accept any standard short of perfection’.
But I’m not perfect.
You are not perfect.
Nobody is perfect.
And exactly this is perfect.
My daily struggle with perfectionism
All my life I’ve been trying to do things perfectly. To be perfect. No matter what. At work. In private life. In a relationship. In my Yoga practice. In being and becoming a Yoga teacher. In my modeling jobs. In retouching my photos. In being a friend and family member. In being the person that’s called Elaine.
Do you know how exhausting that is? To keep up with your own standards and limitations all the time?
And the thing is: noone will ever notice when I’m not ‚perfect’, because nobody cares or even thinks about it, as everyone’s too busy with themselves after all. It’s also a matter of perspective.
So I kept myself asking “Why do I want to be ‚perfect‘”, after all?
Why should I strive after perfectionism?
The reason for perfectionism
Recently I realized that all the time I was afraid of failure.
I was truly fraid to be wrong, to do something wrong, and therefore being inevitably confronted with the fact of having wasted time with the things that I’ve been doing. Time that won’t ever come back. Time that’s forever lost while I was trying to achieve the ‘wrong’ goals.
Does anyone else know this feeling?
It hit me hard when I had this realization, and at the same time it felt like a liberation to me. A newfound freedom that let me escape my own selfmade prison of perfectionism, when I finally found out what it’s all about: fear of failure.
This prison has been a construct in my mind for too long, preventing me from becoming who I truly want to be – free from my own expectations and limiting beliefs.
Liberating questions to ask yourself
I also asked myself these questions:
‘Who would I be without having to worry about being ‘perfect’?’
‘What’s so bad about being full of flaws, or even worse: what’s so bad about being wrong?’
‘What can I let go of to feel more free?’
There is no such thing as doing something wrong, as nothing can ever be completely ‚wrong‘ in this universe.
Things happen to make you learn something from these experiences, whether we consider them as ‚good‘ or ‚bad‘. And there is no such thing as wasting time, as every single decision, every single moment, led you here to become the very being you are right here, right now.
And I’m grateful for every lesson that life threw at me. And exactly this is perfect: all the ‘imperfect’ experiences are a collection of moments with flaws, and when they’re put together, they’re a valuable treasure of experiences. And in the end this will be a life that has been lived.
Perfectionism vs. acceptance
To accept yourself 100% is to truly love yourself. Yet, falling in love with yourself is a process. You definitely won’t be waking up one morning and say “Oh yes, I love myself, I love all my flaws, and I forgive myself for everything I’ve ever been ashamed of”, when you’ve been dealing with self-worth issues before. But it’s worth a try, and it’s a beautiful journey to accept and integrate your dark sides, too. Slowly, patiently and one after another.
And to be honest, I know noone who loves himself 100% – there’s always some little ‘unwanted’ aspect that people are dealing with – so we are all on the same journey, which is wonderful and connects us.
I’m so done with trying to be perfect, as no one will ever be.
Lastly, here’s what I’ve learned until now and what I really want to let you know:
- It’s OK to be imperfect.
- It’s OK to be afraid.
- It’s OK to have desires.
- It’s OK to not feel good sometimes.
- It’s OK to just sit in silence and BE for a little while.
- It’s OK to just breathe.
- It’s OK to cry.
- It’s OK to laugh.
- It’s OK to let your heart guide the way.
- It’s OK to have a breakdown.
- It’s OK to love unconditionally.
- It’s OK to ask for help and to connect with people.
- It’s OK to care for yourself.
- It’s OK to like material things.
- It’s OK to be or to feel different.
- It’s OK to admit failure. There’s always a chance to put things ‘right’.
- It’s OK to daydream. Dreams can become plans, and they can become true after all.
- It’s OK to be polite and don’t expect anything in return.
- It’s OK to let things go if they no longer serve you, no matter how painful the process of letting go might be.
- It’s OK to recreate yourself.
- It’s OK to tell others about your feelings.
- It’s OK to be authentic and fragile.
- It’s OK to have bad habits.
- It’s OK to inspire others with great habits.
- It’s OK to see your own beauty.
- It’s OK to rest.
- It’s OK to be anxious about showing that authentic and fragile side of yourself.
- It’s OK to be proud of yourself and to show others that you are.
It’s all totally OK, whatever is.
While editing this blogpost, by coincidence I just found another inspiring post on “The Mindful MD Mom”s blog called ‘Meditation to let go of perfectionism’, which I found truly inspiring. Go check it out for some more inspiration! :)