What is perfection? It's an all-out quest to prove that you are loveable. This isn't the definition you're going to find in the Webster dictionary, but this is what is being faced when perfection is the goal. The deceiving part of perfection is that it appears in many different guises in your life, leading you to think that you're not a perfectionist.
There are many different ways in which perfection has been masked in my world. There may be other hidden treasures behind these masks, but perfection certainly pops up.
I can go through stretches and feel on top of the world, confident in all that I am doing, my ability to get things done and every other detail along the way. Then, one by one, concerns start to creep in and I become hyper-aware of just about everything. I start to replay conversations, cyber exchanges and any other moment where I may have misstepped or misspoke. It can be quite exhausting. I have realized that this is a hidden desire around perfection. I won't offend anybody if I'm perfect...which is far from true.
Although judgment can walk with self-confidence, it does stand on its own. Sometimes it is judgment of myself and sometimes of others. If others responded or reacted the way I wanted, then my imperfection wouldn't be seen. In other words, it's easier to judge someone else for what they didn't do rather than my shortcomings. Their actions didn't mask my imperfections the way I would have preferred.
Guardedness can mask many things and perfectionism is one of them. If I keep myself guarded, no one has the opportunity to see all of me, including my flaws, struggles and foot-in-my-mouth moments. However, the desire to keep all of that hidden also detracts from my ability to connect with others in a way that feels rich and authentic.
When I allow myself to really look at what is behind guilt, perfection comes up. I feel bad for not being perfect. For not saying the right thing. For not doing the right thing. For not spear-heading conversation. Take your pick because there is plenty to choose from!
Control is another trait that can mask many things, including perfection. If I have everything all planned and it goes smoothly, all is good. The point of awareness comes in how I respond if things don't go according to plan. There is a level of humility that comes with exploring control.
I have learned that there is always more for me to work with and explore around perfection. It will never be perfectly complete! The added dimension is noticing when the various elements come into play: who I am with, what I am doing, who else is affected, how triggered is my response?
The ultimate message for me is to love and accept myself in the same way I crave others to love and accept me. I hear the message in social media (being perfectly imperfect), books ( The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, for one) and even flowing out of my own mouth in work with my clients.
We all are faced with our own inner critic. When we can step into accepting what we are facing, it is easier to learn and grow.
How does perfection appear in your life?
How open are you to seeing your own need to be perfect?
Share your thoughts and let's support each other in our imperfections!