“You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”
― Jodi Picoult
The quest for perfection is an endless journey many of us have been on for as long as we can remember. We somehow think our mistakes or shortcomings are failures or make us “less than” rather than viewing them as lessons to be learned unique to us as individuals. Being a perfectionist originates from a message we receive from society that we interpret as meaning we were only valuable if we are perfect – pretty or handsome, intelligent, sociable, and successful. Whatever we don’t achieve when we think we “should” will be perceived as “failure.” And then we fear failure; fearing that we will not be “good enough.”
Perfection is really just a way of asserting control over areas of life where we feel we have the power to do so. Often, we equate love with perfection causing us to chase impossibly high standards to feel valued and accepted. It is a diversion to fill an empty void that really originates in the spirit with outside experiences. Perfection becomes tied to self-worth, and a shameful belief of inner inadequacy fuels the perfectionist tendencies.
There are benefits to being imperfect.
- Less Stress – Ditching the “shoulds” and the all-or-nothing thinking will allow you to find more peace and enjoy your daily accomplishments and successes while you learn from your mistakes and less than perfect outcomes.
- Improved Relationships – When you can accept your limitations and imperfections, you give others the permission to be imperfect, as well. As your expectations and impossible standards for yourself lessen, so do those you held for the people in your life. Our outer world is a reflection of our inner world, so when we begin to value ourselves regardless of what we do or achieve in any area, we then begin to value others for who they are and not what they do.
- Increased Energy – When all of your energy is no longer concentrated on worrying about what you SHOULD be doing and how you SHOULD be doing it, you free yourself up to focus on what really matters.
- Healthier Self-Image – Accepting and appreciating our imperfections creates room for self-nurturing, compassion, and love. You can begin to appreciate the qualities, characteristics, and experiences that are unique to you without the need to be perfect.