I’ve talked about my people-pleasing tendencies before. Hand-in-hand with people-pleasing comes the slippery slope of perfection-pursuing. The futile process of trying to achieve “ideal.”
I’m not judging perfectionists. I’ve totally been there—
sitting at the piano for hours trying to play a passage “perfectly” 10 times in a row. Eating nothing but chicken and vegetables for weeks and months in pursuit of the “perfect” physique. Staring at my computer for wayyyyy too long trying to figure out how to word my next blog post “perfectly” so that people get it.
BUT, no matter how many hours I practiced, how few calories I ate, how long I wrestled with verbiage, did I ever achieve perfection?????? NOPE. You know why? Because perfect doesn’t exist. It is completely arbitrary. Here, I’ll prove it:
- Describe the “perfect” body, and ask three of your friends to do the same. Compare your answers.
- Listen to the same piece of classical music played by three different symphony orchestras. Try and pick the most “perfect” one.
- Show me parents who have raised their children “perfectly” and I’ll show you someone else who wants to point out everything they did wrong.
- Search “perfect lasagna recipes” on Pinterest and see how many different options come up.
My question for perfection pursuers (myself included) is…. “Uh, WHY?” Like a mirage on the horizon, you will never actually reach it. You can spend a whole lot of life chasing and chasing and chasing. But that turns out to be a brontosaurus-sized waste of time.
The problem with trying to be perfect is that not getting there is frustrating. When we inevitably cannot reach our ideals, we tend to give up and just stay where we are- thus not gaining any ground whatsoever. Ahem, observe:
- “I ate a slice of pizza. My diet is ruined so I may as well have three more.”
- “I’m no good at creating music/blogs/paintings/sculptures/whathaveyou so I’ll just watch TV instead.”
- “I only have 20 minutes to work out today instead of an hour. I’ll just skip the gym all together.”
- “Wow, that guy is kind, funny, intelligent, good-looking, healthy, and thoughtful. Buuuuuut I can’t date him because he snorts when he laughs.”
- “This new job opportunity sounds great – positive environment, better hours, and wonderful people. But it’s an extra 15 minute drive. Totally not ideal, so I’ll just stay at my depressing current job.”
My business coach always reminds me, “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” In other words, don’t wait for circumstances to be ideal or for guaranteed success. Just take action, and get shit done. #GSD
Do a good job. Don’t half-ass. Really, do your BEST. But let go of the idea that everything has to turn out “perfectly.” Remember, we don’t even really know what perfect is.
The bonus to taking action, even without guaranteed results? When you do things, you get better and better. You improve. Your new “best” work becomes wayyyyy superior to your “best” work when you started. Never perfection, but always improving. So be kind to yourself. Give yourself a break.
Think about it this way: Do you expect perfection from others? Are your friends and loved ones always perfectly coiffed and eloquently spoken with immaculate behavior? My guess is no. You probably wouldn’t want to hang out with them if they were, right? Boring.
We love live music. We love reading blogs/stories about people who struggle! We love to go behind the scenes and see the nitty gritty. We appreciate HUMANNESS. A sweet cousin of mine said it perfectly on my Instagram (@kristen_zook) post from yesterday… “The nature of being human is being perfectly imperfect.”
So, remember: YOU ARE A-OK RIGHT NOW, AS YOU ARE. Keep taking steps forward and don’t get trapped in the lie that everything has to be completely without flaws. We’re all humans; let’s be good with that fact.