Perfectionism is a way of life. It's a way of being that I've been practicing for as long as I can remember. So, with "as long as I can remember" being a very long time, it's no surprise that I often ask myself why I'm not perfect yet.
Let's go more in depth. One definition describes "perfect" as "having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be." In striving for that definition my first line of questioning is, who's requirements? Who's desire? Who's definition of "possible" am I referring to? Looking at a more simple definition, I found that "perfect" is "absolute; complete." Hmm. That definitely feels better but if perfect means "complete", am I perpetually imperfect for continuing to strive for more?
All definitions of perfect are completely subjective, it's no wonder I never felt like I reached it. The saying should have been "perfection is in the eye of the beholder" instead of "beauty", but I digress. Let's look at "perfectionism" because that's really why you're still reading. Perfectionism is even more elusive being defined as "a personality trait characterized by a strong desire to attain flawlessness and high standards in one's work, performance, or appearance." So, basically, if you're a perfectionist (recovering lol) like me, it's not just about having high standards but being a striver of some random subjective standard or standards.
I mentioned in my podcast that having a perfectionist attitude can be a gift or a curse. I see it as a super power much like the Incredible Hulk with his rage. It can and should be harnessed but never misused. This is why finding your voice in a loud world is key to addressing perfectionism. If you have already decided (through your own voice) the elements, qualities or characteristics that are "desirable", no one else's standards will look "perfect" to you. What's more is that incompletion is what actually makes you, in fact, "complete".
As long as you are breathing, the desire to evolve or strive for more will be there. And, as you reach for completion of each desirable element, you become perfect in that moment. So, according to that definition AND your active definition of desirable elements, you are actually perfect....in every step. What about micro perfection? Did you breathe in and out like you are supposed to in order to stay alive? Perfect. Did you lift and settle down each foot at a regular pace without having both feet off of the ground at once (the literal perfect definition of walking)? Perfect. A conscious reminder of micro perfections that you achieve multiple times a day will show you just how perfect you actually are!
For a perfectionist, it is more helpful to notice the ways in which we are actually perfect than to abandon the mark altogether. So, the next time you find yourself striving for perfection, ask yourself who's desire, requirements and definition of "possible" you're regarding and, how are you actually achieving perfection in every moment. Doing so will ensure the reins on your life are placed back in your hands!
Check out my latest podcast episode for more and a reminder on the go!