We’re going to get a little exercise today.
Those of you who have ever felt a deep need to be “perfect” or categorized yourself as a “perfectionist”, please stand up? Anyone who has ever felt like a neurotic, desperate mess, unworthy of drawing breath, when you make a mistake?
(I’m going to sit down now, because I have to finish writing this – otherwise we’ll all be standing around for no reason.)
My perfectionism started early. How about you? When did you make the unconscious decision that you needed to be “perfect” to be loved and accepted?
Because, fundamentally, that’s it, isn’t it?
If I’m “perfect”, I’ll never be judged, ridiculed, or rejected.
If I’m “perfect”, I’ll be accepted.
If I’m perfect, I’ll be “enough”.
And the biggest (lie): because if I’m “perfect”, I’ll finally be worthy of love.
Let’s turn this on its ear, shall we?
No one in this human experiment is “perfect”.
Perfect. Is. Not. A. Thing.
We are all perfectly IMperfect.
Truth bomb coming at you in three…two…
Perfectionism is just fear in a prettier outfit.
Fear is what drives our perfectionism.
At the core of it all, we’re fearful we won’t be loved if we aren’t “perfect”. That we won’t be accepted. That we’ll be shunned, shamed, ridiculed, judged, cast out….abandoned.
Sometimes there’s also fear of what will happen if you stop flogging yourself with the Perfection Stick. That if you don’t constantly strive for the ridiculously impossible bar of “perfect”, you’ll get lazy, you’ll settle, or you won’t try your best. Nope. False. You can still achieve and hold high standards for yourself while also giving yourself the compassionate grace for being (gasp! the horror!) human.
And the ultimate irony?
That chronic fear of being rejected and unloved, that desperation for perfection? It actually keeps us disconnected. We end up pushing away the very thing we desire the most, in our desperate pursuit of it.
Because if you’re the “perfect performing poodle” all the time, how can anyone get to know you? How can YOU even get to know you, if you’re always performing toward an impossible goal? Holding yourself to impossible rules of perfection in order to be worthy of love?
Think about it this way: don’t you find that you connect to people who show their…HUMANITY? Don’t we relate to people who are…LIKE US?
And who is more like us than another equally flawed, perfectly imperfect human being?
See the cycle here?
Let’s try something radical. Are you with me?
Because what has the belief that you have to be “perfect” to be loved ever really gotten you, besides a whole lot of anxiety and discomfort?
So let’s get wild and crazy and just give this a shot:
What if we all took a deep breath and collectively called bullshit on “perfect”?
What if, with reckless abandon, we simply choose to believe we are worthy and lovable, just as we are?
What if, using the same intensity you currently direct toward mentally beating yourself within an inch of your imperfect life, you radically decide to accept yourself just as you are?
What if you choose to accept that we are all human and we all make mistakes, instead of making it mean you’re a horrible, unworthy piece of garbage?
What if you choose to simply learn from those mistakes instead and, to the very best of your ability in any given moment, do better next time? Isn’t that all anyone can truly ask?
How much better would your life feel with those new choices? Without that pressure to be “perfect”?
Let’s try it and see what happens.
For more on, check out my latest podcast: “Why Perfect IS Bullshit”