Accept the Imperfection

I’ve read that when you see something in someone else that resonates strongly within you, there’s a good chance that “thing” is something that reminds you of yourself. If it’s an aggravating trait, well, it could be a reflection of what you don’t like about yourself. In other words, sometimes the things we dislike in others have a lot to do with our own issues.

Maybe that’s why lately, the people who constantly project perfection are really pissing me off.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that need to be perfect. It’s what used to drive me, until it drove me down so low that I just quit. That’s when I started accepting half-ass a little more often. Okay, maybe it wasn’t really half-ass, unless you’ve spent your life trying to be perfect and freaking out when you aren’t. Because when you’ve spent your life trying to be perfect, anything less than perfect seems half-ass.

Life became a lot easier when I just stopped taking myself so darn seriously. I finally realized that being perfect isn’t really possible. I began to understand that just because I wasn’t perfect, it didn’t mean I had failed. I began to recognize that everything didn’t have to be all or nothing. It’s when I figured out that somewhere in the middle was perfectly okay.

I see people all the time……projecting perfection. They portray a very perfect life.

They look perfect; have perfect children and perfect relationships. Or maybe their life is perfect because they aren’t tied down with all of that. Don’t forget they have perfect jobs. Or maybe their lives are so perfect that they don’t even have to work. They bake perfectly. Their house is perfect. It’s all so…..perfect.

Just stop, people. Just. Stop.

You aren’t fooling anybody.

I think it must be exhausting. I know it was for me. I lived in fear of making a mistake, looking bad, looking STUPID or UNCOOL. (I never really got the cool thing down at all, honestly. It just wasn’t in the cards, folks. Hello. I’m a dork. And I’m okay with that.)

In addition to being perfect, I worried about what everyone thought about me. Do they like me? Did I just say something stupid? Did they understand what I meant by that? Did that come out wrong? Oh God. They think I meant (insert anything that may cause them to not like me)?

But I’m getting better. Maybe it’s because I’m in my 40’s. Maybe it’s because I’m just so damn tired of the wheels spinning in my head about things that don’t matter and things that are out of my control.

So about these people………the “I can’t help it I’m a perfectionist” people. Or the “My life is Ah-Mazing” people. As irritating as it can be, I have to remember that judging them for their projected perfection is not my job. And I also have to remember that I’m annoyed because sometimes, I still have to fight the urge to try and be perfect. Truthfully, it can be a battle. I have to fight the thoughts that creep in, threatening to ruin my day or steal my joy.

I can’t undo 40 years of damage in a few weeks.

My job is to work on my own damn self. Be a better person. Try to do more good things. Be more empathetic. Listen more, talk less. Stop judging. Be real. Connect with others. Be authentic. Embrace vulnerability. Create a more purposeful life. Accept imperfection.

I’ve also been working on embracing creativity. Part of that is learning that what I create does not have to be perfect. I really miss my creativity. It’s a part of me that I shut down because I didn’t think I had anything of value to create, and also because sometimes you just lose part of yourself. (You can read more about that here.)

A book that is helping me along with that is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. (Note: if you are a creative soul of any kind, particularly if you think you don’t have any creative gifts to offer the world, GO NOW and get it. Go. Run. (But only after you finish reading this, of course.)

I want to share something with you. It’s one of my favorite parts of the book. It’s the part that I read and re-read. It’s the part that made me feel like a bucket of cold water had been dumped on my head. In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert writes:

“I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, “I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.”

YES! YES! YES! (This is where I put the book down, ran around the living room, then did two high kicks and a cartwheel.) Had this book been written ten years ago, it might have eliminated the need for many therapy sessions. But, whatever.

I think the woman is right.

This may not be your truth. But I know it’s mine.

Last week I shared a blog post on Facebook. On one hand, it was terrifying. On the other hand, so liberating. Sharing was scary. Connecting was meaningful. Meaningful wins.

Confession: I edited the visibility of the post. I hid the post from individuals I assumed would be:

Snarky

Judgy

Critical

Hateful

Snotty

Looking for grammatical errors

Why would I do that? Because of FEAR.

Fear is an asshole. I’m not letting Fear dictate. I’m not going to try and dress it up and try to make it look pretty; hiding behind the guise of perfection and not being my true self because I’m worried some people won’t like what I have to say. I will try not to worry. But I will care deeply. Because I care if it matters to you.

If I’m going to really try to live in the open, with authenticity and creativity, then I will share. Even when it’s scary. This time, I won’t edit the audience. (Gulp.)

Some people may like it. Some people will dislike it, maybe hate it. And some will most definitely judge it.

Let them. After all, I’m not perfect. And they aren’t perfect, either.

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