Ditching Perfectionism and Discovering Joy
I’ve decided to get super, duper bored with perfectionism.
I’m just over it, you know?
Because perfectionism may make things look pretty on the outside sometimes, but it’s not real. And all I’m really interested in at this point is the realness.
Don’t get me wrong — I love pretty stuff, I love design, and beautiful writing, and all that jazz — but only when it’s got heart. It’s got to have character, personality, je ne sais quoi, whatever you want to call it — otherwise it just feels empty.
The thing with perfectionism is (speaking from personal experience) — it’s so deeply rooted in a belief that we’re not good enough.
It’s such a widely accepted quality by most people — many even brag about it (I know I used to think it was a pretty fancy thing to be) — but really it’s just an excuse to hold yourself back from taking risks, making mistakes, making deep connections with people, feeling confident, accomplishing awesome stuff, focusing on the stuff that actually matters, and just all-out L-I-V-I-N-G.
I can’t count the amount of projects that I’ve started since I created my business that I’ve just straight up abandoned because I was perfectionist-ing the shit out of them. I’ve turned super exciting ideas into torturous chores that I dread working on because I’m so worried about them being some unattainable idea of “perfect” that I’ve created in my head.
Perfectionism is selfish. I mean, think about the people that all of those half-finished projects could have helped if I didn’t sabotage them and instead actually put them out into the world?
The list for these types of case studies with me goes on and on, stretching into so many different areas of my life — from agonizing over what I’m going to say / what I actually said to people, to social media posting, to gift-giving, to writing and expressing ideas, to what I look like / how I’m dressed. It’s so exhausting and completely boring.
And you know what, I used to convince myself that those perfectionist tendencies were all about the high standards I have for myself, my work, etc. — and while this is partially true, that’s not where these habits stem from. Really, that’s just my way of not admitting to myself that they’re coming from a place of lack, insecurity, and feeling like I’m not enough.
My perfectionist tendencies don’t stem from me determining my own self-worth, they stem from my reliance on other people to determine my self worth for me.
YIKES. I’m giving random people (sometimes even strangers) permission to determine MY self-worth? No thanks, I’m all set with that. That’s a shitload of personal power to give away.
Isn’t it kinda wild to really peel back the layers on habits you have? We do most things so unconsciously and accept our habits as part of who we are — which in turn prevents us from taking time to step back and figure out what our motivations are.
To keep unpacking this idea, what it boils down to is that every single one of us is different, we’ve got our own little magic bag of tricks that no one else has, and that’s the freakin’ spice of life, man! Everything we do, say, create, think should have character — because that stuff is totally unique to us.
Also, to be a perfectionist assumes that there is such a thing as perfect — or even a common definition of perfect — which makes no sense. We define “perfect” based on beliefs we’ve picked up from various influential people and experiences over our lifetime — but in reality it’s a meaningless, joy-robbing, stress-inducing, undefinable word.
It’s so easy to forget that people are inspired by people that they can relate to — they make us feel less alone, more understood, and free to be ourselves, flaws-and-all. Not to mention, striving for “perfect” takes us out of the moment and sucks the fun out of everyday experiences because we’re so consumed with how we’re being perceived.
Imagine if all of the people you knew were just completely authentic, and did things with purpose because they’re passionate about them instead of worrying about people judging them? How interesting, and fun, and joyful, and inspiring would life be?
And to be clear, getting bored with perfectionism doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work hard to be awesome at the things I love, and continue to learn and evolve, and put beautiful stuff out into the world (of course I do!) — but I’m not striving to become good enough, lovable enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, etc. anymore. I’m coming from a totally different intention.
I’m already enough, yo! I was BORN enough. And so were you, and so was every single other person in the world. We’re all enough. SAY IT WITH ME!
There’s nothing any of us can to do become enough anything — because enoughness is our essence.
There’s SO much freedom in that.