Two Steps to Release Perfectionism

Perfect? (Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Finally the Freedom to Let Go.

Like most things in life, perfectionism can be a motivating factor or a debilitating obsession. On one hand I do want my work to look good, be clear, have impact — be perfect! But, no one is ever going to see it or benefit from it if I continue to keep it hidden away waiting for it to become whatever it is I deem perfect.

Earlier in my career, I had written a bunch of songs and was working with a producer to record them. He had his own view of perfectionism too. What ended up happening was, because of my own rigidity of wanting a certain sound, I failed to receive his “expertise” of the use of technology that could make my music stand out — and up, in a professional arena. The lesson I learned from that project was to not let what I believed to be “the way” to cloud the opportunity that I had available.

What I do now as an artist, a writer, is to try and be available to the work itself. To let the writing flow through me because it has the message that is ready to come out. I am just the vessel. To allow is the single most important tool for the perfectionist. To allow the process, to allow completion even when at times we are fearful to release it into the world. Sometimes, we are just fearful to allow ourselves to be exposed for fear of criticism or judgement.

Being vulnerable is invaluable.

I’ve learned that my heart always knows the truth. That in stilling the mind to listen to my heart — I’ll know when something is ready or finished. It is a risk that may bring criticism, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good! And, that doesn’t mean in the future you won’t update, revise or that someone else won’t want to take your song and make it into a masterpiece. THAT, we surely would be grateful for, right?

The ultimate truth is that nothing is perfect, yet everything is perfect in it own space and time. Some people relate to primitive art, other’s to very structured detail. There is an art form in Japan known as Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi is the appreciation for the imperfect, the adoration of, for example, a clay pot that is not exactly round or has a dent or maybe is a little off center. In the allowance, the appreciation, we observe the beauty and purpose.

The choice is individual, unless you are going in for major surgery, then you might want the perfectionist. Everything in perspective here! LOL! The point being, you will never please everyone. So whatever your work is — get it out in the world! Reach out and touch…

Two Steps I use to decide when my work is ready for release.

  1. Did my Heart Center expand and tell me the message is complete?
  2. Have I taken time to review and ask myself and/or a trusted peer if I should make any course corrections? (If you still have questions, return to step 1)

Finally, the freedom is in letting go. We have to learn this. Teach ourselves that it’s really OK. That we are OK, are enough, safe, and what we do — matters. Being vulnerable is invaluable. And, truth be told, we are able to accomplish so much more work through releasing our attachment to the outcome and in relinquishing our control over it.

I’ve make my furthest leaps forward this way — through my allowance of imperfection. Wabi-Sabi.

Originally published at on July 3, 2017.