Thursday, 7 April 2011

Letting go of being perfect

In the past I was one of those people who's addicted to self-help books. Why? Because I've always felt there was something wrong with me that I had to fix, something that I could improve about myself. I felt that until I was perfect I was not worthy of love.

In my work especially I felt I needed things to be just so... Even when I did my best I always felt that I could have somehow done better, that the work I produced was somehow flawed. If someone gave me negative feedback it would send me into a tail spin!

This way of looking at myself meant that for a long time I seemed to attract partners who reflected back my need for perfection. They were always offering suggestions on how I could correct this or that fault, or how I could improve myself. On the other hand, because I had such high expectations of myself I also demanded perfection in them. Needless to say we made one another pretty unhappy!

It took me a long time to realise that achieving perfection is both impossible and undesirable, not to mention that in striving for it we lead ourselves into all manner of difficulties along the way. By expecting perfection of ourselves we set ourselves up to fail over and over and over again, at least in our own eyes. Other people may be impressed by our work, they may love us dearly despite all our flaws but this is never enough. We never believe in their love or praise because in terms of our own aims we have fallen far short.

Letting go of the need to be perfect is difficult, though I've found along the way that a few things can help us along.

Firstly, look to nature; nature is replete with desperately beautiful things that are deeply flawed if looked at from the perspective of conventional beauty. Nature is messy, smelly and seemingly disorganised but somehow harmonious. When we look at our own lives we can see many parallels here; we begin to appreciate that it is our 'imperfections' that make us uniquely, beautifully, who we are.

Secondly, daily meditation helps us to become mindful of our thoughts so that instead of working towards perfection we instead start to notice the kind of thoughts and actions that work for us and those that don't. For example we may notice that drinking a lot of alcohol when we're depressed simply makes us more depressed, so we stop doing that so often. We don't stop because we want to be a better person or to live up to some ideal, we stop simply because we can see clearly that it doesn't work for us.

We no longer struggle to change, we simply let go of what no longer serves us.         

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

May be this will halp me to stop or let go my bulumia....