A few thoughts on perfectionism

I have been contemplating the subject of ‘perfectionism’ lately. What does it mean? What does it mean to me? I have been weighing up the costs and the benefits of what perfectionism generally entails. I have been listening to friends, family and clients talk to me about what it means to them, what it leads them to do or more conversely, not do.

In the past I have noticed through patterns of my own, that actually the costs of relentlessly reaching for the best, ends up being the catalyst for self-disregard through acute attention to detail and a constant worrying about whether I am doing “good enough.”

 The thing I’ve noticed is that if I bring meticulous effort and attention to control, shape and keep on top of these measures of success and self worth, I essentially become the rider of the force field and end up doing the opposite of what I believe in- which is to show up with as much of my authentic self as I possibly can. If I don’t do that, then eventually the energy depletes. I may find myself getting a little lost between being overly active (where I end up doing too many things at once) and being pro-active (where I find myself doing things for pleasure, not perfectionism), finding myself with those little creeping burn out sensations. Balance is the word that comes to mind here, little and often, slow and steady…

 But what comes with showing up? Potential slip ups, potential knock-downs, disagreements, mistakes, a perfectionists recurring nightmare! But, these are all the things that keep us growing and moving. A question I was asked recently was: “What would you do if you didn’t have to do it perfectly?” I immediately thought: SO MUCH MORE! I would dance more, start playing drums again, write more often, join the circus (seriously), possibly learn to play the guitar/ukelele/any string instrument, play the harmonica (start a blues band?), write a book…

 So, I am going to start living a little more against the grain of that unattainable perfectionistic voice that still from time to time, pops up… now, pass those drum sticks!

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark”

-Agnes de Mille.