Death to Perfectionism

I recently finished reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly and have been inspired to reference some of the key arguments she makes in the book because her insights are so relevant and useful to think about.

After I published the last vlog on Anxiety I got a comment from someone asking why we choose to take life so seriously when so many spiritual leaders teach about levity and laugher. There is this great article, The Cosmic Joke Behind Enlightenment, which speaks to the silliness of all our human pursuits and how enlightenment is actually just the ability to take life lightly and to laugh at it all.

I question why I can’t just laugh at it all? I mean, I’m privileged to live a really happy, healthy and full life yet I stress all the time about the smallest things. Why do we take the moment so seriously and why do we worry about the future or regret the past?

Well, in my mind the biggest drain on my energy and the most consistent trap I set for myself is this idea of perfection. Perfectionism is this crazy, all-or-nothing belief that strips us of self-esteem and joy. With perfectionism, we set ourselves up for failure. If you feel you have to be perfect than you put off doing things because you can’t bare to feel you’re not getting it right. It hijacks our sense of worthiness and limits our freedom to express ourselves.

If we set ourselves up to believe that we are not enough until we’re perfect, we are going to be unhappy. End. Of. Story. So how do we learn to think differently?

I like this quote:

I remind myself, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of good.”… A twenty-minute walk I do is better than the four-mile run that I don’t do. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host.

We all put things off or talk ourselves out of doing/creating/saying things because it might not come out perfect or ideal. We are letting ourselves down. The world doesn’t need perfect. The world needs you. We need you to be yourself and to be brave enough to step out into the arena and show us what it looks like to try. This is vulnerability and it’s damn hard. But when you lose your fear of failure, when you can risk being imperfect and find the truest expression of you, then you will realise that your worthiness is not dependent on anything except the belief in its existence.

When we treat ourselves with love and compassion, when we allow ourselves to show up imperfectly and be present in the moment, we find joy and happiness (and sadness and pain – that’s part of life too). All you need to do is remind yourself that YOU ARE ENOUGH.

 

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