Ridding yourself of the need – or desire – for perfection is one of the kindest things you can do for yourself because it’s a package deal.
When you say ‘see ya later’ to perfection, expectation and disappointment get walked off the gangplank too.
I’ve been painting a bit recently. The hidden bonus, beyond the calm and happiness it gives me? Creative work challenges that in-bred drive for perfection.
I was born to a Swiss mother and engineer father. I may as well as have been labelled ‘control/clean freak’ at the hospital.
When I moved into my first university share house, I used to iron handkerchiefs. This is alarming for so many reasons, mostly because, a) who has hankies any more, and b) what kind of uni student irons anything?
It’s been a long road towards learning to live with disorder. Letting dirty floors go in favour of focusing on people. Trying not to obsess or blame myself when things I have organised go wrong. Embracing the ‘wabi sabi‘ (perfect imperfection) of everything.
Because the truth is that perfect is rare. It will occasionally come along in the form of a baby’s fingers, a flower, or a sunny day, but here’s the thing: you can’t control it. It arrives and leaves whenever it wants, much like the neighbour’s cat.
By seeking an elusive state of perfection, we are ignoring what is good and what is working. What is awkwardly pleasant, chaotically fun or boring but relaxing. The dark and the light co-exist in most moments, except for those very rare ones which cannot be planned.
Letting go of the need for perfection allows you to see things as they are, and love them for it.
Wouldn’t that be a relief?