Who would ever think that there is a problem with pursuing perfection?
The desire to be perfect usually brings forth unhappiness. I believe this to be true, because the pursuit of perfection is a never ending journey. I can attest to this.
Most of my life, I lived in the pursuit of perfection. Where something could always be better. My grades in school, yes, I got a B, but I can do better. While on the basketball team, my “jumper” was on fire during halftime, but during the game, ummm, well yeah, I can do better. I dated the captain of the football team. Can it get any better? I needed someone with more intellect, I can do better! While at work, awarded with great performance reviews. I still seen room for growth, so I can do better.
What I didn’t realize, is that while in my pursuit of perfection, it not only clouded every area of my life, it effected a lot of the people I loved as well.
Growing up as a single mother, I of course, raised my daughter the best that I knew how. But for me, in the pursuit of perfection, there was always something I could do better. I remember some time ago when I worked countless hours being a director of sales for 3 major hotels at one time. I didn’t have the experience for the position, but given the opportunity, my goal was to perfect it! At a meeting I attended, I remember a lady telling me,
You have to fake it until you make it!
What I got out of her words of wisdom was I needed to do all that I could do until I could do no more. I needed to pursue perfection and act as if I had it all together until I actually did. So, that was my goal to fake it until I made it. Besides, opportunities like this (especially at my age, in my early 20’s ) don’t come knocking at the door too often. So as I was saying, I worked countless hours in the pursuit of perfection. I would drop my daughter off at school, head into work, take a late lunch and run to pick her up from school, then take her back to work with me. We didn’t make it home until it was time to go to sleep.
In the pursuit of perfection, I didn’t realize that
While I was busy attempting to perfect one area, I was greatly failing in another.
Yes, the job was an opportunity that brought great wealth and I may never receive that knock on the door again. But, while pursuing perfection in one area of my life, I was missing out on an opportunity of a lifetime in another area, with my daughter.
Not only was my pursuit effecting precious quality time with my daughter, but it lead her on her own journey of pursuing perfection within herself. When on the basketball team, no matter a win or loss, she could always do better. Now, she is in college and is concerned about receiving “B’s” in her classes. Why? Because she could do better. She is a young entrepreneur strategically focused on perfecting her business because it can be better. And of course there is the whole dating aspect. Which I must admit, I don’t mind her seeking perfection in this area. Take your time baby girl and pursue the perfect guy! 😉
In the eyes of someone else, I’m sure they wish my daughter was their child! Some may be thinking, what’s wrong with your daughter wanting to be better and pursuing perfection? I get it. Don’t get me wrong. My daughter has her head on straight and I am very proud to be her mother. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be better. I absolutely encourage her and others to want better out of life. But, I no longer encourage the pursuit of perfection. There is a difference. As I mentioned above, pursuing perfection is a never ending journey that usually leads to stress and unhappiness. Where pursuing progression is more attainable and realistic.
The Impossible State of Perfection
While mentoring others and of course, through my own experience, I noticed a pattern in those plagued by their need to be perfect. Many times their pursuit of perfection is a disguise for their own insecurities. Their insecurities develop into a statement that suggests I am not good enough just as I am. In doing so, we are judging ourselves. People who strive toward being perfect are usually compensating for their sense of inadequacy. They have an elaborate sense of their own shortcomings. Most grow up feeling in some way that they are never good enough, so their goal is to pursue perfection. This way they will be beyond reproach. Most perfectionist, in their insecurities, tend to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. And on that other side, others are somehow better or superior than they are. So, they live a life trying to be without flaw, trying to catch up with the Jones’. This is a very harmful cycle to live in.
The Perfectionist Is Never Present
The closest thing to perfection besides God, is the ability to be fully present. To be fully present means to be really free in the moment, without distracting thoughts, measuring or grading ourselves. It’s in this moment that we are truly alive!
Pursuing perfection and faking it until I made it did not allow me to be truly free and alive. It came with a price and a lot of baggage. There wasn’t a time where I didn’t have distracting thoughts, measuring or grading myself to see what I could improve on and do better.
I am no longer the perfectionist who is never present.
I am no longer too busy critiquing my past, replaying my every decision and worrying about my future.
Now, I am living in the moment, soaking up the sun and striding towards progression.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!
Have you ever experienced the pursuit of perfection? How did it make you feel? What was your outcome?
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