Perfection is a topic that I’ve wanted to write about for several months. It is a theme that keeps coming up in my life, as I work through my life’s lessons. It shows up when I sit down to paint, write or try anything new. Being imperfect, in the world we live in today, feels like a big risk. However, it is definitely a risk worth taking!
Outside Pressure for Perfection
I can trace some of the pressure I feel for Perfection back to my school days. Well meaning teachers, and others, telling us that in order to be successful you have to be the Best of the Best. I spent my childhood in the middle of the pack. I was never at the top of the class, and in some instances I was at the bottom.
That being said, instead of feeling pressured to try harder, I didn’t even try. What’s the point, if only the Best move forward. I felt, for a very long time, that I wasn’t gifted or talented.
Out Growing Outside Pressure
Fortunately, there is a wisdom acquired through adulthood. Every success and achievement has bolstered my confidence. A great deal of encouragement has pushed me from behind. Getting out and meeting all different kinds of people has been the best teacher. I’ve met folks who Do, just because it makes them happy. I’ve seen that success is available to all, not just the “cream of the crop”.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that we all have potential. Some of us show our potential early on. Other’s of us grow into it along the way. I’m in the latter category 🙂
Internal Pressure for Perfection
Outgrowing the external pressures for Perfection was pretty much a matter of growing up, and having experiences. The internal pressure, or fear, is a different beast. That internal judge is stubborn, and loud. Instead of tallying up successes, she focuses on every little failure. She compares me to perceptions of others. She is very narrow minded, and tunnel visioned. Plus, the yard stick she uses to measure my success is completely unrealistic.
Breaking Up with the Internal Judge
It has been in realizing that my own internal judgments are the chains holding me in place. Through that realization, I have been able to set myself free. It has taken time, and a good deal of work, but I’ve managed to break up the relationship with my internal judge…most of the time 😉
How to Break Free
The first step is to get out there and do the thing you are afraid to try. It sounds simple. However, I know from personal experience, that it is the hardest step to take.
Secondly, take baby steps. Often our first inclination is go out out and invest a lot of money into The Thing we want to do. Usually, it’s not necessary, and there are a ton of ways to try it out first.
Finally, put forth the effort to succeed, but allow yourself to stumble. I’ve been in a lot of classes with others who are so afraid that they will not do well, that they sabotage themselves from the very beginning. During the whole class, they repeat how clumsy or untalented they are, and the results show that. Wouldn’t it be better to put forth a diligent effort, and cheer when it works?
If you have been wanting to try your hand at Creative Endeavors such as Painting, Fiber Crafts (Quilting, Sewing, Knitting, etc.) or Paper Crafts, check our your local craft and fabric stores. They usually have small classes, and provide the supplies. This is a great way to try your hand at something new, without spending a ton of money on supplies that you may, or may not actually want to use later.
Community Education can be a great place to explore and learn new skills. Depending on the availability of instructors, you might be able to find classes in dance, sports, photography, web design or even real estate. See what is available in your town. Or, sign up to share some of your skills and knowledge.
YouTube is an amazing source of knowledge and inspiration for a huge variety of subjects. If you are looking at trying your hand at a new hobby, it is a great resource for learning in just about every way possible. Since everyone who posts on YouTube is not an expert, you get a variety of skill levels.
Facebook can be a great place to join up with groups of people with similar interests. There are groups for just about everything. There are even quilting groups that exchange blocks through the mail.
Perfection Doesn’t Apply
The bottom line is that you just need to get out there and explore some of your dreams. Feed your soul. Don’t let the need to be perfect at everything keep you from doing anything! So what, if you try something and find out it’s not for you. At least you know, and can move onto something else!