This week I had a perfectionist moment. I realized I needed advice on a sensitive subject. Then I thought of several people I trust that I could ask to give me advice. People who's opinion and wisdom I value. Then the strangest thing happened: my mind told me that I couldn't possibly ask a single one of these people for advice, because if I did they would know that I don't have life 100% figured out. All sorts of self-judgement, fear, and shame came rushing in when what I needed was kindness, acceptance, and a good listener.
In the past I might have filed that experience under the heading: "I'm shy" or "I'm socially-awkward" "I'm a private person" "I'm an introvert". But this time I recognized it as what it truly is: Perfectionism.
Elizabeth Gilbert has the best description for it: "Perfectionism is just fear in really great shoes."
And it'll stop you in your tracks every single time if you let it.
What's happening in perfectionist moments is a simple misunderstanding. For some reason in those moments we've forgotten that we are whole and complete exactly as we are. The Universe is 100% whole, complete, and perfect just as it is and so are YOU. And, that whole and complete perfection is SO whole complete full and perfect that it also contains lack, missing information, mistakes, and imperfections.
Imperfections are a part of this whole being human experience. They are a part of what make us perfect. Without them we'd never challenge ourselves to learn and grow. Without them we'd all be robot zombie look alikes and there'd be no need for art, searching, or spirit. Why would we bother if we were all exactly perfectly the same? How Boring.
The trouble comes when we think the imperfections are imperfect and disallowed.
But think of the moon. It is beautiful in it's fullness each month. And the face the moon shows us as she rises each month is not completely smooth, flat, and featureless. No, the face the moon shows has craters, ridges, pock marks -- battle scars from eons ago. The markings of the moon do not detract from her fullness. If anything they add to it by bringing mystery, wonder recognition and familiarity in the almost human face she benevolently shines upon us. Would you choose to erase the scars on the surface of the moon?
I'll bet not. I certainly don't
So what I want to say to you and say to myself is:
There is nothing that the Heart cannot hold. There is nothing that is not embraced by the fullness of Life - - including your perceived imperfections. You are perfectly imperfect just as you are. If you grow, change, "improve" you will continue to be perfectly imperfect in your new state. Let us learn to be like Life and fully embrace ourselves. Let us learn to be imperfectionists - and by doing so, revel in our own perfection.