“When you finally accept that it’s OK not to have answers and it’s OK not to be perfect,
you realize that feeling confused is a normal part of what it is to be a human being.”
– Winona Ryder
We all have a voice in the back of our heads that tries to drive us crazy. The things this ‘inner critic’ say to us is ruthless. Nothing we do is ever good enough and nothing we’re trying to do will ever amount to much, according to this inner critic, we are perpetual failures
. We will never be perfect, according to this ‘voice’ we hear in our heads. But where does this ‘voice’ come from and what is this about being ‘perfect’ anyway? Between perfect and work in progress, which one is better?
My perception of 100% is not the same as your perception of 100% because we are different. No matter how we define perfection, when we don’t meet a certain expectation, this inner critic gets fired up. ‘I told you so! I knew you couldn’t do it. Shouldn’t have tried in the first place. See what you end up with now? Serves you right for not listening to me.’ Makes me want to curl up in the corner, get it over with and just die or something.
Talk about compassion towards oneself.
If you’re thinking, ‘what the hell is she ranting about?’ I know it sounds like a rant but if you’ve read this far, please bear with me a bit longer. I swear I have a point.
Perfection is a self-imposed standard that we put on ourselves. What is perfect for you is not the same as what is perfect for me or for the guy sitting next to you on the train. Each family member or your friends have a different definition of perfection. Chasing after this ‘perfection’ is equivalent to setting ourselves up for failure and disappointment.
Chase progress, not perfection
Life is not a finite thing and nothing is ever written in stone. Anything can and will change, sometimes you will like it, sometimes you won’t. Life is all about change, learning new things, experiencing new things, and growing from it. The moment we think that we’re done with life, the moment we think that we’re perfect, we cease to grow as a human being and that’s the antithesis of what we stand for.
There won’t be a day that everything in life makes perfect sense. There won’t be a day we won’t have to struggle. There won’t be a day we finished working on ourselves. Life is a journey, the destination is maybe reached the day we die (unless you believe in reincarnation). The moment we stop making progress, we lose the most valuable things life has to give us.
How to stop chasing after perfection
- Reality check
Realize and accept that we’re not meant to be perfect. Not that you accept whatever life throws your way and give up at that. But learn to be happy with what you are and what you have and know that you can grow from this. The imperfections are the things that make all of us unique and special in our own way.
Ask yourself, what do you want out of life? Answer it truthfully, don’t factor in what the media or social media says you should be or have. This is all about you.
- Love yourself more
You are unique. You are different. The things you can do others can’t and that makes you a very interesting human being.
- Learn to say no
Saying no is good for your mental health. It is also good for others as well. Time will come when people will need to deal with their own issues their way, not your way. Give advice, by all means, but know when it’s best to be a cheerleader and when it’s best to lend a helping hand. Not knowing how to say no will eventually wear you out body, mind, and soul.
- Be grateful
Be grateful for who and what you are. Be grateful for all that you are, all that you have, every day. Every good thing starts from a place of gratitude.
- Let go
Stop hunting for other people’s approval. When you seek outsider’s approval, you’re not doing it right. Search for your approval first, worry about other people’s later.
- Learn to adjust your plans
Life is not a straight forward path. Learn to adjust your plans, expectations, yourself to whatever comes your way. Learn to adapt to everything in life.
- Learn to prioritize
Life is more than work and chores and making ends meet. If you never enjoy the little accomplishments, maybe it’s time to step back and reevaluate things.
When I realized that my goal of perfection is unreachable because I set ridiculous standard for myself, I learned to relax. I stressed out less and I’m happier about being who I am. I just know that I can learn. Now my goal is to be a little better than I was yesterday.
- Fuck being perfect, be a work in progress!
Not having to squeeze yourself into the mould of ‘perfection’ lets you experience more flexibility, spontaneity, self-love and self-acceptance. It gives more room for you love yourself and others more. It gives you the opportunity to grow from your experience and there’s no need for anymore self-loathing once things didn’t go exactly as planned because that’s just natural. The important thing is to keep on going. Be an ever-changing blob in this ever-changing world.
And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.
– John Steinbeck
So do you agree with what I said? If you don’t, why not?