How the Lie of Perfection Keeps You Stuck
There’s a misnomer out there about how if you make “everything perfect”, you will somehow succeed. If you have the right education or come from the right family. If you take the right course or just follow the right person on social media, your life can be just as perfect as theirs. Just like the lie of social media on an Instagram or Facebook feed. This is the "Martha Stewart syndrome" (before we all found out she wasn’t perfect and went to jail).
I love to cook and bake. It’s always been a passion of mine and I have seriously considered going to culinary school at one point. But, it never manifested and now remains a passion I share with those close to me. I can remember watching Martha Stewart and wanting to get it perfect just like she did. With her super white immaculately clean kitchen. I remember how she never got anything dirty, no flour puffed up in her face when she turned on the mixer. I remember feeling like I could never be that “good”. I wanted that vision of having it all together. I wanted to be crisp and clean just like that. Then, thank god, Ina Garten came into the cooking world and she seemed just as excellent but was more casual. Sometimes things spilled on the counter, flour puffed up on her shirt or she would splash a little extra vanilla in the mixer, unmeasured!! I remember breathing a sigh of relief. Whew! She was more relatable and still had a pretty amazing kitchen and people orgasmed over her food. Ok, all was well with the world.
We are a culture that loves to destroy someone because they aren’t perfect! How dare you be NOT perfect!?! Which, is then a set up for creating a monster. It’s a set up because where does that “horrible imperfect” part of you go? You shove it down. Try to hide it. Try to cover it with lots of make-up so no one knows the real you isn’t as you show up. And then it festers, it breeds and grows in a not so healthy way.
The Lie of Perfection
Lie #1: If I Get it All Perfect, I will Be Happy
Getting trapped by the lure of perfection is very seductive, especially when you may not be feeling so together. Seeing the possibility of it all being orderly and put together is very much like a drug. It may be great for the first few times, but then the happy cloud wears off and you still have to deal with what is in the aftermath. A lot of headaches and sometimes heartache, too. There is no perfect situation because inevitably all the planning doesn't mean it will be flawless. Ask any bride, who worked their asses off for the "perfect" outdoor wedding, and it was pouring rain on the big day. And sometimes the best stories of overcoming the "life happens" scenario, is the story you REALLY remember! You can plan and then you have to let go of the outcome and trust that it will work out the best way for you.
Lie # 2: If Situation-A is perfect, then Situation-B can happen
Another way to say this, if you find the perfect mate, then your life will be happy. If you get that perfect job, then all will be well. Everything else will come together once the first thing is perfect. Getting things perfect, can keep you in a frozen stand-off with yourself. Because you don’t want to move unless it’s perfect, and you can’t create action without movement. Insert frozen stuck feeling. It’s also the covert partner to procrastination. It’s disguised as wanting to get it just right, but it really is a way to procrastinate the action part, keeping you in your comfort zone of uncomfortableness.
And Lie #3: If I Show My Imperfections, People will judge me
This statement may be true for some of the people in your life. And that's ok. THEY AREN"T YOUR PEOPLE. But the truth is, when you show this picture of being perfect it creates a barrier. Being perfect puts an invisible barrier between you and others. Other people, you may be trying to connect with and get close to feel like they don't really know who you are, which makes them distrust. And without you even realizing it, you created this imaginary brick wall. Releasing yourself from that barrier creates an opening for more connection and more intimacy. Probably what you have been craving anyway!
Embracing our Imperfections
There’s too much emphasis on having everything together and less on embracing our imperfections. What’s so wrong with being able to look at what isn’t perfect about you? You may actually find that people who know you like when you are around because they know you know how to get things done, for example. Or that when you come around, you can organize a room like no other. A trait you may have thought as bossiness, now shows up as orderly and put together.
It can be put in a container, but it's shutting you down and confining you to a box. Rather, break that lid wide open and fully embrace those parts of you. The gift may lie underneath all the criticism, the "Critical Creeper", where it's actually your greatest strength. It may feel uncomfortable, but instead of being comfortable in your zone of uncomfortableness. It's that space where you get to see what you’re made of. You get to see how that part of you is actually your greatest gift!
Click to tweet: Stop being comfortable in your zone of uncomfortableness.
Start to see your imperfections as the gift they are.
When we learn to love those pieces of ourselves that may not be perfect, you really start to grow into who you may become. I say, let that “ugly” part out of the closest. Look at it in the eye and ask yourself these questions:
- What do you have to teach me?
- What do I need to discover about you?
- What is underneath of this that may be a real strength for me?
Let's be the generation that drops the fantasy of getting it all perfect. We owe it to the next generations to come. 💜