Nobody is perfect, even though sometimes we wish we were. And yet this striving to be perfect can cause us to go to extreme lengths, in ways that aren’t always healthy for us. It can often leave us feel inadequate and insecure.
Have you ever tried something over and over again, well past the point of common sense, in order to get things exactly right? Have you felt that intense pressure to make your work the greatest it can be?
Or on the contrary, has the fear of your flaws and imperfections ever stopped you from trying altogether?
As much as tend to think there is such a thing as being “perfect”, in reality it’s actually a myth. Perfectionism is an ideal; not truly attainable, but something we imagine is real only in our heads.
Some of us spend a whole lot of time and energy trying to get as close to perfect as possible, ignoring the value of the journey and the importance of starting and finishing our projects.
In the pursuit of the myth of success, we miss the best lessons on the way.
Let’s explore how to embrace our flaws and imperfections.
The Problems of Chasing a Myth
Human beings are…well, human. We are all prone to make mistakes.
If you’ve met someone who claims to have no flaws, you can rest assured that they’re probably sweeping some things under the rug. In fact, it’s inevitable that if humans are involved, mistakes will be made.
It may not sound like it, but there’s plenty of comfort to be found in knowing this.
Sometimes we get pretty backwards about this. We chase perfection, and when we make that inevitable mistake, instead of using it as an opportunity to learn, we use it as an opportunity to beat ourselves up.
It’s evidence of our weakness and worthlessness. We aren’t trying hard enough.
We become self-destructive.
The way around these problems is simple, but not always easy.
In order to overcome perfectionism, you need to embrace your imperfections in a positive way and see them as evidence for what they really are: that you are human and that, like all humans, you make mistakes.
When you let go of perfectionism, you instead learn from those mistakes and move on to better things.
These are our best techniques that you can use to avoid the negativity of perfectionism and begin embracing your flaws in a positive way.
Set a Small Goal and Achieve It
Many people have developed the habit of biting off more than they can chew in their daily tasks. They get competent at developing ambitious plans, but don’t have the best follow through on getting those plans accomplished. This sets them up for negativity when their plans don’t come to fruition on a regular basis.
If this is something that happens to you, resist the urge to beat yourself up about it. Instead, try changing that imperfection into a strength.
You do this by simply setting smaller goals for yourself.
When you set smaller goals, you greatly increase the likelihood that you will achieve those goals. Regularly achieving your goals builds positive energy.
We’ve said it before, but positive momentum is one of the keystones to success.
Additionally, you can still take on bigger projects. All you have to do is break the bigger jobs down in to manageable chunks. Treat each of those chunks as individual goals, knocking them off one by one, and you’ll get to the finish line in no time.
Break a Habit
Many negative outcomes are caused by bad habits. Some of these bad habits are so ingrained, they actually seem like normal behavior after a time.
Over weeks and months, this destructive behavior settles into the background of everyday activity. The person involved in the behavior will be completely unaware of its existence. These ingrained and negative background behaviors can be dangerous precisely because they are unnoticed.
In order to check if you currently have any of these hidden bad habits, you may need to rely on a close friend or loved one. They might have gone unnoticed to you but from an objective viewpoint, they’re often quite noticeable.
Ask someone close to you if they have observed you habitually doing something negative or destructive.
Listen to what they have to say. Keep an open mind.
If you can accept the feedback and take what they have to say to heart, you’ll be able to work on changing that habit.
Embrace that imperfection for what it is and begin the process of turning what you are now aware of into positive behavior. But keep in mind that trying to be ‘perfect’ and erasing all of your bad habits will just leave in the same cycle as always. Do your best, but be realistic about yourself and your shortcomings.
It Might Sound Silly, but Smile More
We know this sounds like a platitude and not much more. Yet study after study has shown that actions do indeed influence thoughts and emotions.
Smiling, even if you’re not particularly happy, changes how you feel about a project or about the world in general.
When you activate the muscles necessary to smile, your brain interprets that activation as a sign that all is well and good externally. It then releases chemicals that mimics an external stimulus, even if there wasn’t anything you were actually smiling at.
In short, you acted happy, so you feel happy. Try it for yourself.
Be playful with how silly it feels and see if it has a positive impact on your mood.
Be Solution Oriented
Some people see life as a series of problems to be solved or overcome.
People with this viewpoint tend to see the world in a somewhat negative light. Everything and everyone represent potential trouble. Therefore, they always feel the need to be on guard. They feel the need to always be prepared for the worst.
The other way of approaching life is completely different. This approach sees life as a journey, where failures teach us lessons. Far from being overwhelmed by life, people with this attitude relish life’s challenges. They are endlessly curious about the world and the way that it operates.
We encourage this latter approach to life. Find a positive outlook and look for solutions.
Remind yourself that making a mistake is not fatal.
The only way to discover a solution is to accept the challenge that has presented itself and welcome the mistakes that come. Whenever things get stressful, focus on finding a solution rather than on the frustrations of the problem.
When you learn from your mistakes, you also gain the ability to teach others how to avoid that error as well. A mentor is great not only for the knowledge they’re willing to share, but also because of they reveal the importance of learning from mistakes through the way they obtained that knowledge.
If they hadn’t made mistakes, there would be no knowledge to share.
Remember this when you learn your own lessons in life. Remember that in sharing what you’ve learned, you have demonstrated the power of embracing your imperfections in a profound and useful way.
Be Grateful for Your Imperfections
This might be our last tip, but it certainly isn’t least.
Without flaws, life would be rather boring.
There’s a saying that in heaven, nothing ever happens. How could it? Everything is perfect, and so very boring.
Perfection implies that there is no need to grow, no need to change, because everything is as it should be. There is no contrast between good and bad, because everything is good.
Without imperfections, we wouldn’t be motivated to make positive alterations in our behavior. Without mistakes, there wouldn’t be a lesson to be learned that only makes us stronger.
When you look at it this way, not only is perfection realistically unattainable, but it’s so boring that you wouldn’t want it anyway!
The interesting stuff happens when things get messy, when thing break, and when the unexpected occurs. That’s why embracing your imperfections in a positive manner, and being grateful for them, is so important.
Your imperfections are a map that leads you to positive change; a change that makes a difference in your life and in the lives of everyone around you. Embrace them and you’ll find your life will change for the better on your path to achieving your dreams.
Thanks for reading our article on perfectionism!
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