“Are you a perfectionist?” is a funny question to ask someone.
Sure there are people who are obsessive about things like cleaning their apartment or being on time – but I’d make the argument we’re all perfectionists in recovery.
Have you talked yourself out of doing something for fear it may not work out?
Have you tried to ask someone out but think they could say no?
Do you want to launch a new product or business but continue saying “it’s not ready?”
Have you tried to lose weight for an event?
Do you edit your photos or take 100 selfies to get the “right” one?
I’ve done all of those.
It was really easy to think of these examples.
I used to hate taking photos/videos of myself doing yoga. When you consider 99% of the yoga images on the internet are thin, tan, blonde, handstanding girls in $100 yoga outfits, you think twice before posting your own shit.
We can get as judgmental as we want but the truth is we’re all dealing with some aspect of perfection.
Here’s why this is a problem.
The idea of perfection forces our brains into a binary predicament – we’re either “right” or “wrong”.
We leave little space for grey area….and isn’t that where everything interesting happens?
And when was the last time you met someone who was right all the time?
Guessing they were pretty fucking annoying.
Maybe you’re thinking of someone who’s flawless in your eyes. I’ll bet they don’t feel flawless – and it’s actually those little flaws that draw people towards them.
It can feel icky when thinking about our past “flaws”. Stupid things we did or said (especially as teenagers).
There can be intense shame over things in our past that we cannot change.
If we dwell on how terrible we were, the only thing it’s hurting is our future.
We all need to fuck up sometimes. In little ways and big ways.
How boring would life be without our screw ups?
Worst of all, this idea of perfection holds us back from moving forward. We stand still because being perfect at boring is safer than failing at interesting.
Give yourself a break from perfection today.
Eat a girl scout cookie. Press send on that email. Wear the dress that’s been in the back of your closet. Take the meeting, even if you aren’t ready. Ask her out.
As always, I’m talking to myself along with you in these emails. I’ve got a box of thin mints at home.