There is great harmony in surrendering to imperfection.
In my book, Tao Flashes, I talk about the beauty of imperfection. And I readily, if not gleefully confess, that I am and will always be “perfectly imperfect.”
Because the truth is, there is no such thing as perfection…it is all perception anyway. We women put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect: the perfect size 2, the perfect mother, the perfect hostess, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter. It’s as though we are auditioning for the role of a lifetime, learning our lines, living on cue, in perfect harmony with someone else’s reality. And the irony is, that while we are working hard to live up to everyone’s perception of perfect, we are actually failing ourselves.
This is to our detriment. When we silence our inner spirit, when we say no, not yes, to living our authentic–and far from perfect–lives, we risk depression, illness, anger, even.
I believe at midlife we women have earned the right to dance to our own tune, to keep pace with our own rhythm. We’ve earned the right to be authentic, to be imperfect. And we’ve certainly earned the right to close the door on the “shoulds” and the “coulds” that only diminish our spirits.
I know surrendering to imperfection is an uncomfortable thought for many of us women. Even me. But the more I do it, the more I like and appreciate myself for who I am, for what I’ve accomplished. Loosening myself from the grip of perfection allows me to fully live my life, instead of watching it play out from the sidelines.
I know people frozen by fear. I have someone close to me who can’t finish a piece of art because it is not perfect enough. I know others who have performance anxiety when given deadlines and can’t produce the work because they fear it will not be “perfect.”
I used to be this person, but she is showing up less and less. And I have found experimenting, playing even, with my imperfect self to be rewarding. For instance, I have no formal art experience and anyone who has ever played Pictionary with me knows I am incapable of drawing anything that remotely looks like the state of Florida or a simple chair or a four-legged pet. Yet, I started painting a few years ago, letting my intuitive spirit guide me, pushing the brush around until the painting morphed into its own vision of itself. And while my paintings are far south of perfect, several hang on my wall. Some are even framed. They remind me of my bravery and my willingness to display imperfection; they remind me of what it was like to be a kid, to run, to play, to live, to laugh, to have no concept of perfection.
I share this with you so that I may challenge you to look for areas of your life where the fear of being less than perfect chokes you. What are you missing as a result ? Can you be brave enough to surrender to imperfection, to authenticity?
The Tao Te Ching, my inspiration for Tao Flashes, speaks about living with virtue, with integrity. For me, being perfectly imperfect and finding a way to accept that truth in me–in others–is living with integrity.
For some perfectionists, all of this might be hard to hear or read. But where perfection is robbing you of peace, choking you of creativity, of joy, hear this: Don’t let perfect get in the way of good, or good enough.
Now, how perfect is that statement?