The Problem With Perfection

This month we’re talking about self-care and there is no better way to take care of yourself than giving up your idea of being perfect. In Dare to Connect, Susan talks a lot about Somebody Training vs. Everybody Training. In this excerpt Susan talks about letting go of the need to be perfect and to embrace our faults.

STOP TRYING TO BE “PERFECT” This is one situation where “giving up” has to be the healthiest thing you can do for ourselves. So breath a sign of relief! Rest easy as you stop trying to do the impossible. Understand that the loveliest thing you can do for yourself is to embrace the beauty of your humanness. A good start is to implant the following Everybody Training thought in your mind by simply repeating it at least ten times a day:

                        I am good enough exactly as I am…and who I am is a powerful and loving human being who is learning and growing every step of the way.

“Oh, come on, Susan! This hardly describes me!” On the surface, it doesn’t always describe me either! So what does this statement really mean? It doesn’t mean that there aren’t unhealthy patterns within us that we wouldn’t like to make healthier. It doesn’t mean that we are always proud of the way we behave. It doesn’t mean that we have learned everything we need to learn about becoming a more loving person. But it does mean that the essence of who we are is wonderful. It also means that every experience in our lives—the good AND the “bad”—can enrich us in some way.

We learn that everyone’s journey takes a different route. I might get there through years of being a driven perfectionist, you might get there through 25 years of a bad marriage, and your friend may get there through illness or alcohol. But from our different experiences, we ultimately can come to the deep understanding that we are all heading in the same direction…to the place of love within us all. In any case, the place and the person we are at this very moment, is perfectly imperfect indeed!

An article by Linda Weltner entitled “The Miracle of Imperfection” points out that when we expect perfection in anyone, including ourselves, we are treating that person as if he or she is a machine. (And even machines break down!) When we treat people as machines, we lose our human connection. I don’t find it very satisfying going to lunch, to bed, to the movies, or to work with “machines.” I’d rather be with human beings who sometimes make mistakes, get confused, feel insecure, get old, who reach out with their humanity and who touch the humanity inside of me. 

It is through our humanness, not our perfection,
that the poignant bonds of connection are finally formed.