Perfect – The Worst Word in the English Language?
Perfect. Quite a small word. Perfectly formed, you might say. Doesn’t look especially scary. Pretty easy to say.
But what does it mean. What is ‘perfect’?
“It’s a perfect day”, “That’s a perfect dress”, “That’s a perfect hike”.
Say those out loud. How does it make you feel?
Now. How about this: “You are perfect”. Say that one out loud. How are you feeling now?
The thing with ‘perfect’ is it’s pretty impossible to live with. Or live up to.
And that’s before you even begin to think about whose version of ‘perfect’ it is. Yours? Your partner’s? Friends? Colleagues?
‘Perfect’ is a straitjacket. Sometimes put on you by you. Sometimes, by others. Either way it confines you. By reducing your room to explore. Your room to breathe. Your room simply to be. In short, it limits you. How?
‘Perfect’ means you are never allowed to fail. But you cannot grow without failing. Because without failing, there is no learning.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”
Thomas A. Edison
Just now, when I asked “how are you feeling”, I was serious. How did it make you feel?
And, where in your body did you feel that feeling? Just the thought maybe makes your jaw begin to clench. Your face become set and immobile. Your shoulders tighten and head up towards your ears for protection.
‘Perfect’ is a dull as dishwater. Life is messy. Colourful. Scary. Exciting. Sad. And, plain old wonderful.
How would it feel to give yourself permission to let go of ‘perfect’? To screw it up like yesterday’s paper into a teeny weeny ball and whack it into touch.
A little scary? Well. That’s OK. Changing habits, patterns, and beliefs isn’t a stroll in the park. As my Mum used to tell us when we were little, “It’s a lot easier to pick up bad habits then learn good ones”.
But you can choose to open the door and welcome in ‘unperfect’. Give it a go now.
Say these words to yourself: “I give myself permission to let go of perfect. I welcome in unperfect”. Remember to breathe. (Funny but normal how you can find yourself holding your breath).
How do you feel now? Do you notice a difference in your body? A greater sense of ease, perhaps. If not, no worries. With practice you will. And why should you practice this?
For this lovely reason.
Welcome in ‘unperfect’ and it brings along its best friends, too. Curiosity. Creativity. Compassion.
I’d love to hear what you make of this. Share your thoughts in the comments below.