An offhand comment by her son taught her an incredible lesson about perfection and truly living life.
Yesterday, my children and I were enjoying a lazy summer day, and my ten-year-old son told me–out of the blue,“ Mom… I actually never want to be perfect.” I stopped what I was doing and realized what an amazing statement it was––so pure and honest. Without trying to add my personal opinion, I asked him why. He said because he never wants to stop laughing at himself when he makes mistakes. His answer made me glow. I looked at him and said, “Wow! Yes! Keep that going!”
It made me think how many people stop themselves from doing what they want to do because of the fear of not being perfect enough. That fear of never attaining success or a goal because of the perfectionist attitude is what keeps so many from really trying. I see so frequently that people begin with an expected place of perfection––and when they don’t hit it (because it’s not even a place to get to anyway), they become disappointed.
The secret is to create your vision that allows room for you to grow and make mistakes while gaining immense experiences along the way. When you stop caring about attaining “perfection,” oftentimes, you get pretty close.
To push beyond the idea of being perfect is something that is important to be reminded of all the time. We might want to sign up for a course, start our own business, talk to someone new… and then we stop ourselves or say we will wait until everything is perfect––or until we are a little more perfect. But, of course, we all know that no one is perfect or ever will be––and as my son reminded me, I can’t see why we would want to be.
Being okay with not being perfect is a matter of following our passions––and sticking with them. So many people neglect their aspirations and do not value themselves enough or at all. We may not even realize that we’re not living up to our highest potential because we unknowingly put all of these “perfect” boundaries in our way.
If you are feeling confused about perfect vs. imperfect––that is a good sign. It means that you are ready to grow. Stick with your real search for what you know you want to do in your life. Tapping into your inner drive and inner reason as to why will keep you away from the fear of unattainable perfection. Know now that humans are not perfect. It will keep you moving on the right path, without that fear of being embarrassed. Funny enough, when we do think we’re perfect and end up making a mistake, it can be a long hard fall. Better to believe in yourself now and learn from your mistakes––and keep moving forward. Don’t let perfectionism stop you or keep you from even beginning.
Of course, living through imperfection is not for the faint of heart if one has started off on the wrong foot. Being aware of the trap of perfection today, though, is so important. If you find that you lean towards perfectionism, stop and realize what it is. It is one thing to have a great sense of ambition and another to work yourself numb just to attain an unreachable perfect state.
Your ambitious state should be enjoyable and energetically moving. Yes, keep going until you get what you are after, but don’t get miserable about it. If you have children, know that they are indeed looking up to you––they are ready and waiting to take your lead. Teach them that they can succeed, and it can be an exciting process. Children have everything going and ready for them in the world as long as they have the right mindset to begin. Instead of teaching them to be perfect, though, teach them to enjoy the whole experience.
What I understood by my son’s statement was that it is not about putting our goals up to some state of perfection, nor is it about slacking. It’s about striving towards a place of excellence… the excellence of who we are and who we can become.
Know, too, that you do not need approval to be excellent. You already are. You just need to begin without the fear of being an imperfect version of you. Being okay with the path you’re on, and knowing it is good––is such a fantastic place to work on and towards. You can do it.
Photo: Flickr/ Salvatore Iovene