I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist. I can trace the beginnings of my perfectionism all the way back to my early years. Apparently I had this issue with clothes that if they didn’t hang on my body just right or the seams didn’t line up just so, it would send me into a tailspin. My mama tells me that there were many days where she sent to me daycare in my panties only and had the daycare workers dress me. Thankfully this phase didn’t last too long; I actually enjoy wearing clothes now. Unfortunately, I see this type of OCD/perfectionism fleshing out in my firstborn. I am truly sorry that he inherited my perfectionism gene.
I’ve been reading this book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Hands down, probably in my top 5 books I’ve read in a long time. Its definitely not a book I’d ever thought I would read and enjoy but I’ve learned so much about myself, about life, and others through this book and I am only half way through it. I just recently read through a section where she talks about the different shields we use in order to refrain from vulnerability, which embracing vulnerability, according to her research, is what actually gives us the courage to live greatly daring lives.
Anyways, in this section she discusses how we use perfectionism to shield us from vulnerability, which is something I deeply resonate with. Brown says, “Perfectionism is not the path that leads us to our gifts and to our sense of purpose; it’s the hazardous detour.” Maybe it’s my Type-A personality or what I refer to as the “first child syndrome,” but perfectionism has had a hold on me for as long as I can remember. This is why I have never gotten into scrapbooking because it would take me 6 months just to finish a one-page lay out. Or how all through middle school, high school, and college, an A was the only acceptable letter grade for me to receive in any of my classes, which in turn I was given the nickname P.D.Q short for Panic Disorder Queen. Even now, attempting a blog has been swirling around in my mind for a really long time but the thought of not being consistent with posts or them not being understood or received by others has caused me to not even begin. For so long, I have allowed “perfect to be the enemy of good.”
So what does Brown say is the antidote to perfectionism… “to appreciate the beauty of your cracks.” Just let that sink in for a minute. None of us are perfect and nothing we ever do will be perfect, because we are human. We all have cracks and imperfections. Stop allowing perfectionism to hinder you from living a daring greatly life. And don’t deny that you don’t struggle with it; we all do, just on different levels. I love this quote that she ends the section with from a Leonard Cohen song, “There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” You are enough, cracks and all; start believing that. And ask yourself today; if you had the courage to do that one thing you have been wanting to do without fear of failure or what people would think of you, what is it? Now, GO DO IT!